What Does it Take to Become a Scratch Golfer?

According to some estimates, less than 2% of all the golfers in the world are scratch golfers. That’s right, becoming a scratch golfer sounds so straightforward, but only a handful of people manage to accomplish the feat.

But what is it that makes being a scratch golfer so difficult? Let’s find out.

A scratch golfer is someone who has a handicap of zero. In other words, a scratch golfer is someone who has the ability to shoot at par on a neutral golf course on any given day. Such players are extremely rare and belong to the elite club of golfers worldwide. 

There’s no one size fits all formula to become a scratch golfer. Different people take different approaches to reach their goal; however, there are some common practices that most people follow in their journey to become a scratch golfer. 

In this article, we’ll share some of the best practices that you must incorporate into your playing routine so you can be a zero handicap golfer. Do you have what it takes to become a scratch golfer, let’s find out. 

Scratch Golfer Tip #1: Have the right mindset

Having the right mindset is vital for achieving anything, including becoming a scratch golfer. Players who eventually become scratch golfers always keep a positive attitude and keep pushing their limits.

This includes setting the right targets and achieving them regularly. For instance, you should try to hit a birdie for every hole. Even if you can’t manage to hit a birdie on all of them, you’ll manage to hit quite a lot of them, and the rest you’ll hit at par. Bogeys should be unacceptable under any circumstances.

This might sound unrealistic and too difficult to accomplish, but you’ll have to push yourself and be confident that you can achieve this feat with practice. 

Scratch Golfer Tip #2: Keep track of your key stats

Handicap is the most important stat for any golfer, but it ultimately depends on all the other minor stats related to golf. Scratch golfers keep themselves updated with all their relevant stats to get a clearer picture of where they stand. Stats help in setting benchmarks and give a tangible target for a player to achieve.

No one becomes a scratch golfer by accident. Scratch golfers regularly check their stats to identify any weaknesses and vulnerabilities in their game and work on improving the same.

Putts per green, strokes gained, fairways in regulation, and up & down percentage are some of the most critical statistics that scratch golfers keep in mind.

Scratch Golfer Tip #3: Play with low handicappers

Someone has rightly said that you’re only as good as your competition. Another saying is that to be the best you have to beat the best. These sayings fit the context of golf perfectly.

It would be best if you competed with low handicappers to get out the best in yourself. If you play with high handicappers, wins will come easily to you and you’ll stop pushing yourself. The point is to play against high-quality opponents and going toe to toe with them and eventually beating them.

Keep your playing circle restricted to players with single digits handicap, and you’ll be on the road to becoming a scratch golfer.

Scratch Golfer Tip #4: Make a routine and be consistent

Having a solid routine and following it consistently is one of the most challenging things for everyone, be it an athlete or not. However, this is vital if you want to become a scratch golfer. In every game, analyze yourself and identify the practices that work best for you. You must note down the things in your routine that help you win games and ensure that you repeat them in all the games you play. Some golfers have unique pre-shot routines that help them gain confidence and play better. Others find sticking to predefined strategy quite helpful. Whatever it is, identify what gets the best results for you and replicate it in every game. 

Scratch Golfer Tip #5: Practice rigorously and smartly

This goes without saying that you’ll have to work tirelessly on practicing, whether on the golf course or by using a golf simulator. However, you must not practice aimlessly just for the sake of it.

Earlier, we mentioned that you should identify your areas of improvement. Your practice should revolve around working on those areas and perfecting them. If you’re good with drivers but your putting is not up to the mark, there’s no point practicing the driver; instead, you should spend time on the green and perfect it.

Also, consistency is key here. It won’t help if you practice sporadically and fail to build on the improvements you made during your practice sessions.

Scratch Golfer Tip #6: Strategize to the hole level

Each course is different and has a unique difficulty level. Some are tougher than others. The best golfers analyze the golf course before the game and prepare a strategy beforehand, right down to the hole level.

They’ll undoubtedly have a holistic approach to win the entire game; however, the top-notch players break down their strategy into smaller hole-wise components.

As we mentioned earlier, to become a scratch golfer, you should aim to shoot under par for each hole. That is what the best golfers do, and their strategy is based on this premise. 

Here’s a video from US Golf TV that lays out the details on how to become a scratch golfer.

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