Weekend Golfers

 Golf Played on the Weekends

This website is dedicated to the weekend golfer. So what is a weekend golfer and what do they typically shoot for 18 holes of golf?  This question has been kicked around a lot in the golfing world.

weekend golf
(1)   A weekend round of golf

First off, a weekend golfer plays golf ... well on the weekend, 4 to 6 months of the year when the weather is good.  Some weekend golfers only get out on one of those weekend days when they are playing ... occasionally some will get out on both days.  The more competitive week end golfers are most likely to spend time at the driving range striving to improve their game, especially leading up to a tournament or a planned round with friends.


There are more than 60 million weekend golfers around the world with the greatest number in the USA (> 37 million) and Asia (close to 14 million).   After experiencing growth in the 90s, golf play started to decline in the first decade of the new millennium.  Here in the second decade there are signs of a turn around.  Millennials and baby boomers are are spearheading this growth. 

Breaking 100

proper golf card scoring
(2)  I finally broke 100

Back to the controversial question ... what do weekend golfer typically shoot for 18 holes of golf?  Usually the conversation  revolves around breaking 100 for 18 holes of golf. So … what percentage of weekend golfers break 100 on a regular basis?


Many will bring a score card home indicating they shot less than 100, but forget to mention they didn’t putt out every green, nudged their ball to get a better lie on several fairways, didn’t properly count stroke and distance on an out of bounds shot, or even may have allowed themselves a couple of mulligans.


Then consider that not all golf courses are created equal. Public links tend to be a little less challenging than private links while executive links typically do not have any Par 5s. Variations in hazard designs, course length, degree of difficulty and number of Par 5s helps make this such a controversial question. The course played makes a big difference in the ease with which a golfer can break 100.


Every golf course receives a USGA Course Rating and a USGA Slope Rating for each set of tees. But get this … the Course Rating is established for the “scratch” golfer. Well scratch golfers do not play the game we are talking about here. They are called scratch golfers because they regularly shoot par or lower. The USGA Slope Rating is an evaluation of the relative difficulty for players other than scratch, but this Bogey Rating is normally not published.


So, lets get back to our discussion about the weekend golfer and what this group typically shoots for 18 holes of golf. We will assume that all rules typically listed on course score cards are properly followed. That means no mulligans and all shots must be played out including putts. A regulation golf course will have 4 Par 5s, 10 Par 4s, and 4 Par 3s yielding a Par round of golf equal to 72 on the score card.

Skill Levels of Week End Golfers

To help in this discussion let's identify three different skill groups.  The level of golf varies significantly between these three groups, from an average score around 100 for 18 holes to an average score around 85.  Skill level definitely influences frequency of play.  

Level 3 Weekend Golfer

A Level 3 weekend golfer plays less than half a dozen times during the playing season usually on a public links. Typically they do not get to the driving range to practice very often.  They are either beginning golfers or only play socially. 

Beginning golfer swing
(3)   Just starting to pick up the game

They would like to spend more time on their game, but life kind of gets in the way.  When time allows they will try to get to the course a little early before a round with friends to hit a small bucket as fast as they can.  Of course this does very little for their game other than getting loose. This weekend golfer averages around 100, breaking 100 occasionally on their best rounds.  They most likely do not have an official handicap.

Level 2 Weekend Golfer

Let's assume that good golfing weather averages out at 4 to 6 months of the year.  That means there's around 17 to 26 weekends available for playing golf, more or less.  A Level 2 weekend golfer plays maybe 15 to 20 rounds of golf a year and may belong to a public links golf club for the friendship and to occasionally play in the club tournaments.


This weekend golfer may belong to the local public golf course club and have an official handicap in order to play in club tournaments.  They will occasionally get to the driving range, especially before tournaments, to work on the club they are currently not hitting well. A score around 90 will be this group’s average, breaking 90 once in a while during their best rounds.  

Level 1 Weekend Golfer

great weekend golf swing
(4)   Great weekend golf swing

A Level 1 weekend golfer loves the game and truly enjoys playing.  Why wouldn't they?  They are confident about their golf swing, including their short game.  Putting can be a little challenging at times.  During golf season they might even play on both Saturday and Sunday once in a while.  They are likely to play more than 26 times a year. 


They go to the driving range often because the just love to hit balls and work on their golf swing.  They will focus on the club they have been least happy with lately.   They have an official handicap and will play in most of the club tournaments and have an average score around 85.  Their goal is to break 80 every time they play. 


They are recognized as one of the better golfers at the club and enjoy the separate competition within this group.  Frequency of breaking 80 will often be a friendly side bet within this group.  They are all great weekend golfers.

Becoming a Level 1 Golfer

The Level 3 weekend golfer described above will include a lot of golfers who are just beginning to pick the game up.  Typically they have not develop their golf swing enough to be consistent which explains their higher average golf scores.  Levels 2 and 1 golfers usually have been playing the game a lot longer … some even competitively in junior leagues and/or high school when they were younger.  What do they most likely have in common?  They want so much to become better golfers they are willing to practice.   Their practice sessions at the driving range are deliberate.


Driving Range (Cartoon)
(5)   Going to the driving range

Many golfers go to the driving range and practice the clubs they already hit well.  That’s their comfort zone and they want to look cool to the other golfers who might also be there.  Deliberate practice is not comfortable, but repeatedly stretches the golfer outside their comfort zone.  I'm not going to dwell on the details of deliberate practice here.  There's a whole body of science out there on this subject.


Sure it helps if the golfer aspiring to get better is reasonably coordinated,  But what really makes the difference is their willingness to practice in a deliberate way.  The easiest way to achieve a deliberate practice session is to have a plan.  Predetermine what shots need to be worked on.  Become well acquainted with the body mechanics of these golf shots.   Then be willing to repeat these mechanics many times.


So ... there you have it.  If you are a Level 3 weekend golfer ... do you really want to get better?  If you are and do, then turn your visits to the driving range into deliberate practice sessions and soon you will notice you are hitting the golf ball more consistently.  This improved golf swing consistency will have you becoming a Level 2, or even Level 1, weekend golfer.  Go for it.  It will be a great source of personal satisfaction.  

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