What is a Golf Handicap and How to calculate it?

Do you want to know what is a golf handicap? This is a common topic of conversation amongst many golfers. You probably heard a lot of them say that have a fourteen handicap or that they’re a scratch golfer.

Well, to put it in simple terms for you, handicap is how many strokes you should get to shoot over par and it’s generally used for the purpose of leveling the playing field for golfers with varying skill levels.


Facts about golf handicap

Depending on your handicap, you can compete with other golfers on a level playing field. So for instance, if you’re a scratch golfer, then you cannot get any strokes that you can add to your final score and that’s because you have a 0 handicap. According to the LGA, a course index and rating is used in order to assess the difficulty of a course.
Writing golf handicap with a glove.

This means that all eighteen holes are going to be rated based on their difficulty. In this case, the easiest hole is given a rating of eighteen while the hardest one receives a rating of one. So for example, if your handicap is seven, then you’ll be given strokes on the most difficult rated holes. This basically allows you to be on the same level as a scratch golfer.


How is handicap calculated?

Some golfers know what a golf handicap is, but don’t know how to calculate it. A Handicap is calculated with a maximum of twenty scores and a minimum of 5. To calculate it though, you need to have the slope rating and course rating of each course played.

However, if you want to get an USGA handicap, then it’s imperative you join one of the clubs which is authorized by them. In case you can’t find one or there are none in your area, it’s possible to create your own club with a minimum of ten members.

To calculate your handicap, you’ll be required to provide your golf scores to your club. For an in depth look read this article – How to Calculate your Golf Handicap.


Why is handicap so important?

The truth is that if you want to play in any tournament, then you’ll need to know what your handicap is. Recently though, a lot of golf associations have moved to online handicapping systems, so no longer will you be required to provide your handicap card whenever you want to play.

It’s not about playing in tournaments only: a lot of people need to know their handicap even when they want to play with their friends.

This will make for a fair and more interesting game and give both players equal chances of winning. By now you will know what is a golf handicap and how to calculate it, to keep track of improvement in your golf game. Best of luck.

by Sam Goble

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