What is a scratch golfer

What Is A Scratch Golfer? January 2024

The term “scratch” originates from a line in the ground. It serves as the starting line for a running event. The fastest runners will start on this scratch line. It is important to make the race more interesting and fairer.

However, the slower runners may get the benefit of starting in front of the scratch. This was a good trick to handicap the race. This race-based strategy is the main origin of the phrase “beginning from scratch.” It means starting afresh.

There is a big query “What is a scratch golfer?” Simply put, a scratch player is someone who can effectively and consistently manage all aspects of the game. They are capable of navigating the golf course. They can also make the appropriate shots at the appropriate times.

Golfers who play at the highest level rarely have a string of poor shots. They have the attitude to recover fast from setbacks.

Hence, we can say that golf players who play without a handicap or better are known as scratch golf players. Below-zero handicap players are more commonly referred to as “plus-handicappers.”

What is a Scratch Golfer?

Check “Chat is a scratch golfer” in detail:

What is the Difference Between a Scratch Golfer And a Pro?

It is important to distinguish between scratch golfers and PGA Professionals. Golf players have to give up their amateur status. They have to compete in one of the most competitive conditions possible to become PGA professionals.

Scratch Golfer And a Pro

More importantly, a player does not need to be a scratch golf player if he wants to be a professional golfer. Golfers having a handicap of up to 8.4 can become professionals. All PGA members will have varying standards.

They may also play golf for various reasons. Once certified, a PGA Professional might choose to specialize in over 80 different occupations.

We should understand what can distinguish a scratch golfer from a PGA professional golfer. A decent score is 7–10 strokes over par for a standard golf course where only skill is considered. There are many examples of events where scratch golfers have qualified. These events include the US Open and PGA Championship.

In both rounds, most of the golf players shoot between 82 and 85, seldom breaking 80. There are two major types of golf such as everyday golf and competition golf.

What Handicap is a Scratch Golfer?

A “scratch golfer” is a golf player who can play any rated golf course. He may play with a course handicap of 0 or below. 

  • A male scratch golfer, “for rating purposes,” may travel 250 yards off the tee on average. He may complete a 470-yard hole in two strokes at sea level.
  • A female scratch golfer averages 210 yards off the tee. She can complete a 400-yard hole in two strokes.
What is a scratch golfer

How Good is a Scratch Golfer?

They are better than a lot of golf players worldwide. They are frequently very strong golfers with few limitations. Playing golf at par or lower is known as scratching. You must keep in mind that par is the approximate number of strokes.

These strokes are required by an accomplished golfer to complete the course being played.

Golfers with a zero handicap (playing off scratch) will need to play the golf course to par without any aid. Moreover, they would not receive any strokes on par to complete their round.

Can Anyone Become a Scratch Golfer?

Becoming a scratch golfer is the ultimate goal for many aspiring golfers. The majority of players may reduce their handicap to zero with enough time and hard work. Only a small number of players succeed in this attempt.

Scratch Golfer

The majority of people never play scratch golf. According to the USGA, less than 2% of players have a handicap of 0 or lower.

This figure reflects how difficult and time-consuming it is to accomplish this aim. For most people, having a handicap of 0 or lower is a rather lofty goal. One interesting theory is that golf players with greater handicaps may actually enjoy the game more.

Hard Work

Golf ball hitting must be the main focus for scratch golfers. They don’t have to hit the golf ball off the tee particularly far. But, they need to hit the majority of the greens in regulation continuously. Scratch golfer is required to constantly get up and down for par if they miss a green in regulation.

What is a scratch golfer

They can distinguish themselves from the competition with other players by knowing how to fix these mistakes. It is extremely rare for a player at this level to make two horrible mistakes in succession.

The following are essentials for someone to be a scratch golfer:

  • A combination of mental toughness
  • Decision-making skills
  • Athletic prowess 

When they miss a green in regulation, hit tee shots poorly, or three-putt, scratch golfers, don’t freak out. They are aware of their ability to bounce back. They are mindful that the round will include more scoring opportunities.

Hence, you must practice constantly to succeed. You must play, lose, and make mistakes. You must learn from your mistakes, adapt according to a situation, and keep a good mindset.

It might be a long and winding route to become a scratch golf player. However, some golfers find it much simpler than others. No one can master it in a single day or just by following instructions. Golf scratch takes time to develop.

A Prerequisite For Scratch Golf

You will not find a “how to play scratch golf” manual anywhere. Here are some prerequisites from the experiences of popular golfers: 

  • You should play and practice frequently. At this stage, you should play golf or golf-related activities virtually every day. Scratch golf is not something that you can achieve easily.
  • The key point is finding a good mix between playing golf and productive practice. A surplus of either will impede your game development. You must constantly engage in live action. Moreover, you have to ensure that your practice sessions address the game problems you observe during your rounds.
  • Temper tantrums and negativity have no place in any sport. You should always have a pleasant attitude and restrain your personal emotions. 
  • You must strike the golf ball well enough to keep it in play at all times. It may also include staying out of trouble with your approach shots and off the tee. It will bring you to the next point.
  • The majority of scratch golfers become excellent course administrators. They never take unwarranted chances. Their short games are proficient enough to preserve par the majority of the time. They also avoid three putts. They also control their golf game on the rated golf courses by making wise club selections. They select targets that provide them with the best potential to score but limit big mistakes.


Many golfers strive to get the answer to “What is a scratch golfer?” They also strive to reach the extremely high threshold of playing off scratch or being a scratch golfer. You must have complete mastery of the golf game to play scratch golf.

However, the game of golf is a journey. It is not a finish line. Golf players should learn to love the process of working hard to get better. This is said by Bob Rotella, an author of the thought-provoking book “Golf is Not a Game of Perfection.”

The process itself can improve the life of an individual. Hence, it is not the outcome to improve your life. Moreover, exceptional people do believe that the journey is more important than reaching the destination. Furthermore, You can improve your golf game with daily exercises and coaching tips.

Frequently Asked Questions

On all rated golf courses, a scratch golfer should typically shoot level par or better. Players who are playing from scratch should aim for a maximum score of level par across numerous rounds.

You can’t find any hard and fast rule to determine the time needed to become a scratch golfer. It is your talent, aptitude, and dedication to achieve the pinnacle that will determine how long it will take you to become a scratch golfer.

Most golfers typically need eight years to reach and maintain their current level of scratch play.

Everyone does not aspire to or is willing to devote the time necessary to becoming a scratch golf player. Players with single-digit handicaps who want to play at scratch level must put in a lot of time.

Any player also has to put in a lot of hard work and practice to achieve this milestone. Most players are unlikely to reach that summit without hard work.

No, a golfer with a 2 handicap is not a scratch golf player. A scratch golf player’s handicap and a 2 handicap are quite similar. However, they are never identical. Anyone with a handicap of 0 or less is considered a scratch golfer.

Thus, it means they will consistently score at or near par on any golf course.

A bogey golfer is the antithesis of a scratch golfer. A bogey golfer has an 18 handicap. However, a scratch golfer has zero handicaps. In order to keep their score at 18 over par, the “bogey golfer” must bogey each hole on an 18-hole golf course. 

A scratch golfer is quite uncommon. According to the general consensus, just 2% of golfers are called scratch golf players because they have a handicap of zero. The fact is that achieving a handicap of zero or lower is quite difficult. It also requires a significant amount of practice and hard work.

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