How To Figure Out Your Golf Handicap? Simple Formula

Handicap golf is the best system ever devised in any sport to allow players of widely differing abilities to actually compete against each other.

The USGA Handicap System is generally accepted throughout the United States. The system is based upon the ten best scores from a player’s last twenty rounds. To keep it simple, here’s the formula used to determine handicap:

How To Figure Out Your Golf Handicap?

The average of the ten best scores over the last twenty rounds, minus the USGA course rating for the course played, times the USGA Slope Rating, divided by 113, equals the USGA Handicap.

Say you take your last ten rounds on your home course and divide that total by ten to get the average score of 90. The scorecard at the club will indicate the USGA Course Rating (which is based on the difficulty of a given course for “scratch” golfers—those who don’t require a handicap, such as professionals—and determined by the USGA), which we’ll say is 68.

The USGA Slope Rating indicates the difficulty of the course for players with a handicap; that is, those who play above-par golf. For our purposes, we’ll say the Slope Rating is 100. Hence: [(90 – 68) / 113] * 100 = 19.5 handicap.

What if I haven’t played enough rounds to have a handicap?

If you’ve never played before and find yourself in a tournament setting, the committee will probably assign thirty-six strokes for a man, and forty strokes for a woman. This method is not a substitute for a USGA handicap, but can be very helpful in an emergency. 

Another method of calculating your handicap with less than 20 rounds is to average the lowest 8 of the most recent score differentials. This includes any adjustments for exceptional scores or a Committee review. The number is then rounded to the nearest 10th to give you the handicap index.

Now, as of January 2020, the number of scores needed to obtain a golf handicap are three 18 hole scores. This can be achieved from a mix of 18 hole rounds and 9 hole rounds. At the beginning and middle of every month (1st and 15th) the handicap index is revised.

What Is A Good Golf Handicap?

The lower your handicap score is the better. Profesisonal players like the ones on the PGA tour often have a low handicap score, while amateurs and intermediate players usually tend to have a higher handicap score.

So what is a good handicap score? Well, a good golf handicap score is typically 10 or less, so you should strive to obtain a score within that range. And, if you’re averageing below 10, then you should expect to shoot somewhere around 82.

Nevertheless, the average golfer’s handicap is between 16 to 20, while anything higher than that is considered poor. A gofler whose handicap is between 10 and 18 is considered a skilled player with a moderate handicap, so you shouldn’t beat yourself up if you can’t obtain a 10 handicap score or less.

You should know that most players don’t really register for a official handicap, but If you want to be considered a good golfer, you need to have an official handicap as this is the best way to measure you skills.

Useful Resource: USGA’s Handicap Calculator

How Your Handicap Is Used In Golf Score

Most tournaments will use your handicap to help calculate your total net score in a round of golf. First, you play each golf hole and then mark the total number of strokes taken on your scorecard. When the round finishes, you will total all your shots to get a gross score. Your handicap is then deducted from this gross score to get your total net score.

If you finish the round with the least net score, you are the winner.

Related Post: How does golf scoring works?

How To Lower Your Golf Handicap

Striving for a lower golf handicap will automatically improve your game. The lower the handicap is the better the golfer, whereas the higher the handicap the worse the golfer.

Here are some tips that can help you achieve a better handicap in golf:

Get Fitted – This means that you should use the right golf club to get the most out of your game. A well fitted club can lower your score by more than 1.5 strokes and gain more distance as much as 20 yards from the tee box.  Modern technology has made the fitting process easy and effective.

Improve your fitness – There was a time when fitness was the least priority for most golfers. But as the game matured, golfers have begun training more like athletes in order to get a few extra yardages from their golf shots. While technique and skill plays a major role in how well you hit the golf shot, a player who is more physically stronger will tend to hit the golf ball farther.

Note that you son’t have to bulk up to increase your strength in golf. Focus on the muscles that matter such as your core and glutes. These are the muscles that help to generate power in your golf swing.

Learn the proper swing techniques – Perhaps more important than your fitness is the technique you use to swing your clubs. Here are some things avoid during your golf siwng:

  • Stop casting your wrists
  • Stop swinging over the top
  • Don’t sway your body. Instead rotate the body along the fixed core.
  • Avoid scooping the golf ball
  • Stop blocking the golf shot
  • Stop relying on your arms for power
  • Don’t overswing the club
  • Don’t stand up during the golf swing. Rather you should stay down on the golf ball.

For more information on how to correct these mistakes, read this article

Final Verdict

Golf handicap is a measure of a golfer’s potential that is used in tournaments to allow players of varying abilities to compete against one another. The lower the handicap is the better the player.

You should always aim for a low handicap score as this will help better your golf skills. If you are new to golf, try to achieve a handicap score of 20 or less as this is considered acceptable.

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