In 2002, Annika Sorenstam won her fifth Rolex Player of the Year title and shattered the scoring record with a 68.70 average, marking the first time a Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) member finished a season below 69.00. Sorenstam had the most rounds under par, was third in number of birdies, 341, and third in number of eagles, 10. She had 11 victories and won almost $3 million in prize money.
How do you think you might do against Sorenstam if you played one nine-hole, par-4 course with her? First, you will need to know something about golf scoring.
In golf, the object is to have the lowest score. You do this by using the fewest number of strokes to get the ball in the hole. Each hole on a golf course is assigned a number called par. Par is the number of strokes in which a player is expected to complete a hole. Most often, holes are given a par number of 3, 4, or 5.
On a par-4 hole, if you take 4 strokes to get the ball in the hole, you will have a par for that hole. But, if you take only three strokes to hit the ball into the hole, you get a birdie, or one stroke under par. And if you take only two strokes, you get an eagle, or two strokes under par. This is very difficult to do.
If it takes you five strokes to get the ball in the hole, or one more than par, you would have a bogey for that hole. If you hit two more than par, you will have a double-bogey, and so on.
Therefore, to win your match against Sorenstam, you will need to stay under par, hitting mostly birdies and the occasional eagle. If Sorenstam has a good day, she will probably score under par, which is 36 for a par-4, 9-hole course. You, on the other hand, unless you are headed for the professional circuit, will probably hit a few double- or triple-bogeys, giving you a final score above par.
In the end, you may realize that hitting an inch-round golf ball with a golf club is not easyand to hit it with the precision and consistency of the professionals is almost impossible. But, the good news is that to keep score, you only need to add and subtract, and understand the peculiar language of golf!