New golfer often wonders what a golf handicap is and how they can determine their handicaps. They might get a bit frustrated listening to this term over and over again and not understanding a bit of it.
Well, golf handicaps are not that tough to understand. Golf handicaps are basically an index to create a fair playing ground for golfers of different levels. Without this, the competitions will not be fair, especially for beginners.
It might be a bit tricky to find out your golf handicap. But knowing the right technique will help you determine it pretty easily.
In this article, we’ll try to provide you with all the necessary information on golf handicaps. So, if you have the question, “What is my golf handicap?”, this article is here to quench your curiosity.
What Does “Handicap” Mean in Golf Terminology?
“Handicap” is a commonly used word in the world of golfers. But most amateur golfers do not have a good idea of their golf handicap. So, let’s head to the main point, shall we?
The United States Golf Teachers Federation (USGTF) is the controlling body that defines a handicap like this, ” It is a score that represents a golfer’s current skill over a whole round of a golf match.”
The number will be low for a good golfer compared to that of an amateur. ” It basically indicates the number of strokes a golfer should play over and below par.
It was created in 1911 to offer a reasonably fair playground to golfers around the world.
A Handicap is the number of additional ‘shots’ above par that a player is anticipated to hit on a track. It can also determine a player’s degree of skill.
If a golfer’s handicap is high, he can play more strokes above par. On the contrary, a golfer with a lower handicap can play fewer extra strokes.
You will be able to compete against a player of your caliber by having a proper idea of both your golf handicaps. So, it can be explained as a score that classifies golfers according to their skill and gameplay.
How to Calculate Your Golf Handicap in 2024?
A golf handicap is a number assigned to a golfer that reflects the player’s potential ability. The higher the handicap, the more strokes it takes to complete a round of golf.
Adjusted Gross Score (AGS)
To compute your golf handicap, you must know at least five 18-hole scores or ten 9-hole scores and use them to calculate your Adjusted Gross Score (AGS).
The AGS is the score you would have shot on a regulation course, playing under average conditions.
To calculate your AGS, take the average of the gross scores and subtract the number of strokes you took on each hole. The result is your AGS.
For example, if you shot 110, 105, 100, 90, and 85 on five different occasions, your AGS would be 98. (110+105+100+90+85)/(five rounds played) = 98.
Easy Ways to Find Your AGS
If you don’t remember the max per-hole score for the course you played, or if your course doesn’t list it on their website, there are a few easy ways to find out.
The United States Golf Association (USGA) has an app called “My Handicap” that can be downloaded for free from either the App Store or Google Play. The app has a built-in Course Finder, which will give you the maximum per-hole score for any course in the country.
Another great resource is GHIN.com This website is managed by the United States Golf Association and keeps track of all golf scores shot in the country (amateur and professional).
If you have an account on GHIN.com, you can look up your score history and find the max per-hole score for any course you’ve played.
Course Rating and Slope Rating
The Course Rating and Slope Rating can be found on most golf course websites. If you don’t have the website for the golf course you played, you can find the Course Rating and Slope Rating in the USGA Handicap System Manual.
The Course Rating is a number that reflects how difficult the golf course is to play. The higher the Course Rating, the more strokes it will take an average golfer to complete a round of golf.
The Slope Rating is a number that reflects how much the difficulty of a golf course increases or decreases, depending on the player’s average score.
The higher the Slope Rating, the more variation in scores you can expect from one round to the next.
A Handicap Differential is a number that reflects the difference between your Adjusted Gross Score and the Course Rating. The Handicap Differential is used to calculate your golf handicap.
The AGS minus (-) Course rating is multiplied by 113, then divided by the Slope Rating to arrive at a Handicap Differential. Handicap Differential = ((AGS – Course Rating) x 113 / Course Slope Rating).
For example, if your AGS is 98, the Course rating is 74 and the Slope Rating is 113 your Handicap Differential would be=((98-74)×(113/113))= 24.
In simple and easy methods, use this calculator to determine your Handicap Differential and Golf Handicap.
Calculate Your Golf Handicap Step-by-Step Guide
These are the steps of golf handicap index calculation:
Select your initial scorecard and use it to calculate your golf handicap score.
After that, deduct the course rating from the total score.
