When playing golf, you might have had someone ask you what your golf handicap is. If you are a newer golf player, you might not know what a golf handicap is, and if you are a more experienced player, you might have heard of it, but you do not know what yours is. When this question is asked, you might be wondering what a good golf handicap is, or if will it change how you play golf.
A good golf handicap is a handicap that falls in the single digits of an 18-hole golf course. This means that a golfer is under or at par on the majority of holes they play. Moderate golf handicaps range from 10 to 20, while a poor handicap will be higher than 20.
Now that you have a better understanding of what numbers are considered good and bad in a golf handicap you may have a couple more questions. Here is some more information about golf handicaps as well as how having a good golf handicap can benefit you.
What is a Golf handicap?
The first thing that we should determine is what is a golf handicap. A golf handicap is a number that can be used as a stand-in for a golfer’s experience and playing ability. The goal of golf is to score below or match the number of strokes on each hole or “make par”. The result of shooting par is a score of 0.
Any holes where it takes more shots than those allotted for par will add 1 point for each additional stroke. Once you have played a round of golf and recorded your score, you can begin to determine your golf handicap.
The goal for golfers is to have their score by 0 or make par at each hole. However, the vast majority of golfers are unable to make par on every hole over the course of an entire match. These golfers will end up with a score that is higher than 0. An easy way to think about a golf handicap is that it is the difference between par and your actual score.
For someone whose score was 15 over par in their last golf round, they can be considered to have a 15 golf handicap. This means that in future games, this golfer will add 15 strokes from their score as their handicap. By doing this, golfers of a variety of talent levels can play together in matches, and casual golfers can keep track of how they are playing and whether they are improving or declining. With that in mind, here are some things to help you understand the difference between different types of golf handicaps.
Different Types of Golf handicaps
There are a couple of different types of handicaps you might encounter for golf. Depending on the golfer and the course, you will see each of these and might wonder what they are for.
The first type of golf handicaps is a little easier to understand. These handicaps are for golfers who are younger or older and may not be able to meet the normal par standards of a course. Younger golfers will not have the strength, especially on tee-offs in order to hit the ball far enough. Older golfers may experience this as well. When this happens, these golfers are generally given an adjusted handicap that notes that they will take extra strokes on each hole during the round. This allows golfers of a variety of ages to play together.
The other types of golf handicaps are based on the golfer’s skill level. These are what you would generally think of when people talk about golf handicaps. The idea behind this handicap is that as you become a better golfer, this handicap will fall until you play a round of golf without a handicap.
A high golf handicap indicates a player that is either new to the game or has significant things they need to improve in their play. For an 18-round game, a high handicap will start at 18 and go higher as necessary. A golfer who hits 18 over par is considered a “bogey golfer” and takes at least 1 extra hit per hole.
Once you shoot lower than 18 over par, you are considered to have a mid-handicap. 17 to 10 could be considered the range of this handicap, which includes players with a decent amount of experience but still does not make par on each hole. A low handicap is anything under 10. This indicates that a golfer has a lot of experience and almost meets par on each whole. A golfer with a handicap of 0 is considered to be a “scratch golfer”.
How to Calculate your golf handicap
When others ask you about your golf handicap you may have a rough idea of what it is, but may want to actually calculate what it is. There are two different ways to calculate a golf handicap.
The first way is the way that will be used for tournaments and more official records. To calculate your golf handicap this way, use this equation: Golf Handicap = (Your Score – Course Rating) * 113/ Slope Rating. The issue with this formula is that you may not know the course rating or slope rating of your golf course.
If you use a professional service like the one from the United States Golf Association, they keep records of the majority of courses in the US and can input these and calculate your handicap. If you plan on entering an amateur tournament where they use your golf handicap you will need to use one of these services in order to get a valid and trustworthy golf handicap.
The other way is a little simpler. To calculate this way, keep track of your last 20 matches on a golf course. Once you have these matches, take the lowest 5 and highest 5 scores off of the list. Add the remaining scores together and divide by 10. This number minus the par score for the course is your handicap.
For example, an 18-hole par 3 course will have a score of 54. If your 10 scores were 61, 70, 65, 64, 60, 72, 69, 68, 59, and 65, they would average out to a score of 65.3 or a handicap of 11.3 on this golf course.
The writers at Red Gate Golf thank you for visiting, and invite you to check out some of our more recent posts below: