What is handicap in Golf ? A golf handicap is a measure of a player's skill level that adjusts the number of strokes they receive to level the playing field.

What Is Handicap In Golf: Understanding The Basics For Golfers

What is a Handicap in Golf? A golf player’s skill level is represented by a numerical value known as a handicap. Handicap is a method used to even out the competition and enable golfers with varying abilities to compete fairly. If a golfer has a higher handicap, people regard them as less skilled

How Is A Handicap In Golf Calculated?

Calculation of a golfer’s handicap is based on their scores from previous rounds. The calculation takes into account the difficulty of the course, as well as the player’s score relative to the course’s par.

Calculation of a golfer's handicap is based on their scores from previous rounds.

Steps To Calculate A Golfer’s Handicap

  1. Record scores: A golfer’s scores for their last 20 rounds of golf are recorded.
  2. Determine handicap differentials: Secondly, the 10 best scores are selected from the 20 rounds and used to calculate the golfer’s handicap differentials.
  3. Calculate average: The average of the golfer’s handicap differentials is then calculated.
  4. Apply formula: Finally, apply the formula to calculate the golfer’s handicap utilizes the average handicap differential obtained in the previous step.

Formula To Calculate A Golfer’s Handicap

Handicap Index = (Handicap Differentials / Number of Handicap Differentials) x 0.96

Subsequently, the calculated result represents the golfer’s handicap index, which decides the number of strokes they are eligible to receive in a golf round.

Golfer use the following formula to calculate the number of strokes a golfer receives based on their handicap:

Strokes Received = (Course Rating – Golfer’s Handicap Index) x (Slope Rating / 113) + (Adjustment)


Course Rating: The difficulty of the golf course being played.

Slope Rating: The relative difficulty of the golf course for the golfer.

Adjustment: A value added to adjust for the course’s difficulty.

As a result, the output represents the number of strokes that the golfer is entitled to receive for the round.

Similarly, by using the handicap system, golfers of different skill levels can compete on an equal footing, making the game more enjoyable and fair for everyone involved.

Golf Handicap Calculator
A golf handicap is a measure of a player's skill level that adjusts the number of strokes they receive to level the playing field.
A golf handicap is a measure of a player’s skill level that adjusts the number of strokes they receive to level the playing field.

What Makes A Handicap Important?

The importance of a handicap lies in its ability to create a fair competition among golfers of different skill levels. In its absence, a beginner player would stand no chance against an experienced golfer. Moreover, a handicap enables golfers to monitor their progress and observe improvements over time.

How Does A Handicap System Work?

In a handicap system, people assign each golfer a “handicap index” as a measure of their overall skill level.

Also, they establish the golfer’s “course handicap” using the handicap index, which enables them to subtract a certain number of strokes from their score based on the course’s difficulty.

How Does The Golf Handicap Work?

What Is Handicap Index And Course Handicap

Handicap Index

A handicap index is a numerical value that reflects a golfer’s skill level, derived from their scores in previous rounds. Furthermore, golfers use it to determine a course handicap, which helps to adjust scores for fair competition among players of different skill levels.

Course Handicap

Course handicap is the number of strokes a golfer can deduct from their total score to adjust for the difficulty of the course they are playing, enabling fair competition among golfers of different abilities.

Table:  Handicap Index and Course Handicap

Handicap IndexCourse Handicap
5.4 – 9.36 – 11
9.4 – 16.312 – 19
16.4 – 22.320 – 27
22.4 – 28.328 – 35
28.4 – 36.436 – 44

Who Needs A Handicap In Golf?

Anyone who wants to compete in a golf tournament or play against other golfers should have a handicap. While not required for casual play, a handicap is necessary for competitive play.

How To Obtain A Handicap In Golf?

To obtain a handicap, a golfer must join a golf club or association that provides a handicap system. To establish their handicap index, someone requires the golfer to submit their scores from previous rounds. After that, they compute the golfer’s course handicap by taking into account the difficulty level of the course they plan to play.

