If you’re a novice golfer, competing with those who have played longer or are more skilled can be daunting.
Making group rounds competitive can also be difficult if you’re with people of very different ages. If you’re just counting shots, your 10-year-old niece and 80-year-old grandfather may not fare well against her 30-year-old cousin who is a competitive golfer.
Using a handicap system allows golfers of varying abilities to play competitively despite their skill gap, according to the World Handicap System. Every golfer has a unique handicap index that is easy to calculate and changes as you improve.
How to calculate your golf handicap
The World Handicap System was implemented in 2020 with the aim of unifying the six pre-existing handicap systems around the world. As of July 2022, 119 countries use the system.
Once you have a personal handicap index, you can set your own par for any given field. According to Golf Ascending, you can follow these two steps to calculate yours:
Find the top eight of your 20 most recent scores.
Take the average score of these eight rounds by adding the scores together and then dividing that number by eight.
On an average golf course, this is the number of strokes you should add to the par for the course, although there is a more complex calculation to adjust your handicap for each unique course you play.
It is important to note that this index is a moving metric. Be sure to record your score each time you play and update your handicap index as you record new scores that are in your top eight or scores in your top eight are no longer in your most recent 20 rounds.
To get an official handicap rating, you’ll need to join a golf association, says Golf Ascending. If you are part of a golf club, you can contact the professional to start the process or you can join an Allied Golf Association. The USGA, which writes and interprets the rules of golf in the United States, has a list of handicap rules on their site.
Whether you have an official handicap index or maintain one of your own, you can apply this metric to any golf course to calculate your handicap for that course.
How much do NFL referees earn?: Referee salaries, pathways to refereeing and female referees.
Honoring the greats: The Golf Hall of Fame will return to Pinehurst at a new site
Just curious?: We try to answer some of life’s everyday questions.
How to calculate a golf handicap for any course
According to Golf Ascending, you can use this simple equation to calculate your handicap for any course:
Course handicap = [Handicap Index * (SR / 113)] + (CR-Pair)
“SR” stands for slope rating, a value given to a course to account for hills and other changes in elevation that can affect the distance and accuracy of your shots. Divide this value by 113, the average slope rating for a golf course. This number must be visible on your scorecard or posted at the start of the course you are playing.
According to the Southern California Golf Association, “CR” stands for Course Rating, which is a numerical value designed to represent the difficulty of a course for a beginning golfer, a skilled player who has a handicap rating of zero. This number should also be on your scorecard or otherwise posted for all to see.
Celebrity golf handicaps
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: How to Calculate Your Golf Handicap: The Guidelines for Your Handicap Index