What Does E Mean In Golf?

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E is a common letter on scoreboards and leaderboards in golf events. But what does E mean in golf?

E means that a player is “even par” at this moment in their current round, or they finished a round or set of rounds at even par, which means they scored level par for the course that they are playing. Even par is the standard measure for a round of golf, so if you see a player shooting even, they are matching the expected score for that course.

There are many common golf scoring terms you should know. This article has everything you need to know about E in golf terms, including what it is, what even means, and the other alternative score descriptions: over and under. 

What Does E Mean In Golf
What Does E Mean in Golf

What Does E Mean in Golf?

E in golf means even. It means the player is currently shooting even par over however many holes they have played. Or, if they finished the round, they shot even par for the course that day. In multi-day events, E can mean even par over all the rounds played so far in the tournament.

If you see E on a scorecard or the leaderboard for a tournament, it means that a player is shooting or has finished the round shooting par. 

For example, if the par for a course is 72 and a player is even, they shot 72 for the round.

Then, if you look at the scoreboard after the round and see a few players with an E as their final score, it means they shot par for the course. 

Or, if a player is E through eight holes, for example, they are shooting par so far. 

However, just because a player has shot or is shooting even does not mean they got a par on every hole. 

For example, say a player is through the first three holes of the round, all of which are par 4s. If they start with a bogey, then get par on the second hole, then a birdie the third hole, they are still E since they have make 12 strokes. They would also be even if they made three 4s.

E, or even, is only used to describe a golfers score when using the stroke play scoring system. It is not applicable to match play events. When players are even in a match play event, you describe the situation as tied or all square instead.

What Does Even Mean in Golf?

You now know that E means even in golf, which is just another way to say someone is shooting or did shoot even par. 

But what exactly does even mean, and is it a good score?

For most casual players, as well as most players in competitive leagues at their local golf course, shooting even is a great accomplishment. If someone asked you how you played after a round of golf, and you say you were even, that is impressive!

Even if you only have one bad hole, but cannot make up for it with enough birdies on other holes, you will not be able to shoot even par. 

So, it is quite challenging to shoot even unless you are an excellent golfer. And it is also difficult to shoot even on a course you are unfamiliar with, as you may not know the best way to play the hole or where the hazards are, which could lead to some bad scores. 

However, most professional players are good enough that they are always trying to shoot below par or better than even par. If you look at the leaderboard for PGA tournaments, you will notice that some players are shooting E, but the ones at the top have negative numbers next to their names and are scoring lower than par. 

While shooting even is good for casual golf games with friends or a lower-level tournament, you need to play much better to be a professional golfer. 

What Does Even Mean in Golf
What Does Even Even Mean?!

Alternatives To Being Even

If you are not even par during or after a round of golf, then you are either over or under. If you are over, you have a score above par or even. 

Or, if you are under, you have a score below par or even. The best-case scenario is to be under, next is even, but you’d rather not be over. 

Over Par

First, let’s look at playing over par, which is worse than shooting even par. If you are over, it means you have taken more shots than the par for the course. For example, if you are playing on a par 70 course and shoot a 75 for the round, you would say you were five over. 

You can also be over on a specific hole. For example, say you are playing a par 4, but it takes you five shots to get in the hole. You will have made a bogey and would be one over on that hole. 

Unfortunately, there is no limit to how far over you can be on a single hole or an entire round of golf. If you have a hole where you hit the ball in the water or have a tough time getting out of a bunker, you might end up being multiple strokes over par for that hole. 

Or, if you shoot 100 for a round on a par 70 course, you will be 30 over, which is extremely far from even. This isn’t uncommon for the average handicap player.

Under Par Scorecard
Under Par!

Under Par

On the other hand, you could be playing under par, which is the best place to be and is always better than playing even. If you are under on a round of golf, it means you had some birdies, eagles, or even a hole-in-one, and not many bogeys or worse, if any at all. 

For example, if you shoot a 68 on a par 70 course, you are two under. You could have gotten par on all but the two holes where you made birdie. Or, you could have had three birdies and one bogey. There are so many variations, but you just need to shoot less than par to say you were under, no matter how you managed to do it. 

Or maybe you had three strokes on a par 4. You were one under for that hole. 

As mentioned above, casual players are rarely able to play rounds under par, and rarer still for them to do it consistently. But the PGA players commonly shoot under par, and if they want any chances of winning a tournament, they will have to shoot multiple rounds under par in a row. 

The US Open is the only one of golf’s four major championships that a score of even or over par could potentially win the event. You will definitely need to be under par to win any of the other three majors.

Final Thoughts

Even, or E, in golf means that a player is currently shooting or did shoot even par for the round. Par varies from course to course, but it is the standard score for the course if the player hits all the greens in regulation and makes two putts on every green. If you have a score higher than even or par, you are over. Conversely, if you have a score less than even par, you are under. 

Now get out there and practice your golf game! Maybe you can shoot an even par round someday.

David Shelly
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