Tips To Improve Your Handicap In Golf

  1. Practice regularly: Regular practice is crucial to enhance your golf skills. Allocate some time to practice your golf skills at least a few times every week, even if it’s just for a short duration.
  2. Focus on your short game: The short game, which includes chipping, putting, and bunker shots, is a crucial aspect of golf that can significantly impact your score. Spend extra time practicing these shots to improve your skills.
  3. Use proper technique: Proper technique is essential for consistent and accurate shots. To acquire appropriate golf techniques, consider taking lessons from a golf professional or watching instructional videos.
  4. Play different courses: Playing on different courses can challenge you and help you improve your golf game. Try playing on courses with different levels of difficulty to test your skills.
  5. Keep track of your scores: Monitoring your scores and determining your handicap can aid in monitoring your development and identifying areas that require enhancement.
  6. Stay relaxed: Golf can be a stressful game, but it’s essential to stay relaxed and focused. Take deep breaths and stay positive to avoid getting too tense or frustrated during your game.
  7. Have fun: While playing, don’t forget to enjoy golf, as it should be a source of entertainment. Enjoy the beautiful scenery, socialize with other players, and appreciate the challenge of the game.
Tips To Improve Your Handicap In Golf
Practice regularly
Focus on your short game
Use proper technique
Play different courses
Keep track of your scores
Stay relaxed
Have fun

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, the golf handicap system uses a numerical measure of a golfer’s skill level called a handicap to adjust the number of strokes they receive in a round of golf.

Furthermore, they design the golf handicap system to facilitate fair competition among golfers with varying skill levels. For beginners, understanding their handicap can help them track their progress and improve their skills, while pro golfers use their handicap to determine their eligibility for tournaments and their ranking in professional golf organizations.

In Addition to improve their handicap, golfers should practice regularly, focus on their short game, use proper technique, play on different courses, keep track of their scores, stay relaxed, and have fun.

Similarly, the process of calculating a golfer’s handicap involves recording their scores, determining handicap differentials, calculating the average, and applying a formula to calculate their handicap index. Also, they use this handicap index to determine the number of strokes the golfer receives in a round of golf.

Overall, the handicap system is an important aspect of golf that makes the game more enjoyable and fair for all players. By following these tips and understanding how the handicap system works, golfers can improve their skills and enjoy the game to the fullest.


What is a golf handicap in simple terms?

The golf handicap system uses a number to represent a player’s skill level, allowing golfers of different abilities to compete on a fair basis. Additionally, the player’s past performance determines their handicap, and the system adjusts their score to reflect their potential ability. It is worth noting that lower handicaps are generally indicative of better golfing ability.

How do you figure out your golf handicap?

To calculate your golf handicap, you need to submit scorecards from at least five rounds of golf. Additionally the scorecards are used to determine your adjusted gross score (AGS) for each round, which takes into account the difficulty of the course you played. The AGS is then used to calculate your handicap index using a formula established by the USGA.

What is the meaning of a 20 handicap in golf?

A 20 handicap in golf means the player is expected to shoot 20 strokes over par on an 18-hole course, indicating a less experienced or less skilled player.

What is a handicap example?

A handicap example in golf would be a player with a handicap of 12 who shoots a 90 on a par 72 course. Subtracting the player’s handicap from their gross score, they would get a net score of 78. The net score system provides an equal playing field for golfers with varying skill levels to compete against each other.


  • Kate Goldsmith

    Kate Goldsmith is a highly respected golf expert with a wealth of experience in the sport. From a young age, Kate Goldsmith was fascinated by golf and spent countless hours practicing and playing. Her dedication paid off, as she went on to become a standout player and later competed professionally on various tours. In addition to her success on the course, Kate Goldsmith is also a renowned golf instructor, helping players of all skill levels improve their game. Kate Goldsmith is a frequent contributor to golf magazines and websites, sharing her insights on everything from swing mechanics to mental toughness. She is widely respected in the golf community for her knowledge, passion, and dedication to the sport.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *