Golf Handicap Index Calculator (Chart) 2024: USGA Formula

Since anyone can claim almost any handicap online, it becomes harder to know what someone’s true golf handicap is.

Online handicap calculators are not always certified, but they still offer some accuracy in terms of skill and should indicate how good someone ought to be performing whilst playing.

Fortunately, the golf handicap index calculator is more reliable and accurate. The golf handicap calculator is a staple of the PGA Tour and the USGA uses this information to determine the true handicap of a player.

If you want to compete in various competitions, you would be using this golf handicap calculator to ensure you are on par with the elite players in the world. It might be daunting for some players to use.

The conversation of golf handicap and handicap index is often debated and some people believe they are more accurate in calculating their handicap.

However, the USGA handicap formula is specifically designed to ensure a fair playing field. You will find that it is the go-to for many players and we aim to discuss why.

Golf Handicap Index Calculator – 18 And 9 Holes

The golf handicap index calculator is the infamous option that many professionals use when calculating their handicap for a specific competition.

Generally, you will need to be part of a golf club to have access to sending your data through the right channels, however, many people can submit the information directly to the USGA.

The index calculator should give you an idea of what an acceptable score is for you as a player. During the active season, a period is allocated that enables players to submit their scores to the Authorized Association.

The organization will set out a structure that is approved by the USGA to ensure that everyone is on an equal playing field to calculate golf handicaps.

How Is Your Handicap Index Calculated?

You might be wondering what the steps are to calculate your handicap index and it varies from calculator to calculator.

However, our free golf handicap calculator is set up per the USGA recommended configurations that will enable you to easily find your true handicap index. It should only take you a couple of minutes.

Here is what you will need:

  • Your Score (up to 5): You can insert up to five different scores on 5 different courses into our calculator.
  • Golf Course Rating: The course rating is indicated on the scorecard of many of these courses and you will need to add them to the fray.
  • Course Slope Rating: Finally, you will need the slope rating, which serves to add adjustments to boost your overall score perhaps even.

We would recommend adding as much data as possible to these score calculators to give you a better picture of your true score and skill.

The USGA will often need a minimum of 5 scores of 18-holes for your handicap, but this can be made up of 9-hole games as well, which might even boost your overall score whilst playing.

The USGA Calculation Method

The USGA uses a slope rating of 113 as the average and the higher or lowers you go on the slope rating, the easier or more difficult it tends to be.

As mentioned, they will need about a minimum of 5 scores of 18-holes worth of scores, but these can be made up from a combination of 9-hole games and full games depending on what you get time for.

They will essentially calculate your score and give you the handicap you currently have. Keep in mind that this handicap is for a full game of 18-holes. The difference comes when you are looking to find the 9-hole handicap.

Unfortunately, the USGA does not certify the 9-hole handicap due to it not being relevant in the competition. The handicap is also in relation to the USGA course rating.

Calculating The 9 Hole Handicap Index

Unfortunately, time is valuable and not all of us have plenty of time to run around and play golf all day. To compensate for this, you will notice many players prefer only playing 9 holes.

Calculating The 9 Hole Handicap Index

Now, you might think this is unfair, but most golf courses are designed to give you at least one par 5 and par 3 in the front 9. This tends to even itself out when you are only playing 9 holes.

However, if determining a 9-hole handicap index, type in one-half of the 18-hole handicap index 9 rounded to one decimal.

Next type in the 9-hole course raring, 9-hole slope rating, and 9-hole par. Once you have all of these typed into our calculator, you will see what score you have when only playing 9 holes.

If you are only playing 9 holes, you can insert your scores directly into our simple golf handicap calculator and it should give you your 9-hole handicap.

To convert this back to the traditional 18-hole handicap, you will simply want to double the hole score (Adjusted Gross Score).

It should bring you back to your traditional handicap. Unfortunately, it is not 100% accurate and we have seen some players exceed this handicap calculation.

Why Should You Use The Golf Handicap Index Calculator?

The main purpose of this calculator stems from the competition. It is rare to see the calculator play any significant role for a Sunday golfer. However, it can be functional to know the acceptable score for each golf course.

Once you gain an idea of your score, you will know which competitions would work best for you. Here are a few benefits of using this calculator:

  • Understanding an acceptable score for each competition
  • Knowing what you should aim for when playing
  • Making small improvements to reach the specific score
  • Understanding some of your weaknesses (when comparing scores with other courses you play)
  • Knowing whether it is viable to enter any specific competition

As mentioned, once you know the score needed for a competition, you will know whether you should enter or not.

It can take some practice to reach the level of certain competitions. You can use the calculator for almost any competition you want to be apart of. It also helps the weekend golfer make improvements each week.

