Golf handicap explained
Imagine trying to beat Rory McIlroy or Tiger Woods in a round of golf? You would not go too well would you?
There’s a very good chance Rory and Tiger would embarrass you and shoot 20 shots lower depending on your skill level.
For most golfers this is a frightening prospect and enough to put fear into all of us.
Most golfers simply do not have the skill or talent to match ‘A’ or even ‘B’ grade players at our local golf club let alone the professionals.
The golf handicap system was introduced in 1911 in the United States of America and provides a method for golfers to play against each other on equal terms.
It divides golfers into different grades so they can compete fairly to determine a winner.
After getting my first golf handicap of 27 I was able to reduce it by using the instruction from the Perfect Impact System that eliminated my number 1 mishit.
This system really helped!
First understanding what par is
Most golf courses consist of 18 holes. Every hole is different in length, shape and consists of different hazards.
Each hole has what is called a ‘par’ for the hole. For example, a hole short in length of 140 metres (153-yards) would be classified a par 3.
This means to make a par you would be expected to get the ball into the hole in 3 shots.
The majority of 18 hole golf courses have a total par of around 72 strokes. Sometimes it’s slightly lower than this or even slighter higher. This is made up of par threes, fours and fives.
To shoot a par round you would be expected to play the golf course in 72 strokes or less.
This is of course if you have a handicap of zero or scratch … don’t worry I’ll explain what these terms mean in a bit.
What do the different handicaps mean?
Golf handicaps for men range from 0 – 36 in most parts of the world. Women’s golf handicaps are usually from 0 – 45 in most parts of the world.
The ‘0’ or scratch handicap is for highly skilled golfers that are able to play 18 holes in level par or sometimes lower.
This is the level required to become a top amateur and to progress onto a professional career.
The higher numbers from 18 – 36 is where most golfers fit into the golf handicap index.
What it means is you are expected to shoot 18 – 36 over par every time you play a round of golf. For example, an 18 handicapper playing a par 72 golf course is expected shoot a round of 90 i.e. 18 + 72 = 90.
In other words the golfer does not have to make par on any of the holes. They can be satisfied with a 4 on a par 3 as this is playing to handicap.
Every golf course around the world have what’s called ‘course ratings’ and it’s different for every golf course. Harder golf courses have a higher rating and easier courses have a lower rating.
For example: A difficult golf course with a par of 72 might have a course rating of 73. This means that a golfer with a handicap of 18 needs to shoot only 91 (73+18) to effectively play to his handicap and not 90 (72+18) due to the par of the course (72).
This may happen when conditions are tough, the wind is blowing, pins in difficult positions or perhaps the tee blocks are pushed right back for a club championship.
On the other side, some golf courses with shorter holes and wider fairways can often have an easier course rating.
For example: An easy golf course with a par of 72 might have a course rating of 70. This means that a golfer with a handicap of 18 needs to shoot 88 (70+18) to effectively play to his handicap and not 90 (72+18) due to the par of the course (72).
The good news you don’t have to worry about course ratings as this is worked out by the staff at the golf course you are playing.
This is all calculated in the computer and once you hand in your scorecards it’s automatically worked out for you.
Your job is to play your best and have fun and find the perfect golf swing for you!
Don't forget the slope rating
Another measuring tool that ties in with working out your golf handicap is the slope rating of the golf course.
Put simply, this is the rating given to a golf course that indicates how difficult the golf course is.
The highest slope rating is 155 and the lowest is 55. A golf course of average to normal playing level will be rated around 113.
Don't be too concerned about the slope rating as far as your handicap is concerned as every golf course will work this out for you using the slope formula.
If you're just starting out in golf with a handicap of 27 or higher, there's a good chance you're making one huge mistake in your golf swing.
I also made this mistake but took this FREE Golf Swing Test that identified and fixed it straight away.
How do I know what handicap I have and how do I get it?
To get a golf handicap is a simple process. When you join a golf club you are required to submit a minimum of 3 – 5 scorecards of recent rounds played. The golf club then works out an average score and calculates your handicap accordingly.
For example, on a par 72 golf course you submit 3 cards with scores of 90, 98 and 94. This is equivalent to 18 over, 26 over and 22 over par. Adding up all 3 score cards over par comes to 66 ÷ 3 (rounds) = 22.
You would then be given a handicap of 22 and be expected to shoot 94 or better when playing a golf course with a par of 72.
The golf handicap system is the fairest way of providing an equal playing field for golfers.
Make a goal to try and beat your handicap each and every round you play. You will enjoy the game more and your handicap will drop lower and lower.
Watch the video below to help you how to figure out your golf handicap.
Learn how to figure out your golf handicap with the advice above and enjoy playing this great game.
Remember to have fun on your golfing journey and your handicap will take care of itself.
They worked for me and you'll see a drop in your handicap instantly!
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