How Golf Handicaps Work

Know much about How Golf Handicaps Work?

Do you always worry about your strokes? Are you still not familiar with the golf handicap?

Asking what’s your golf handicap is a common joke in a group of golfers more so mid to low handicappers. If you have been playing golf for years, a handicap is simply taking the point of a game as a nip, tees, and clubs at the 19th hole. As a golfer, it’s essential for you to know how handicaps work.

Did you know that only 20% of golfers have legitimate golf handicaps? Golfers often do not have a handicap. In fact, they only guess the score and then subtract 72 from it. Well, that is not a course handicap!

A golf handicap refers to the numerical measure of the potential of a golfer that is used to allow golfers of varying abilities to compete with each other. If you a better player, then you have the lowest course handicaps.

Generally, amateur golfers who happen to be golf club members are eligible for the official handicaps of the national and regional association annual fees payment. Golf clubs, along with the associations, administer handicaps provide extra peer-reviewing intended for low handicaps.

The United States Golf Association (USGA) built a golf course handicap system to level the playing field for every golfer. When it comes to handicap calculations, the esoteric system of slope and course rating is used to compute how many strokes a golfer should get.

If you are still confused about how golf handicaps work, then continue reading. I will try and help you understand more about it.

How a golf handicap is calculated?

How many stokes do you make? Do you think the number of strokes can affect your game?

For golfers, a low handicap means your strokes are better than those with a high handicap. If your course handicap is 6 while the other player has 10, it means that you are a better player. To get the right handicap, simply get your score at the golf course you usually play at. The course handicap at one time is 96% of the average of the best 10 of the previous 20 scores. A course handicap reflects the golfer’s current form since recording the scores every time he or she goes out is necessary.

For example, your 10 scores happen to average out at 100. Meaning, for the first 10 rounds, you hit 1,000 shots. In case that the par for the 18 holes course is 72, then the average score would be 28 over par. In other words, 28 is your course handicap. Keep in mind that every time you play, the handicap will adjust to account for the latest scores.

What is a good handicap in golf?

While most golfers don’t register for the official course handicap, it remains to be among the best methods to measure skills. If you wish to be a good golfer, then you need to get an official handicap. Golfers who have handicaps between 16 and 20 are considered to be average players. In USPAG, the official average handicap is 15. In other words, your usual scores would be about 90 on the average course.

Bogey golfer is another way to measure whether or not you are a good golfer. In this measurement, players are typically scoring a bogey on most holes. Your general score is a little more than 90, while your playoff is around the 20-course handicap.

It’s fair to say that you are a good golfer if your course handicap sits between 15 and 20. But, your golf handicap is still considered as good if below 15. Mind that it’s a lot easier to reduce handicaps when the numbers are higher. For example, it will be easier for you to go from 23 to 22 and from 5 to 4. That is the reason why if you have 10, the other player with 5 is considered to be a better golfer.

What Is My Golf Handicap If I Shoot 100

What’s your average stroke? Most golfers in the US are capable of shooting more than 100. take note that no other attempts were made to figure out the golfers’ national average score.

If you shoot 100 at an 18-hole course while your par is around 72, then your total score will be 28. The value of your handicap in this example is 28. As mentioned, whenever you play rounds, course handicap values recalibration may take place.

What Are The New Handicap Rules for 2020

Here’s what you need to know about the most recent handicap rules:

  • The unifying system allows golfers across the globe to compare their skills and provide accurate handicap.
  • The course rating is extended and serve as the basis for handicap index calculations.
  • The course rating will be the primary factor for handicap calculations, where course rating indicates the expected score for the scratch players for a set of tees while the slope rating expresses the difference in difficulty between the bogey golfers and scratch golfers.
  • The handicap system counts the 10 best scores of the players out of their 20 most recent rounds.
  • The playing condition calculations can potentially adjust the scores according to the abnormal weather, where the range will be from -1.0 to +3.0 for inclement conditions.
  • The low handicap of the players within the past 12 months is used to cap the handicap as well as avoid it from rising very quickly.
  • If a single low score is more than seven shots under the current handicap index will automatically adjust the system, which will trigger the exceptional score reduction lowering the handicap index to become more precisely reflect ability.
  • The maximum handicap index scoring for men and women is raised to 54.0 from which the highest score on any hole is then the net double bogey.


A century ago, a handicap was introduced to help the players of different abilities play competitively together. In the golf handicap system, there’s a big chance that you can beat a friend by 10 strokes. However, he or she will get the victory if your handicap is 2 while his or hers is 15.

I find playing with golfers of your own ability, in the beginning, a nice move. Once you get familiar with it, then it’s time for you to play with golfers who are better than you. That way, you have the best opportunity to grow without worrying so much about your strokes.

With the above information, I hope that you discover something new about how golf handicaps work as well as the slope rating.

Warren Belmore

Warren Belmore