Golf Handicap Index Chart

The handicap index chart is a chart that combines the traditional handicap index with the handicap of the course. You will find that most charts will give you a handicap index and course handicap next to one another.

It refers to which score a player should play on a specific course when they have a specific handicap index.

Since courses have different ratings and slope ratings, the handicap index is not always specifically tailored to a golf course. The handicap index chart will combine the two scores and show you what score you are looking to achieve when you are playing on a course.

There are numerous examples online of specific courses that will ensure you have a direct correlation to compare your handicap index score to the handicap score on a specific course.

Once you calculate your golf handicap, the golf handicap allowance could show you the relative difficulty.

In essence, you will either have to use an online calculator, but these might not be tailored to a specific course. Since our calculation includes the course rating and slope rating, it should work once you have completed a course.

However, the conversion table in the handicap chart will make it possible to see what score you should play on a specific course.

The index chart uses golf handicaps that are combined with the course rating and course slope. It works slightly differently from the golf handicap calculator.

Handicap Index RangePercent of Total (Men)Cumulative (Men)Percent of Total (Women)Cumulative (Women)
+1.0 or better1.13%1.13%0.50%0.50%
+0.9 to 0.00.72%1.85%0.19%0.69%
0.1 to 1.00.96%2.81%0.21%0.90%
1.1 to 1.91.10%3.91%0.21%1.12%
2.0 to 2.91.53%5.44%0.25%1.37%
3.0 to 3.91.92%7.36%0.28%1.65%
4.0 to 4.92.41%9.77%0.32%1.98%
5.0 to 5.92.91%12.68%0.37%2.35%
6.0 to 6.93.44%16.13%0.40%2.75%
7.0 to 7.93.96%20.08%0.49%3.24%
8.0 to 8.94.43%24.52%0.57%3.81%
9.0 to 9.94.81%29.33%0.65%4.46%
10.0 to 10.95.06%34.39%0.77%5.23%
11.0 to 11.95.27%39.67%0.90%6.14%
12.0 to 12.95.41%45.08%1.10%7.24%
13.0 to 13.95.42%50.50%1.27%8.50%
14.0 to 14.95.37%55.87%1.52%10.02%
15.0 to 15.95.20%61.08%1.75%11.77%
16.0 to 16.94.87%65.94%2.02%13.79%
17.0 to 17.94.49%70.44%2.22%16.01%
18.0 to 18.94.10%74.53%2.44%18.45%
19.0 to 19.93.68%78.22%2.66%21.11%
20.0 to 20.93.22%81.43%2.89%24.01%
21.0 to 21.92.83%84.26%3.10%27.11%
22.0 to 22.92.49%86.75%3.33%30.43%
23.0 to 23.92.15%88.91%3.56%34.00%
24.0 to 24.91.86%90.77%3.86%37.85%
25.0 to 25.91.57%92.34%3.96%41.81%
26.0 to 26.91.34%93.68%4.01%45.82%
27.0 to 27.91.13%94.81%4.07%49.89%
28.0 to 28.90.95%95.76%4.03%53.92%
29.0 to 29.90.78%96.54%3.94%57.86%
30.0 to 30.90.65%97.19%3.64%61.50%
31.0 to 31.90.53%97.72%3.53%65.03%
32.0 to 32.90.43%98.15%3.37%68.39%
33.0 to 33.90.36%98.50%3.20%71.59%
34.0 to 34.90.28%98.79%3.00%74.59%
35.0 to 35.90.23%99.02%2.71%77.30%
36.0 to 36.90.19%99.21%2.49%79.79%
37.0 to 37.90.15%99.36%2.28%82.07%
38.0 to 38.90.12%99.48%2.02%84.09%
39.0 to 39.90.10%99.58%1.80%85.89%
40.0 to 40.90.08%99.65%1.60%87.49%
41.0 to 41.90.06%99.72%1.47%88.96%
42.0 to 42.90.05%99.77%1.29%90.25%
43.0 to 43.90.04%99.81%1.14%91.38%
44.0 to 44.90.03%99.84%1.02%92.41%
45.0 to 45.90.03%99.87%0.93%93.33%
46.0 to 46.90.02%99.89%0.80%94.13%
47.0 to 47.90.02%99.91%0.69%94.82%
48.0 to 48.90.02%99.92%0.63%95.44%
49.0 to 49.90.01%99.93%0.58%96.02%
50.0 to 50.90.01%99.94%0.50%96.52%
51.0 to 51.90.01%99.95%0.43%96.96%
52.0 to 52.90.01%99.96%0.37%97.33%
53.0 to 53.90.01%99.96%0.36%97.68%
54.0 or higher0.04%100.00%2.32%100.00%

Preview: Golf Handicap Index Chart

Handicap vs Handicap Index

Understandably, many players get confused when they hear handicap and handicap index. Both these terms are thrown around and many beginners might not be sure what they mean.