You must multiply the previous results by 113 because the average slope of golf courses is 113.
After you are done, divide the total result by the slope of a particular golf course.
Your differential is the number you’re left with. Calculate this for each of your golf handicap scorecards.
You must select the lowest 5 differential scores from your twenty total differential scores.
To do so, add the counted differentials together and divide by five.
After you’ve calculated the average, multiply it by 0.96.
This is the index of your handicap calculating the handicap index of an individual is not difficult but it becomes harder as additional rounds are added
This handicap index varies every three rounds. If you add all of these scores into a GHIN system, this system will manage the outliers that shouldn’t be counted and those scores will be eliminated.
What Is My Golf Handicap If I Shoot 120?
Let’s assume the golf course slope is 113 and the standard course rating is 72.
So, as the formula suggests, the total golf handicap will be 0.96X of the golf differential, which we find by substituting the course rating with the shooting range and dividing that by the course slope.
We then multiply it with the course slope. So to mathematically put it, the golf differential for shooting 120 is ((120-72)/113)*113 = 48.
So the golf handicap index for shooting 120 is 48*0.96 = 46.1.
What Is My Golf Handicap If I Shoot 115?
Using 113 as the course slope and 72 as the course rating, we obtain a golf differential of ((115-72)/113)*113= 43.
So multiplication by 0.96 gives us a 43*0.96 = 41.3 golf handicap index for a 115 shot.
What Is My Golf Handicap If I Shoot 110?
You must know your golf handicap to shoot 110. Our slop will be 113, and our rating will be 72.
The handicap differential for 110 will be calculated as ((110-72)/113)*113 = 38.
As we all know, we multiply the golf differential by 0.96 to get the golf handicap index. Therefore, we get = 38*0.96 = 36.5. Your golf handicap index is 36.5 if you shoot 110.
What Is My Golf Handicap If I Shoot 105?
Using 113 as the course slope and 72 as the course rating, we obtain a golf differential of ((105-72)/113) *113= 33.
So multiplication by 0.96 gives us a 43*0.96 = 31.7 golf handicap index for a 105 shot.
What Is My Golf Handicap If I Shoot 95?
We’ll calculate the golf differential similarly to prior calculations. The course differential is ((95-72)/113)*113 = 23 since the course slope is 113 and the course rating is 72.
So, if you score 95, your golf handicap index will be 0.96X higher than your golf differential, which is 22.1.
What Is My Golf Handicap If I Shoot 90?
As always, we will consider the value of the course slop to be 113 and 72, which is the course rating.
To calculate the golf handicap, we will have to once again count the handicap differential. And the handicap differential for this particular shoot will be ((90-72)/113)*113 = 18.
To calculate the golf handicap for the shoot 90, we then have to multiply this number by 0.96, so the golf handicap index is = 23*0.96 = 17.3.
What Is My Golf Handicap If I Shoot 86?
First, we will take our usual course slop and course rating values, which are 113 and 72, to calculate the handicap differential. We will use this to calculate our golf handicap.
Your handicap differential for 86 is = ((86-72)/113)*113 = 14.
Now multiply the golf differential by 96 to get 14*0.96 = 13.4 as the golf handicap index if you shoot 86.
What Is My Golf Handicap If I Shoot 85?
To shoot 85, you have to know your golf handicap. We will assume our course slope is 113 and our rating is 72.
Now we will need to calculate the handicap differential for 85. It will be = ((85-72)/113)*113 = 13.
As we know, to find the golf handicap index, we multiply the golf differential by 0.96, so we will then get = 13*0.96 = 12.5. So, if you shoot at 85, your golf handicap index is 12.5.
What Is My Golf Handicap If I Shoot 82?
Now that we know our initial step is always to assume that our course slope and the course rating are 113 and 72, we will take that and calculate the handicap differential.
If you shoot 82, it will be ((82-72)/113)*113 = 10. By multiplying this golf differential by 0.96 (10*0.96), we get 9.6 as the golf handicap index for 82 shots.
What Is My Golf Handicap If I Shoot 80?
As we did in previous calculations, we will now calculate the golf differential. Here, the course slope is 113 and the course rating is 72, so the course differential is = ((80-72)/113)*113 = 8.
