What is a Snowman in Golf? Meaning & Tips to Avoid

The term ‘snowman’ in golf describes a score of eight on a single hole, widely considered one of the worst scores someone can have. With an eight-stroke penalty, it’s no wonder why this dreaded score has earned such a negative reputation among golfers. 

But what makes scoring a snowman so bad and how can you avoid it? In this article, we’ll explore why having a snowman in your round of golf could be detrimental and provide some strategies that you can use to help ensure that you don’t experience one again. 

We’ll also look at some examples of when players have achieved snowmen in tournaments and discuss why staying focused is important even if you’re having a bad day. So let’s get started!

Read more: What Is a Green Fee In Golf? Exploring Golf Terms

What Is A Snowman In Golf And How Did It Get Its Name?

With its negative connotation in golf, the snowman is certainly a score to stay away from for avid golfers. Yet many need to realize why it has been tagged with such an unpleasant name. 

One widely accepted explanation is that when visualizing an 8 golf score on a scoreboard, two circles resembling a snowman’s head and middle balls become evident. 

This eye-catching interpretation is given further credence because most snowmen are traditionally made out of three balls stacked on each other – making this number 8 analogy even more attractive. 

Even so, wishing for a snowman still isn’t desirable among seasoned players!


Why Is Snow Man In Golf Too Bad? 

Scoring an eight on any hole during a round of golf can be devastating. Not only will it pile up the strokes taken, but it can also cause you to lose confidence. This decline in confidence exacerbates the effects, resulting in further mistakes that could follow due to a lack of concentration or feeling overwhelmed by the situation. 

Depending on the difficulty level in the other holes you play, trying to make up for those strokes lost from mustering a snowman might be too daunting. 

Such a score is difficult to recover from later in the round and can ruin your entire score and leave you feeling dejected at the end. Therefore, prevention is key when striving for that perfect round of golf.


Who Is Most Likely To Experience Snowman?

Though snowmen are never ideal, they happen to many golfers of all levels. Beginners tend to be more prone since they are still learning the techniques and mastering the game’s mechanics. Inexperienced players can easily become flustered when facing difficult holes, which could lead them to make careless mistakes that result in a snowman. 

Even experienced pros can end up with a snowman on their card, especially if they become too aggressive or need to read the green correctly. The bottom line is that no one is immune to getting an eight on any given hole, and it’s important to remain composed and focused at all times so as not to run into this all-too-common scenario.


Examples Of Players Who Have Experienced Snowmen In Tournaments

In the competitive world of professional golf, encountering a snowman—scoring an eight on a single hole—can be a rare and devastating experience. Even the game’s most elite players are not immune to this phenomenon.

For example, Rory McIlroy scored eight on the fourth hole in the 2019 Open Championship at Royal Portrush Golf Club, his home ground.

Another example is David Duval, who recorded a snowman on the par-4 5th hole and even struggled on the 7th hole par 5.

These instances remind us of the unpredictable nature of golf, where even the most skilled competitors can falter under challenging circumstances.


Why It’s Important To Stay Focused Even If You’re Having A Bad Day 

what is a Snowman in Golf
Stay Focused Even If You’re Having A Bad Day 

Experiencing a snowman while playing golf can be discouraging, but it’s essential to remember that one bad shot doesn’t determine the outcome of the game.

The key to dealing with setbacks, such as hitting a snowman, is to stay focused on the future. Don’t allow previous mistakes to distract you from the shot at hand. By taking this approach, you can remain competitive throughout the entire round.

Remember, dwelling on past errors won’t do any good. Instead, concentrate on executing each shot to the best of your ability, and trust that your overall performance will reflect your skill level. With this mindset, you can stay motivated and engaged, even in the face of adversity.


Tips To Avoid Getting A Snowman 

Achieving a snowman in golf is an experience no one wants to have, but focusing on the basics and dedicating time to practicing can help you avoid it.

Here are some strategies to avoid getting a snowman on the scorecard:

  • Plan your shots: Before teeing off, take a moment to plan your shots for the hole. Consider the distance, the terrain, and any obstacles that you may encounter. This can help you avoid risky shots that may lead to a higher score.
  • Practice your short game: A strong short game can help you recover from difficult situations and avoid getting a high score on a hole. Spend time practicing your chipping and putting into improving your chances of getting up and down in fewer strokes.
  • Stay focused: Getting distracted on the golf course can be easy, but staying focused is key to avoiding a snowman. Avoid thinking about previous holes or upcoming shots, and stay in the moment. Visualize your shots and focus on executing them to the best of your ability.
  • Choose the right club: Choosing the right club for each shot can help you avoid getting into trouble and minimize your chances of getting a high score on a hole. Use a club that you are comfortable with, and that can help you achieve the desired distance and trajectory.
  • Manage your expectations: Golf is challenging, and it is important to manage your expectations. Accept that you may have some bad holes and focus on playing your best golf overall. Remember that a single high score does not define your entire round or your abilities as a golfer.


Final Thoughts

Golfers can experience a ‘snowman’ score from time to time, which is something that players want to see. This can occur for myriad reasons, and understanding why this kind of score is so unfavorable is an excellent way to avoid it. 

Players may need more preparation or help with their grip, which can lead to slice shots or ensuring shots don’t travel far enough, thus creating a scenario where the double bogey occurs. Using the two-shot rule is a great strategy for avoiding this somewhat embarrassing result. This means taking two shots at any single hole: one drives out of bounds and replaying the shot with a more manageable placement on the fairway.

Furthermore, increasing flexibility in one’s game plan – golfers may need unexpected improvisations if placed at an awkward angle too close to hazards – will reap the reward of avoiding snowmen scores in future rounds.





  • Alvin Daniel

    Hello everyone, I'm Alvin Daniel. I was born in the Philippines and came to the United States when I was 16 years old. I started playing golf at that age and have loved it ever since. I turned professional when I was 21 and have been working as a golf instructor and guide ever since. My goal is to help everyone know more about this great game of golf. And, hopefully, through my instruction, they can improve their skills and enjoy the game even more.

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