Definition Of “Out” And “In” In Golf Scorecard

golf card

Is it likely that every time you fill out a golf scorecard, you’ve once asked what “out” and “in” actually means? The words “Out” and “In” seem to be on most of the golf scorecards and placed next to the part of the front nine and back nine respectively. This article will let you know the definition of these words

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The poor conditions in the past

The courses’ structure

Golf players those days had to play their games on the links course (a term that refers to a poor type of treeless course that is built on sandy soil and battered by strong winds) alongside the Scottish coast. Patterns of play and a well-worn course would become visible.

The form of a round

In a match, from the starting point, golfers were supposed to play in a straight line because all the holes got strung to each other. Besides, when the players got to the halfway point of a course, they had to turn back, playing in the same line once more in the opposite direction until they reached the starting point again.

Put in other words, they literally played out, and turned back in. As a consequence, the first nine holes were called the “outward” holes; while the second set of holes were named “inward”. Therefore, the “outward” and “inward” holes could be viewed as a technical term, standing for the standard 18-hole length of courses nowadays.

Why “Out” and “In” appear on almost every scorecard

The origin of the words

The meaning of these is obvious. Back to those dates when golf sport just started to mark its beginning as a professional game in Scotland, the golf courses were mostly covered by mists and didn’t have the standard levels of quality as well as the decent size to play on. Consequently, to easily finish an 18-hole match, golf players had to play forwards and then turn backward on the same route.

Present utilization in modern golf

Back to nowadays, many golf courses are built based on the out-and-in format of the early links course, but they changed a bit by using the terms “out” and “in” only to indicate the front and back nines.


In short, the two terms “in” and “out” in golf sport had marked their appearance since the beginning of this sport based on the poor condition that the players had to play from the starting point to the ninth hole and then turned around for the last nine holes.

And if you’ve asked, why the words “in” and “out” still appear on the scorecards today, the honest answer is because a few golf courses today constructed their match platform to be similar to the old courses’ pattern. As a result, the terms still remain its legacy importance in today’s courses.

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