What Does A Scratch Golfer Mean? (Detailed Explanation!)

Last Updated on October 21, 2023 by Alex PT

A scratch golfer is a golfer who has a handicap of 0. This means that they can shoot par on any golf course. Scratch golfers are very skilled and can hit the ball accurately and consistently. They are also very good at managing their game and making birdies when they have the opportunity.

United States Golf Association Definition Of A Scratch Golfer

United States Golf Association Definition Of A Scratch Golfer

According to the USGA, a scratch golfer is any player who can simply play to a Course Handicap of zero on highly rated golf courses. In the past, the handicaps or scores of the players were not considered by the scratch golfer term. They defined a scratch golfer to be an amateur participant who plays to the standard of the stroke game qualifiers contesting in the United States Amateur Championship. 

Prospectively, you need to have a handicap of at least 6.4 for ladies and 4.4 for men before you can be called a professional golfer. So, becoming a scratch golfer is an exclusive feat reserved for only the best of the best. Due to the fact that the term “scratch golfer” is a crucial element of handicapping systems, you need to be familiar with as the slope and course rating. 

You need to first acquire the knowledge of how handicap works in the game of golf to have a better understanding of who a scratch golfer is. For the record, a handicap in the game of golf is an assigned number that indicates your aptitude as a golfer. For a better understanding, a handicap is the number of strokes that you can make over par in an average 18-hole round of golf. 

One thing you should have in mind for a proper understanding of what scratch golfer means is that there are disparities between women and men. For rating reasons, a female scratch golfer is someone who hits tee shots of 210 yards and must reach a 400-yard hole in two shots at sea level. On the other hand, a male scratch golfer is someone who has an average tee shot of 250 yards and hits a 470-yard hole in two shots at sea level. 

Becoming a scratch golfer isn’t easy and common. Being a professional golfer doesn’t qualify to be a scratch golfer. According to the statistics from the USGA, there are only about 1.6% of men golfers and 0.37% of women golfers who are qualified to be scratch golfers. We don’t mean to discourage you, but the truth is that your chances of becoming a scratch golfer are slim if you’re just a recreational golfer. 

How To Be A Scratch Golfer

How To Be A Scratch Golfer

Becoming a scratch golfer is an evasive task. It requires a lot of practice and dedication. Only a few consistent golfers have achieved such a feat. Nevertheless, we’ve listed some of the things that you can do if you’re really serious about becoming a scratch golfer. 

Work On Your Swing

You need to master your swinging skills before you even think of becoming a pro golfer not to talk of a scratch golfer. The journey of moving from an amateur to an expert golfer can be hastened by learning the fundamentals of sewing techniques. One of the first and foremost things to know before acquiring swing skills is having the right grip. Also, don’t forget to learn to position, as it impacts the quality of your swing. 

Increase Your Speed

Before you can master your swinging techniques, you need to be excellent with your speed. You’ll find it much easier to get a golf handicap of zero when you learn how to swing faster. Generally, a good starting point for swing speed skill is at least 100 mph. Anything less isn’t good enough. Although a 100 mph speed range might not be easy to achieve as a beginner, it will end up preparing you for a better golfing experience. Just keep practicing and you’ll reach your desired speed soon.  

Master Your Distances

Distances are the most common statistics that will be looked at before you can be considered a scratch golfer. So, it is quite important for you to work on your distance. To know the mastery of distance control, you need to always improve your measuring and shots. You need to know the distance of how hard you’re hitting the club all the time. Knowing this will help you know the amount of force you need to apply to achieve the target distance. 

Practice Proper Putting

You need to practice proper putting if you’re really serious about becoming a scratch golfer someday. To minimize strain and improve rhythm, you need to practice the right skills. To achieve the required speed, you must apply a considerable amount of power/force. Always focus on the ball before and after you hit it. Make sure that you align the head of the putter to your belt buckle. 

