The Meaning of 'Circle on the Scorecard'

Ever hear a golfer (or golf announcer) use the phrase "circle on the scorecard"? If you've wondered what that expression means, it means this: a birdie.

Some golfers, when keeping score, like to add more than just their numbers to the scorecard. And one of the things some golfers do is to circle any score on their scorecard that is a birdie.

So, for example, if the second hole is a par-5 and Golfer A scores 4 on the hole, that's a birdie. When Golfer A writes the "4" on her scorecard, she might also then draw a circle around that 4. She just added a circle on the scorecard.

Why do it? First, many golfers don't do it. Most recreational golfers, after all, almost never make birdies. But adding a circle on the scorecard around each birdie is just a way of making those birdies stand out when you are analyzing your round afterward. Rather than having to examine each score, you can just quickly glance at the scorecard and immediately know how many birdies you've recorded because of those circles.

If you are playing a round or event using net scores, you can also circle net birdies. You can further mark your scorecard by double circling an eagle, by drawing a square around a bogey, or two squares around a double bogey. Uncircled or unsquared holes, then, would be pars.

Again, many golfers don't bother with this, and you shouldn't feel any need to do it, either, unless it just strikes your fancy.

Of these scorecard symbols, only the "circle on the scorecard" has passed into the general golf lexicon as a synonym for a birdie. Golfer A might say to Golfer B, after holing a putt for a birdie, "Put another circle on the scorecard," just as a way of bragging about making a birdie. Or an announcer on a golf tournament broadcast might say of a pro, "She needs to put some circles on the scorecard over the back nine."

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