The World Record Lowest 18-Hole Golf Scores
Identifying the lowest 18-hole score ever recorded in the game of golf is a difficult task because there is no official clearinghouse for such a record. The Guinness Book of World Records does recognize a “world record” in this category, and we’ll get to that mark down below, but the Guinness folks only recognize scores posted in high-level competition and on a course that meets minimum length requirements.
What we can say with certainty is that no round of 54 has ever been recorded in golf … but that at least four rounds of 55 have been recorded. So below we’ll list the lowest golf scores for which there is documentary evidence.
Note: If you’re looking only for the 18-hole scoring records on the pro golf tours, see:
55 Is the Lowest (Known) 18-Hole Golf Score Ever Recorded
The lowest score ever recorded for a “regulation” 18-hole round of golf (not an executive course, not a short course, minimum par of 70) is 55. There are four rounds of 55 known to have taken place.
The First 55: The earliest occurred way back in 1935 and was carded by a golfer named E.F. Staugaard on the par-72, 6,419-yard Montebello Park course in Montebello, Calif.
That’s pretty much all that is known about this round. Which might make the claim seem suspect, except that the round is mentioned in old USGA and R&A publications and record books.
Homero Blancas’ 55: The second known score of 55 was posted by a golfer you might have heard of: Homero Blancas. Blancas played on the PGA Tour in the 1960s and 1970s, played in the Ryder Cup, and later played on the Champions Tour.
In 1962, when Blancas was an amateur and playing in the Premier Invitational, in Longview, Texas, he put together a front nine of 27 and a back nine of 28 for a round of 55. He had 13 birdies and one eagle and used only 20 putts.
The golf course where Blancas’ 55 was posted no longer exists. It was a 9-holer with two different tee boxes on each hole to create a different look for the “front nine” and “back nine,” and was a par-70 layout. The course was only slightly longer than 5,000 yards, according to a Golf Digest article about the round, but had tiny, domed greens and out-of-bounds markers that tightly lined every hole.
At one time, Blancas’ round of 55 was included in the Guinness book. However, the Guinness people later instituted a requirement that a course must measure at least 6,500 yards for the purposes of this record, and Blancas’ 55 was removed from the book. It is, however, the only 55 yet recorded that happened in a tournament.
The Third 55: The third known 55 took place on May 17, 2004, by Steve Gilley. It happened in Martinsville, Va., on the Lynwood Golf & Country Club course. Which happened to be the course Gilley grew up playing. Gilley was a professional golfer who had won more than two dozen tournaments on mini-tours to that point. His 55, however, took place in a friendly round with two childhood buddies. The Lynwood course was a par-71, but only 5,959 yards.
The Most-Impressive 55: And the fourth 55 was shot by a young Australian pro named Rhein Gibson. Gibson’s is the most impressive of the 55s. It happened on May 12, 2012, at River Oaks Golf Club in Edmond, Okla. Gibson’s course was a full-sized 18-holes, playing 6,850 yards with a par of 71.
Gibson, beginning on the back nine, parred the first hole, then followed that with an eagle, a birdie, an eagle, then five straight birdies for a 26 over his first nine holes. Continuing to his “back nine” (but the course’s Holes 1-9), Gibson carded two pars, then three birdies, a par, and three more birdies for a second nine of 29 and a total of 55.
Just a week earlier, Gibson had set the course record of 60. His 55 became a course record that, you have to think, will never be bettered. Gibson, originally from New South Wales, played collegiate golf at the NAIA school Oklahoma Christian University. At the time of his 55, Gibson was ranked No. 1,444th in the world golf ranking.
Rounds of 57 and Even 56 Aren’t That Rare
Don’t get us wrong: Shooting 56 or 57 is very rare, just probably not as rare as you might expect. Not as rare as we expected, anyway: We used to track rounds of 56 and 57 on this page, but gave that up when they started happening with greater frequency.
It’s amazing to say, but 56s and especially 57s are reported too often these days to keep up to date with them here. Unless one of those scores becomes listed as the “official” world record by Guinness, we’ll skip ahead to 58.
The Guinness-Recognized Lowest Golf Score Is 58
Which brings us to the rounds recognized in the Guinness Book of World Records: 58s posted by Shigeki Maruyama and Ryo Ishikawa. However, those two will be joined when the book is next updated by two golfers who carded 58s in 2016, both of whom did it for the first time ever on their respective tours.
In 2000, Maruyama posted a round of 58 in a U.S. Open sectional qualifier. Ishikawa added his name to Guinness-recognized record on May 2, 2010, when he carded a 58 in the final round of The Crowns tournament on the Japan Tour. He was playing a course that barely cleared the Guinness requirement of 6,500 yards, but clear that minimum the course did. Ishikawa’s round was the first 58 ever posted on one of the world’s major golf tours.
But in 2016, in back-to-back weeks, first the Web.com Tour and then the PGA Tour had their first-ever rounds of 58.
First, Stephan Jaeger of Germany, playing the Ellie Mae Classic, shot 58 in the first round (and wound up winning the tournament with another tour record score of 250) of the Web.com Tour event. Jaeger’s 58 happened at TPC Stonebrae, a golf course of nearly 7,200 yards. Jaegar made six pars and everything else was a birdie in the round.
A week after Jaeger’s feat, Jim Furyk became the first golfer in PGA Tour history to shoot 58, hitting that number in the final round of the Travelers Championship. For the tournament, the TPC River Highlands course played 6,820 yards and to a par of 70.
Another famous 58 is the one Jason Bohn fired in the final round to win the Canadian Tour Bayer Championship in 2001; however, that happened a course slightly shorter than 6,500 yards and so is not recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records.