Explained: What is a Scratch Golfer in Golf?

A scratch golfer is a golfer who can shoot a score of par (or better) for an 18-hole round, and they have a handicap score of zero or better. These are some of the best golfers to play the game. In this article, we’ll answer questions like why it’s called a scratch in golf, how rare it is to be a scratch golfer, what the difference is between a scratch golfer and a pro player, and what it takes to become a scratch golfer.

What is a Scratch Golfer and Why is it Called That?

The term “scratch” comes from ancient Greece, where a line was scratched in the ground to indicate the starting point of a race. To make it more fair and exciting, the fastest runners would start on the scratch line, while the slower ones were given an advantage and could start well in front of the line. The fastest runners were called scratch runners. Golf eventually adopted the term and used it to identify better players.

How Rare is a Scratch Golfer?

Only 1.6% of the millions of golfers who play annually are scratch golfers, making them rare and unique. Regardless of the golf course, a scratch golfer is someone who would get an overall score of even par or better over eighteen holes. A scratch player can consistently manage every game aspect and strategically plan their way around the golf course, hitting the right shots at the right time. A scratch golfer rarely hits two bad shots in a row.

Is a Scratch Golfer a Good Golfer?

A scratch golfer is an excellent golfer. Since they can execute and overcome bad shots to stay at a handicap of zero (or better), that separates them from others more than how far they tee off to start.

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

Consistency is the most significant difference between a scratch golfer and a professional golfer. While both types of players can hit great golf shots, a professional can do so regularly.

How Many Scratch Golfers Are There?

In 2021, there are around 40,000 golfers who have a handicap of zero or better, which qualifies them as scratch players. Approximately 2.4 million American golfers carry a handicap index, including professional tour players.

What Does it Take to be a Scratch Golfer?

Playing scratch golf is incredibly difficult and requires a lot of hard work. In addition to some level of natural ability, you must practice effectively on your full swing, short game, and putting, visit the driving range often, play a lot, learn from your mistakes, and adjust. It would also help to take lessons and work with a coach who can analyze your swing.

In addition, the mental side of the game of golf plays a significant role in becoming a scratch golfer. A positive outlook, supported by course know-how and the ability to limit and bounce back from bad shots, is often a critical factor in separating scratch golfers from average or bogey golfers.


A scratch golfer is someone who can shoot a score of par (or better) for an 18-hole round and has a handicap score of zero or better. Only a small percentage of golfers can achieve this level of play, and it takes a lot of hard work and dedication to get there. Being a scratch golfer is quite an accomplishment and shows that the player is an excellent golfer.