Phil - it sounds like you actually have a good understanding of the symbols. They follow the standard score keeping symbols of golf. This blog post goes into some detail about it. Reading it makes my head hurt. As a new golfer who started with Golf Pad, I'm glad I never had to deal with manually tracking my game! :)
Golf Pad computes which holes you get strokes on based on your course handicap and individual hole handicaps. Those strokes are marked with dots on the scorecard.