Golf Handicap History
Golf handicap began over 100 years ago and is still in operation today. It was originally known as a hands-on cap, involving three parties: the referee and two players. The name was changed to handicap in 1850.
A handicap is used to gauge your skill level based on your score compared to a course’s par round. Handicaps are used in tournaments of all sizes.
The lower your golf handicap, the more skilled you are. A player with a handicap of 5 means that the average of this player’s previous rounds was 5 over par. Handicaps are often used to judge how a player performed compared to their average level of play as opposed to a straight head-to-head matchup. Handicaps allow players to compete and win against more talented golfers based on how they each played that day.
For example, let us say you and a friend are going to play a 18-hole course with a par of 72. Your friend, with a golf handicap of six, is expected to play 78 strokes, or six over par. While you and your twelve handicap are expected to hit 84 strokes, 12 more over par. Your handicap, in short, is the number of strokes over par you should take in the course of the 18-hole round. In this scenario, let’s say you shoot a 82 and your friend shoots an 80. Technically, your friend shot the lower round, but because you incorporated handicaps (you are -2 and your friend is +2) you are actually the victor!
Calculating Your Golf Handicap
Now that you know what a golf handicap is and what it means, let’s talk about how to calculate yours.
There are two different types of golf handicaps: course handicap and tournament handicap.
Your course handicap is the number of strokes you will be playing above or below par for the round based on the course’s difficulty and your skill level. The course handicap is generally used to calculate your tournament handicap, which is the number of strokes you will be playing above or below par for the round based on the course’s difficulty and your skill level.
To calculate your course handicap, you will need to find your handicap index. The handicap index is the number that is used to calculate your course handicap. It is based on your previous rounds played and is updated after every new round you complete.
There are two ways to calculate your handicap index:
1) Use the USGA’s Handicap Index Calculator
2) Use the table below
The USGA’s Handicap Index Calculator
To use the USGA’s Handicap Index Calculator, you will need the following information:
- Your name
- Your gender
- Your date of birth
- The date of your last rounds played
- The course rating of the courses you played
- The slope rating of the courses you played
- Your score for each round playedWith this information, you can input your data into the USGA’s Handicap Index Calculator and it will output your handicap index.
If you do not want to use the USGA’s Handicap Index Calculator, you can find your handicap index using the instructions below.
First, find your course handicap using the table. To do this, find your handicap index in the left-hand column and then find the row with the number of rounds you have played in the top row. The number where your handicap index and the number of rounds played intersect is your course handicap.
For example, if your handicap index is 12 and you have played 5 rounds, your course handicap would be 16.
Next, find your tournament handicap using the table. To do this, find your course handicap in the left-hand column and then find the row with the number of holes you will be playing in the top row. The number where your course handicap and the number of holes intersect is your tournament handicap.
For example, if your course handicap is 16 and you will be playing 18 holes, your tournament handicap would be 18.
Changes to the 2020 Golf Handicap System
There have been changes to the golf handicap system for 2020. The biggest change is that the number of rounds needed to obtain a handicap has been reduced from 5 to 3.
This means that if you have played 3 rounds of golf, you can calculate your handicap index using the USGA’s Handicap Index Calculator or the table below.
The other change for 2020 is that you will now be able to post your 9-hole score to your handicap record. This score will be used to calculate your handicap index, but it will be listed as a separate score.
This is a change from the previous system where 9-hole scores were not used to calculate your handicap index.
Your golf handicap is a number that represents your ability as a golfer. It is used to compare your performances with other golfers. Your handicap is generally between zero and twenty-eight for men and between zero and thirty-six for women.
Your handicap is used to gauge your skill level based on your score compared to a course’s par round. Handicaps are used in tournaments large and small. From a scramble with friends to club championships.
To calculate your handicap index, you can use the USGA’s Handicap Index Calculator or the table below.
There have been changes to the golf handicap system for 2020. The biggest change is that the number of rounds needed to obtain a handicap has been reduced from 5 to 3. The other change for 2020 is that you will now be able to post your 9-hole score to your handicap record.