A scratch golfer usually shoots a score of par (or better) for an eighteen-hole round. These are players who have a handicap of zero or below that for their score. These are some of the best golfers to play the game.
So, why do they even call it a scratch in golf? How rare is it to be a scratch golfer in golf? What is the difference between a scratch golfer and a pro player? What does it take to be a scratch golfer?
Here is the complete breakdown of what a scratch golfer is.
Why Do They Call it Scratch Golfer?
The term “scratch” comes from foot racing in 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. A scratch golfer competes against other average golfers by giving the others an advantage – or handicap – to make the competition more even in the same way scratch runners would give other runners the advantage of a head start to make their competition fairer.
How Rare is a Scratch Golfer?
According to the Independent Golf Reviews, only 1.6% of the millions of golfers who play annually are scratch golfers, which makes them rare and unique. Regardless of the golf course, a scratch golfer is considered someone who would get an overall score of even par or better over eighteen holes. Obviously, given their skill level, a scratch golfer can limit the number of bad shots during a round, which is the most significant difference between a scratch golfer and an average golfer.
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.
However, if they do, they can make up that stroke difference throughout the 18-course hole, which keeps them at the zero (or better) mark. They have the mindset to overcome any frustration on the golf course through their experience and skill set.
Is a Scratch Golfer a Good Golfer?
A scratch golfer is an excellent golfer. According to Golf Monthly, male scratch golfers tee off around 250 yards. Also, male scratch golfers can hit 470 hards in two shots.
Meanwhile, a female scratch golfer drives an average of 210 yards from the tee. Along with that, they can reach a 400-yard hole in two shots.
Scratch golfers also can overcome bad shots since they also excel at chipping and putting, while average golfers often need help in these areas. 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. They do it well enough to earn a living at the local country club or on the pro tour!
One example of this consistency is that a tour pro will hit their tee shot in the fairway around 75% of the time, while a scratch golfer may do so approximately 60% of the time. Pro golfers on the PGA Tour generally would have an average score of five or six shots lower on their scorecard than scratch golfers if they both played the same rated golf course under the same conditions.
How Many Scratch Golfers Are There?
According to the Golf Net News, 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, so you can see how difficult it is. A golf handicap considers various factors, including overall scores and the course handicap of different golf clubs.
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, point out your strengths, identify your weaknesses, and develop a program that allows you to improve all aspects of your game continually.
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.
Being a scratch golfer is difficult to attain. Also, it takes a great deal of time, patience, and effort to become one over your career.
Conclusion: What is a Scratch Golfer?
A scratch golfer is someone who would get an overall score of even par or better over eighteen holes and who can play to a handicap of zero on any rated golf course. In other words, a scratch golfer is a player who has a zero (or better) for their handicap score. That means, throughout 18 holes, they don’t need additional strokes over par to get the ball into the hole.
Being a scratch golfer is quite an accomplishment. According to Golf Net News, less than two percent of the golfers receive the title of a scratch golfer. To put that 2% number into perspective, over 2 million people play golf, and only 40,000 falls into this category.