Invest In The Right Clubs

It is a smart move to invest some money in the right tools even if it is evident that techniques and skills are crucial. You’ll definitely become better in the game when you get yourself a set of high-quality golf clubs. Generally, we don’t think there are hard and fast rules about which set of golf clubs is the right one for becoming an expert golfer. It is mostly a matter of preference. One thing we would just like to say is that you should try to play with different clubs. You will definitely know which one suits your playing role when you try different options. 

Practice Makes Perfect

Becoming a scratch player or even a golfer with zero handicap doesn’t happen overnight. You need to spend quality time practicing to become a very good player. It might even take months of consistent practice before you’ll be able to see any substantial improvements. Don’t be frustrated or discouraged! Also, we advise that you keep your expectations low. Don’t expect much, just work and practice. 

Why Do They Call It A Scratch Golfer?

Why Do They Call It A Scratch Golfer

The term “scratch golfer” has an interesting origin. It dates back to the late 19th century when the game of golf was gaining popularity. In those early days, players’ handicaps were recorded on a large board, and their scores were marked using notches or “scratches.”

A player with a zero handicap, meaning they consistently shot par (or the expected number of strokes to complete a hole or course), had no notches or “scratches” on their record. This made them stand out as exceptionally skilled, and they became known as “scratch golfers.”

Over time, the term evolved to describe golfers who consistently played at or below par without any handicap adjustments. Being a scratch golfer is a symbol of excellence and proficiency in the sport, as it indicates a high level of skill and consistency.

Is Being A Scratch Golfer Good?

Is Being A Scratch Golfer Good

Being a scratch golfer is a significant accomplishment and is considered highly impressive in the world of golf. Here are some reasons why being a scratch golfer is considered good:

  1. Consistency: Scratch golfers consistently shoot par or better, showcasing their ability to handle various golf course challenges. They have refined their skills to a high degree of consistency.
  2. Competitive Advantage: Scratch golfers are competitive in various golf events and tournaments. They can enter competitions with confidence, knowing they have the skills to perform well.
  3. Respect: The golfing community and fellow golfers generally hold scratch golfers in high regard. Their accomplishment is a sign of dedication and mastery of the sport.
  4. Lower Handicap: A scratch golfer has a handicap of 0, which is the lowest possible handicap, indicating a high level of proficiency. It means they play at a very high level compared to the average golfer.
  5. Enhanced Opportunities: Being a scratch golfer can open doors to opportunities such as sponsorship, teaching, or even a professional golf career. Many professional golfers started as scratch golfers.
  6. Personal Satisfaction: Achieving scratch status is a personal milestone for many golfers, signifying that they have reached an elite level in the sport.


Are All Pros Scratch Golfers?

Not really! Scratch golfers are good enough to play to the course rating on almost all courses that they participate in. We are talking about shaving more overtime on the best 50% of the grounds that professional golfers play. 

Does Scratch Mean Par?

The handicap – analysis exists by which a number is assigned to measure g a golfer’s current score on golf courses of varying difficulties. Take, for example, a scratch player who is good enough to have a handicap of 0 (or par) while a high handicap is considered anything above 20.

Is A Bogey Golfer The Same As A Scratch Golfer? 

No! Bogey and scratch golfers are two distinct players. A bogey golfer is an average player who is striving to compete with pros, while a scratch golfer is skilled enough to become a professional player. 


A scratch golfer is one of the lingoes of the game of golf, and every serious golfer should know it. Knowing this term will help you understand the handicapping system of the game better. All in all, the term refers to golfers who are skilled enough to get zero handicap strokes on any course from any set of tees in competitive games. It is a feat that is reserved for the very best golfers. It is almost impossible for an ordinary person to achieve this feat.

We’ve reached the end of this informative article. We hope you were able to find good and reliable resources in your quest to know what a scratch golfer means. If you have any questions or comments about the article topic, don’t hesitate to contact us. Thanks!



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