So now the golf handicap index, if you shoot at 80, will be 0.96X more than your golf differential, which is 7.7.
What Should Be the Ideal Handicap for a Beginner?
As we mentioned before, you need to play around 5-10 rounds on the course to get your own golf handicap index.
Since the beginners are pretty inconsistent, it will be difficult for them to get an exact handicap. because they might play pretty well one day and have an awful round the next day.
If you are someone just getting started with your handicap, a score of a hundred will be enough. Not only for beginners, keeping a score lower than a hundred is tough for many regular golfers.
You should focus more on the accuracy of your shot, putting aside the worry of increasing your overall score.
So, stop worrying about the scores and enjoy the game. If you start to get comfortable with your shots, your score and handicap will start to increase rapidly.
What Is the Average Golf Handicap?
If you’re talking about the average golf handicap in the USA, it’s about sixteen. If someone is shooting around 86-92, sixteen would be the most common handicap for him. But, it depends mostly on the accuracy of keeping the scores.
The average handicap for a female golfer is around 28. Of course, there are some exceptions, but that doesn’t create a noticeable change in this number.
Your handicap will be accurate if you don’t know the right way to play the game. So make sure to educate yourself about it. An impressive handicap with lower accuracy is of no good.
The Highest Golf Handicap for a Woman
A female golfer can have a maximum index of 40.4. The number is 36.4 for a male golfer. These handicaps are used to keep the game fair.
If the handicap index exceeds this number, the match will not be fair due to the number of assigned strokes.
A handicap of 40.4 should be a big achievement for any female golfer. You can easily enroll in top-flight tournaments with this handicap and compete with the top golfers.
What Should Be Your Handicap to Become a Plus Golfer?
Everything that we’ve mentioned so far is applicable to scratch golfers. Scratch golfers shoot par consistently. But the golfers who shoot lower than par are called “plus-handicap golfers.”
To have a plus handicap, you need to be consistent with your shots. If you want to be a plus-two handicap golfer, you will have to shoot 70 on a 72 golf course.
But we will have to keep in mind that the handicap does not only depend on your score, it relies mostly on slope and rating.
So try to shoot par on a tough golf course to become a plus-handicap golfer.
What Should Be the Handicap of a PRO Golfer?
A professional golfer shoots better than par almost every time. Try to keep a better score than other players. Be consistent with it. But remember that a professional golf tournament has little to do with your handicap.
In a professional tournament, you need to compete with the best golfers regardless of your handicap index. If most of them shoot 66 that day, try to keep it 64 for you.
So, the impact of handicaps is more important for scratch golfers than for professionals.
Do Professional Golfers Need Handicaps?
Well, it depends. Some professional golfers like to keep a handicap, and some players do not feel it is necessary to keep a handicap.
Professionals who compete with other team members in a club keep a handicap. It helps them find the right opponent.
But if the cub professional wants to compete in the highest-level tournaments like the US Open, his handicaps won’t be necessary to qualify and compete in that tournament.
He will have to compete with the best golfers in the world. That’s why you won’t see any handicaps in professional golf matches on television.
But the handicap of a professional golfer is too impressive. It’s somewhat around 6 or 8. Which is… I mean, surreal!
Why Is It Important to Have a Golf Handicap?
An increasing number of golfers are starting to appreciate the importance of using a handicap indicator, so this must be very important for them, right? According to our experts, the ten most compelling reasons are:
- To know a golfer’s potential: You may be an exceptional golfer, but that would only be your claim. You need to have a reliable metric, and this is where your golf handicap stands upfront for you to corroborate your abilities. And this applies to every golfer.
- To make it more fun: The conventional aim is to allow players of various skill levels to participate on an equal footing. But above everything, to gain the privilege to speak about it! The handicap will level the playing field.
- Your scores won’t be remembered for a long time: The handicap score won’t be the same for the rest of your career. The handicap calculation from the USGA only takes into account the top 10 scores from the previous 20 rounds. Therefore, there’s yet another reason to push more.
- To demonstrate how a golfer’s performance evolves over time: It is quite difficult to keep track of a golfer’s progress since the game contains a lot of variables. different courses, weather conditions, playing hours, groups, and so on. So, the golf handicap is the only way that can tell you if you’re becoming better over time.
