Understanding Scratch Golfers – What Are They?

When someone refers to scratch golfers they are referring to golfers who typically score close to par at the completion of a round of golf. In other words, this means that this is a very skilled golfer.

Though, there is an alternate definition of the term that is used in the USGA Handicap System. This definition of a scratch golfer may have more effect on the game of golf than you realize.

Scratch golfer As Lingo

If you are hearing the term “scratch golfer” thrown around this typically means the golfer has a handicap below or very close to zero.

It also common to refer to someone as “scratch”. If you hear either of these terms describing a golfer they are referring to his ability to score close to or below par in most given rounds.

Scratch Golfer According To The USGA

Though scratch golfer is just lingo to most golfers. It is actually has a very important usage for the USGA course and slope rating systems.

This is because the USGA examines each course from different skill levels. This means they examine the course from a bogey golfer and a scratch golfers perspective.

This is because when rating a course you want to take into account the difficulty of the hole for all skill levels. Playing a course as a bogey golfer and a scratch are very different experiences.

You will hit from different tees, struggle with different hazards and perform very differently on the greens. This allows the USGA to get a reliable course and slope rating for all skill levels.

But what exactly does the USGA describe as a scratch golfer. Hint: it’s not someone who has a 0 or lower handicap.

The USGA standard has several stipulations that they believe make up a scratch golfer. They are as follows:

  • A “scratch golfer” is a player who can play to a course handicap of zero on any and all rated golf courses.
  • A male scratch golfer, for rating purposes, can hit tee shots an average of 250 yards and can reach a 470-yard hole in two shots at sea level.
  • A female scratch golfer, for rating purposes, can hit tee shots an average of 210 yards and can reach a 400-yard hole in two shots at sea level.

What Does A Scratch Golfer Look Like

Now that you know how a scratch golfer scores you may be wondering what they look like on the course. And no we’re not talking about outfits. But rather what does the game of a scratch golfer look like if you were to play a round with them.

One thing you must know is that a scratch golfer isn’t going to wow you with huge drives and birdies. They tend to surprise other golfers with their consistency.

You will find scratch golfers find themselves in much fewer hazards than other golfers. They will often get into the green in regulation. And it is quite rare for them to three putt.

In short a scratch golfer isn’t always hitting incredible shots. Instead there avoid bad ones and play with incredible consistency.

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