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How to Calculate Your Golf Handicap

How to Calculate Your Golf Handicap

Golf is quickly rising in popularity in the United States. At the end of 2020, there were almost 25 million people across the country playing golf. 

Some of them probably looked like it was the first time they swung a golf club, while others looked like they have swung one all their life. If you have two people you know with much different skill levels in golf, how do you even the playing field? 

Well, you could take golf lessons to improve your game. Until that progress is made, you would need to use a golf handicap. 

What is a golf handicap? How do you figure out yours?  This is your guide. 

What Is a Golf Handicap? 

A golf handicap is the number of strokes that you would have to take away from your average score to keep up with a par "scratch" golfer, who has a handicap of zero.

Pars are designed to determine how many strokes a par golfer would take to hole a ball on each hole. With a golf handicap, this determines how many more strokes you need to do the same thing. 

This has an intimidating formula, but it is very simple once you break it down. The formula is: 

Course Handicap = [Handicap Index * (SR / 113)] + (CR- Par) 

We will go over each part of the formula below. 

Handicap Index 

The first part of the course handicap formula is the handicap index. How do you determine this? 

You need to keep track of your most recent rounds of gold. At a minimum, you need to have at least five 18-hole rounds of golf to compare. However, you can use ten rounds on 9-hole courses if you cannot meet the above requirement. 

The maximum amount of scores that you can use is your last 20 rounds. But if you have 20 different scores, you really want to just use your 8-10 best scores from those 20. 

So let's say that you shoot these scores in your 10 best games:

95, 100, 96, 94, 92, 98, 102, 106, 105, 104 

Here, that would mean that the average score that you shoot in 10 rounds was 100. That would be your handicap index and you could use this for the next part of the course handicap formula. 

Slope Rating 

The next part of the equation that you need to determine is the slope rating. How do you figure this out? 

Well, all over the world, golf courses can have a slope rating anywhere between 55 and 155. The number 113 is used as an average slope rating globally. 

However, some argue that should not be the average today, because it was implemented decades ago. Now, that average may be closer to 120. 

Nevertheless, 113 is used in this formula, and for this, you need to know the slope rating of the golf course that you are playing on. Slope ratings are used to measure the true difficulty of a golf course for a novice golfer. 

Here, you may see a rating of around 120 for most golf courses. 

Course Rating

The course rating is used to determine how a scratch golfer would do on an easier course and a more difficult course. It is rounded down to one decimal. 

For example, on an easier course, the average scratch golfer could shoot a 69.1 on the course. On a more difficult course, this golfer could shoot at 73.1. 

You need to take this into account for every course you play on because it will be different depending on what course you are playing on. Contact that golf course for more information on that. 

Calculating the Handicap 

Once you have all of the factors of the formula above figured out, it is time to calculate your course handicap. To do this, remember the numbers for each part of the formula. 

In the above examples, let's use 100 as the handicap index, 120 as the slope rating, 73.1 as the course rating, and 72 as the par. Here is what that would look like: 

Course Handicap = [100 * (120/113)] + (73.1-72) 

Here, you will get a result of 107.3. For handicapping purposes, you would round this down to the nearest whole number. With that in mind, the new result is 107. 

If 107 is the result after that, then that means that you have a handicap of about 35 strokes on that golf course. This is determined because the par on that course is 72. So, to match a scratch golfer, you would have to be given 35 strokes. 

Take Golf Lessons 

So, if you are not the best golfer but want to get better, one thing that you need to do is to practice. It is even better to practice with an experienced player or teacher in the game. 

This is why you should take golf lessons. An experienced person in this field can help you figure out what is wrong with your game and help you improve. 

They can teach you how to relax before you swing your golf club, adjust where you are looking before your shoot, change where you put your hands on your golf club, change where you position your feet, and more. 

Work on Your Golf Handicap 

This has been a brief summary of how to come up with a golf handicap calculation. Now, you know every step of how to determine your handicap and you can figure out your handicap for each golf course. 

As stated above, you may be a beginner that is still looking to get better at the game. Well, one of the fastest ways that you can do this is by taking golf lessons. 

Are you ready to get started? Request golf lessons from us today.