A primary component of playing golf is comprehending how golf handicap works. By fully understanding this system, you will better understand your golf level, how to calculate it, and your standing among other golfers.
If you do not understand this important aspect of golf, you may find you lose every time you play with other golfers. Only 20% of all golfers have a legitimate handicap, meaning many others may be taking advantage of the golf handicap system. So, what is golf handicap?
The United States Golf Association invented this handicap system to make the playing field equal for all golfers. The system calculates the rating of golf scores against specific criteria. As a result, the calculation gives you a numerical measure of a golfer’s playing ability. This system provides a precise and easy to understand guide of a golfer’s playing ability and level.
Using an esoteric system of ‘slope’ and ‘course rating’, golf handicap calculations accurately compute the golfer’s ability in the game. Beginning golfers find it hard to comprehend the difficulty of a hole, what the index is, and the expected score for a hole. By using an accurate golf handicap, they can find the exact expected score for any hole and the entire round in total.
How it works
If you have never been to a golf course, you do not need to worry about applying the handicap system. When you want to test yourself in a real golf course, the golf handicap system comes into play. Usually, a new golfer will begin playing from the maximum golf handicap.
Currently, the maximum golf handicap for a male golfer under the USGA system is 36.4 while for a female golfer is 40.4. However, there are rumors of an introduction of a new handicap system called the world handicap system, due to the emergence of several different handicap bodies like the R&A. Upon implementation of the new handicap system, the maximum golf handicap will be 54.0 for both male and female golfers.
Therefore, once you start playing the game in a golf course, you begin by keeping track of your score. Get a companion to play with you in a round of 18 holes and ensure you both keep score. At the end of the game, sign each other’s card to validate them.
You need to play a minimum of ten rounds to be eligible for a handicap. At first, your handicap will increase drastically as a new golfer, but afterward, the improvement may continue at a much slower pace.
Calculating the golf handicap
Your handicap is 96% of the average of the best ten of your previous twenty scores. After playing a complete game, give your card to the course where you usually play. Often, clubs and public facilities have computers which once your scores are fed in, it automatically calculates and updates your handicap.
The lower your handicap, the better off you are as a golfer. Therefore, if your handicap reads at 6 and your opponent’s is 10, you are a better golfer than he is. The USGA provides an average handicap ranges between 13-15. Once your handicap is in this range, your golfing ability is equivalent to a bogey golfer.
Manually calculating a golf handicap entails the use of the formula:
(Score – Course Rating (often being 72.9 for most golf courses)) x 113 (this is the average slope rating of a golf course)/ Slope Rating (an average of 113 for most courses) = x
The resulting number is known as the handicap differential. It is vital to include an average of at least five differentials and a maximum of twenty for accurate results. When using five differentials, it is ideal to use the lowest result for the final calculation.
The final calculation entails multiplying your differential with 0.96 to give you a handicap index. Luckily, there are pre-made golf handicap calculators to figure out your handicap index using your slope ratings, scores, and course ratings.
As a new golfer, it is essential to play among other golfers of your own ability at first to aid in boosting your confidence on the golf course. Once you get the hang of it, challenge yourself by playing with other golfers with more experience for tips and better playing strategies.
Now that you understand how golf handicap works, you can safely travel to other golf courses and use your regular handicap. The handicap is more like the sport. A good handicap is said to be below 10, meaning a golfer with a handicap of 10 shoots about 82 for 18-holes. Now that you have this information, it is time to tee it up and begin your golfing adventure by challenging the pros in the consistent golf community.