- Unique Golf Courses: The handicap is in relation to the difficulty level of the course. So, it is time to say goodbye to the excuses your opponent or teammates use about the course difficulty. The handicap method will eliminate that arbitrary metric from consideration.
- Because pride motivates every real golfer: We humans like to brag about our achievements and results. Similarly, you will be able to showcase your handicap in many places as evidence of your skills.
- For people who enjoy a good wager: You may make bets while maintaining friendships by using your golf handicap. For skilled players, handicapping removes abstract issues from the discussion. You can provide or receive the correct number of strokes while competing against your pals under the same conditions.
- It is mandatory during competitions: You are aware that in order to compete in a golf competition, a golf handicap is a prerequisite, so you should begin maintaining your handicap accurately. There are numerous golf apps available that can help you calculate your golf handicap.
- Because it’s completely free: Okay, it isn’t usually free. It is, though, free on many apps. So, there are no more explanations.
Do These to Lower Your Golf Handicap
Keeping a low handicap is a dream of every golfer, regardless of their level. It takes a lot of patience and hard work to get better in a competitive game like golf.
In order to lower your golf handicap and boost your golf skills, you can take several measures. But remember that the results will not show up overnight. You can start by doing the following things:
- Get Better on the Short Games: You need to practice around the green a lot to get better in your games and keep a lower handicap.
- Do not stick to a similar course: You should start to explore more in the courses if you want to improve your skills and lower your handicap. This exposure will increase your experience and help you adapt to different play settings.
- Compete with better golfers: That’s the golden rule. Playing with a better golfer may not bring good results on the scoreboard, and you may not win many matches, but it will help you a lot in the long run. Take tips from them and keep a close eye on their swings and shots.
- Enjoy the game and learn: Do not get into the rat race of lowering your handicap without enjoying the game. Be consistent with your game and learn from your mistakes.
- Add to your techniques: Every great golfer has their own style of playing. You need to dig inside your playing style and discover your strong zones. Learn new techniques to score better. Learn where to use a proper driver or when to hit a 9 iron to get the desired result.
- Every Shot counts: Play short matches where every stroke matters. This will help you realize the importance of each shot.
- Watch more golf matches: watch the matches of the best golfers in the best tournaments to learn new techniques. See how they get the ball from the bunker, their layup, or if they like to lag putt.
- Do not fake it: Be honest with your handicap. Putting a false handicap won’t really help you in the long run. Instead, it will put you in more trouble.
What Is a Slope Rating, and How Does It Work?
A slope rating is an indication of how difficult the course is for a ‘bogey’ compared to a scratch golfer. The amateur golfer’s estimated total of strokes from a stack of tees during typical playing circumstances is indicated by the rating of the course.
The same thing is done for the bogey golfer, and a comparison between these two is the slop rating.
What Is the Purpose of the Handicap System?
Since golf has a single universal set of rules, it seemed reasonable to combine the six different handicapping methods now in use. As a result, competition will become more fair and egalitarian around the world.
What Does “Rating” Mean in Golf?
In a golf match, you will see a rating on the scorecard. It is usually displayed with decimal points.
It represents the number of strokes a scratch golfer can shoot on the golf course. If the par is 72 for a scratch golfer, and he is rated at 74.5, he would not shoot around 72, which he was expected to.
The course gets more difficult if the rating starts to increase.
What Does “Bogey Golfer” Mean?
While evaluating a course rating, the Bogey golfer is used. The average difficulty of a course is 20 and 24 for men and women, respectively.
Where Can I Get a Handicap Index?
Before you get yourself a golf handicap You need to do some work. You must submit your scorecard of 54 holes to the authority that will evaluate your handicap.
So, to conclude, what is my golf handicap? Handicaps are an important index to make golf a fair game for all.
It enables players to match up with opponents of their caliber and makes the game enjoyable. It also helps you to keep track of your progress.
You can easily determine your handicap by using the method mentioned in this article. Be accurate with the records and the calculations.
It will help you to understand whether your new set of irons is improving your game or not. So, try to keep an honest and accurate handicap.
A proper handicap will help you a lot to become a good golfer and give you an idea of your current position.