What Does Handicap Mean in Golf?

Do you love to play golf equally with everyone in the field? When you compete against the other golf players who outplay you every whole, have you ever felt out of place? If you say “YES”, this is the perfect time to understand what handicap is all about. When you have your handicap, you are on an equal playing field with everyone. No matter if you have an average or good handicap, the system has been designed for equality and fairness. Once you have the handicap, it will allow you to compare your expected abilities. You can use a proper and legitimate handicap for a variety of tournaments.

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As per the United States, Golf Teachers Federation (USGTF), a handicap is “a measure of the existing ability over an entire round of golf, indicated by a number. The lower the number, the better the golfer is.” A handicap indicates how many strokes below or above par a golfer has to be able to play.

Finding Your Handicap

The great thing about the handicap is that you can calculate a handicap no matter daily which golf course you play. The important thing is that most correct handicaps will come from playing the same system.

Once you establish the handicap, you can travel to other different courses, and you can use your regular handicap. You can even move to the pond and play St. Andrews, and you can use your handicap to challenge the local players. In general, the handicap is like a sport in most of the cases. If you have a lower score, it means you play better. Generally, a good handicap is below 10. That means a player with a handicap of 10 can shoot around 82 for 18 holes. For men and women, the average handicap is around 15, and it means that these golfers can hit about 90.

A Generic Handicap

As per the United States Golf Association (USGA), there are official and general handicaps. The easy way to find a not-so-reliable handicap is by calculating the number of strokes you have par on a course. Your handicap is 28 if you, hot a 100 on a path that was a par of 72.

The USGA Handicap System

USGA made a system that for a golfer to find the correct handicap, s/he needs to have a minimum of 12 established rounds of golf. Will discard the top and worse matches to find the adequate representation of the skill. It also needs to remember that you need to play these rounds consistently during a particular time. You might establish a handicap index if you frequent golf courses, which USGA approved for indexing. And this will allow you to regularly measure your handicap year to year with less than 20 rounds used to calculate the formula. Anyway, for legitimizing a handicap, sandbagging is not an acceptable way.

Understanding Golf Handicaps

There is a systematic procedure to determine a handicap. And to choose a legitimate handicap, it is imperative to follow these steps.

1. Get Swinging

Go to the field and play some golf and keep track of your score. You need to keep an accurate record of your total number of shots you play in the rounds. It would be wise to have between 12 to 20 matches played for the correct handicap, but you can figure it out with five games. Most courses need a minimum of 10 rounds.

2. Find Your Adjusted Scores

For fundamental handicapping, USGA has a set of scores that are part of the total system. These are the maximum amount of numbers that you need to score during the round. If this is your very first time to establish a handicap, the magic number is 10. It means you need to subtract from your final score, for every shot you take over 10. You can adjust it accordingly, and once a handicap has been established. Instead of using 10, now you can use the following:

  • The maximum score is 10 for a handicap of 40 or above.
  • The maximum score of 9 for a handicap of 30-39
  • The maximum score of 8 for a handicap of 20-29
  • The maximum score of 7 for a handicap of 10-19
  • The maximum score of double-bogey for a handicap of 0-9

3. Find the slope

Most of the golf scorecards have the course slope rating that listed on them. If there is nothing on the card, you may ask the pro shop person to get the information to keep your information legit.

Don’t get confused about course rating with the course slope. The rating means a number that tells for a scratch golfer, how challenging the course is—the system based on the players who play bogey golf. Let’s have a look at the example of Gary golfer.

Gary got that his adjusted score is 95-

  1. His score rating is 71.4
  2. And the course slope rating is 120
  3. Adjusted score = course rating * 113 / slope rating
  4. 95 – 71.4 * 113 /120 = Handicap
  5. 95 – 71.4 = 23.6
  6. 23.6 * 113 = 2666.8
  7. 2666.8/120 = 22.2

After finishing the calculation, Gary found that he had 22.2 handicap differentials.

This number can get increased or decreased when you continue to play more golf. If you make a better score, you will have a lower handicap, and on the other hand, our handicap will rise if you have a higher score.

Now you understand how you can calculate golf handicap. Now it’s time for you to tee it up and check what golf gods have got for you. I hope this article is helpful for you and you understand all the insights of the handicap. Now you can use this information to compete more impartially with other golf players. Don’t hesitate to let us know your thought in the comment section.

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