Handicaps are what most golfers use to rank themselves, their skill, and their competitors. Most handicaps refer to the United States Golf Association handicap system. More than just a number, what are the components that make up a handicap? How can you improve your handicap? What are the common misconceptions about handicaps? We’ve put together a simple guide to answer all your questions.
Defining a Handicap Index
A USGA Handicap Index is calculated by a local golf club based on the golfer's most recent scores, using at least five 18-hole scores and no more than 20 scores.
The Handicap Formula = Average Score Golfer Has Achieved (adjusted for the difficulty of the course) X 0.96
Golfers can submit their scores at the end of each round to their home course or golf tracking apps. There’s two options to determine your handicap, you can go the traditional or online route.
Having an official handicap through USGA is best for golfers who intended on competing in tournaments. This is the easiest easy to get an official handicap in the traditional format. This handicap typically allows you to play in local club events, state golf association events, and USGA events
With today's fast paced technology, there are a number of websites and apps that can help calculate your handicap. Most apps are free of charge for a small fee for users. Most of the online handicap services also offer other features that include fast access, stat tracking, analytics, and GPS course services.
Misconceptions About the Handicap Index
One of the most common misconceptions about handicaps is that the USGA calculates their handicap index. Although the USGA is the standard and provides validation to one's handicap, they do not calculate it. Instead, the USGA maintains the handicap Index calculation, it’s calculated by local golf associations. The USGA is just there to license and provide support to local golf associations.
How To Lower Your Handicap
Here are some valuable tips to help lower your handicap over the span of this next golf season
Your handicap does not define you but is a great way to track your progress. For more tips to improve your Handicap check out our on-course and off-course instructional series.