How do Golf Handicaps Work? A Detailed Guide | My Golf Saver

If you are a golf beginner and starting to take your rounds a little more seriously, it’s essential you have an understanding of golf handicaps and how they work. At first it can be a little confusing but the easiest way to think of it is, your handicap represents your score on the golf course based on previous performance i.e. a handicap of 10 means your average score is 10 shots over par. Understanding your handicap allows you to compare your performance to other players and give you an idea as to how good your opposition is. If you are going to play in a tournament then knowing your handicap is a must. 

Men and women typically begin golf with a handicap of either 28-36. By playing tournaments, and scoring less than 36 over the course Par, you will lower your handicap. In 2020 New handicap rules were introduced to calculate your handicap and these are still the ruling used today ( 

What Does your Handicap Mean?

In simplistic terms, the lower your handicap is – the more skilled you are.  For example if your handicap is 3, it would mean on average you are scoring 3 shots over par. The idea is that your handicap would reflect your average score rather than a standard head-to-head match up where you could simply of had a good or bad day. This is seen to be a much fairer way to approach things. 

What about if I’m Brand New to Golf?

If you are brand new to golf, then technically you won’t have a handicap as yet, you will need to get a few rounds under your belt. When you are ready to start calculating it, you should count your score over 18 holes. Ideally, this would be recorded on a score card – and also signed off by 2 other people to ensure that the scores are legitimate. 

Changes Made in 2020

There was a new calculation in 2020 created for handicaps. The new formula would be Handicap Index X (Slope rating/113) + (Course Rating-Par) whereas the old calculation was Handicap Index X Slope rating / 113.  The changes were made to ensure that players with different tees were accommodated. The good news is that there are some apps and programs that would help calculate your handicap for you (

Can I Improve my Handicap?

Of course! If you now know what your golf handicap is, and you want to improve it – there are a few tips that you can follow. Practising both your long game and short game will help improve your score and selecting the right equipment is essential.   

Hopefully you will now have a better idea as to what a handicap is, how it’s calculated and how to improve it!  If you want to be kept in the loop about the latest golf deals and discounts that could help improve your game, make sure you join My Golf Saver!