Handicap Index

To make it simple, you should know that the handicap index is the official term used for a handicap that has been certified by the USGA or any other official governing body.


Your golfing handicap is something you can find online. There are numerous different calculators and once you have played a round, you have a score.

You can insert the score, course rating, and slope rating into the calculator and it should spew out the handicap you have attained.

Unfortunately, this is not an official handicap and any player can insert the scores they want to get a handicap score.

It is mostly for beginners that do not aim to perform at an elite level or players still working their way up to a professional level. We should mention that the formula of our online calculator uses the same formula as the governing bodies.

Handicap Index

The handicap index is a more professional term, which works with the governing bodies’ formula to give you a certified and official handicap.

You have a few important things to keep in mind like submitting the correct number of scores.

Once you have submitted these scores, they should be processed by the governing body to give you a certified handicap.

The handicap index is the official term used by the USGA that enables you to compete at a higher level.

Handicap Index= Average of your qualified Handicap Differentials*0.96

Handicap Differential= (Adjusted Gross Score–Course Rating)*113/Slope Rating

For some tours and competitions, you have a minimum handicap that you need to adhere to. Once you have this handicap certified by the official channels, you can easily use it to compete at a professional level.

Single Round Handicap Index Calculator

While you have now seen the difference between your handicap and your handicap index, you know that you can convert your handicap index to a course handicap.

However, you might want your single-round handicap once you have completed the course. It should give you an average score of what you need to aim for when playing the same course again.

Our calculator will only give you an indication of your single-round handicapping score. To ensure it is an official handicap, you will need to belong to a club or some form of governing body to certify the numbers and ensure that they can effectively be used to play on different courses.

Can You Get An Official Single Round Handicap Index?

Unfortunately, the governing bodies use a formula that includes 3 rounds of 18-hole to calculate your index handicap. This means that submitting a single round might not work.

However, you can submit three scores from the same golf course to give you an idea of what you should be aiming for when playing the specific course.

Are Online Single Round Handicap Scores Useful?

While some players can tour the country and play on different professional golf courses, not everyone has the luxury.

Most people, we play the same local courses repeatedly due to affordability or the range from our homes. It means that you can only focus on the same course, and most of your scores are related to the course.

The single-round handicap score is useful when you are stuck with the same courses and can be a method of improving your game. You can set new targets and use the calculator to help you improve your game and find new score targets worth aiming for.

We recommend using these calculators to make slight improvements and perhaps focus on one single course.

The handicap index calculator is one of the best tools that someone could use to assert themselves as an authority in the world of golf.

Once a player grasps the importance of having a certified 18-hole score, they can improve their game and level. Here are a few additional questions that many people might have when it comes to the golf handicap calculator:

How Do I Calculate My Handicap Index?

While there are numerous online calculators, most of these will only give you a brief idea of what your handicap index should be.

The only way to have an official handicap is to submit some of your scores to the relevant authorities. If you want a certified score, you need to submit the three best full-course scores you have attained to these governing bodies.

You should receive a handicap index that is certified in return.

Can I Calculate My Own Handicap?

It is possible to calculate your own handicap using the right formulas. You can also use any online calculator to assist you with these formulas.

The great thing about an online calculator is that you simply need to feed the information into the open slots. It should do all the work and spew out a number you can use as a handicap.

Unfortunately, scratch golfers are held to a higher official standard than the average golfer. A scratch golfer will have a lower adjusted gross score, which might confuse online calculators that give handicap differentials due to their skill level based on recent scores.

Is Handicap Index the Same as Handicap?

The handicap index is not the same as the golf handicap. The handicap index refers to the official score assigned to a player once they have submitted scores to the governing bodies.

The handicap is only the score you calculate yourself by adding information like the course slope to the calculator and finding a number. It should give you a rough idea of what your handicap index might be.

The handicap index is much more accurate and takes into account playing conditions, enabling players with differing abilities to be rated on an equitable basis by factoring in the most recent scores.

If you have ever played golf, you should understand the importance of handicap index slopes.

Science of Golf: Calculating a Golf Handicap Index

Wrap Up

The golf handicap index is a great way to solidify yourself as one of the top players in your local community.

Most players use basic online handicap calculators, but with the use of the handicap index, you can put yourself on a different level. We would recommend that every aspiring golfer look to get their handicap index.

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