What Is A Good Golf Handicap And How Is It Calculated?

The word handicap in golf is used to numerically state the potential of a golfer. Good golfers are those whose handicaps are at the lowest. Over time, rules pertaining to golf handicaps have transitioned differently from one country to another. For this reason, a new system was introduced globally in 2020 to govern the rules of handicapping globally. It is known as World Handicap System (WHS) and was put in place by the two bodies governing sports activities. The R&A and USGA.

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The Purpose And Importance Of The Handicap

The purpose of handicaps is to give every golfer an equal and fair chance during a competition. This was created in an attempt to create a level ground to enable golfers to compete equally.

For an easier understanding of how the golf handicap system works, picture two golfers whose average score is 95 and 65, respectively. The golfer with a score of 95 has a higher winning chance than his competitor, with 65 points.

However, when this system is embraced, these two competing golfers have their winning chances equalized. This is because the lower scorer is offered the chance to minus strokes for certain holes in which he or she is playing. This creates a balance between the net scores of the two players whose playing abilities differ. The net score is calculated by removing the strokes that the weaker player could deduct from their actual score.

If you haven’t secured yourself a handicap yet and don’t know how to go about getting one, don’t worry about it. The easiest way to get a handicap as a new golfer is by first keeping your score in an 18-hole golf round. This is achievable by getting a golfing friend to play with you and putting their signature on your card when the round ends. A valid golfer’s card must have two signatures, one from you and the other from the person you are playing with.

According to the rules, you must participate in at least 10 rounds to be eligible for a handicap. After this stage, you emerge as a qualified golfer with a handicap index. It is a gradual process that requires patience and persistence.

The History Of The Golf Handicap

Golf handicaps date back to the 1600s. A diary written by a medical student who was also a golfer, Thomas Kincaid from Scotland, was found to have information about handicapping. During the time, this system was adopted to equalize the players’ skills whose levels were not even.

As golf became more popular in the early 1800s, golfers from Britain adopted mathematical procedures to calculate handicaps more accurately.

Bodies governing golfing and its rules started to crop up in a bid to develop more centered and elaborate procedures to determine scores and rules to be followed in the handicap system. Such bodies include the USGA, among others.

There arose differences in course ratings and handicapping probabilities portrayed by the different golfing bodies. Due to this, a universal body, World Handicap System, was created. A new global system was agreed upon by the different golfing bodies and handicapping authorities who came together in 2020 to settle these differences.

How To Calculate And Determine A Handicap In Golf

According to the rules of handicapping, a handicap index is calculated by first recording 20 scores from recently played games. The 8 best scores among the 20 scores are averaged. However, the score value can be adjusted if your submitted score is 7.0 strokes or if it is higher than the Handicap Index put in place during the time you played that round.

Calculating handicaps is multiplying the Handicap index by the Slope rating divided by 113. Add your Course Rating-Par to the answer you get from the first calculation.

After all, is said, you still have this question in your mind: what is a good handicap? According to USGA, a good handicap index is below 14 for male golfers and below 28 for female golfers. The smaller the number representing your handicap index – the smaller equals better. A handicap above 18 is said to be a poor handicap.

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What’s your handicap?

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