Calculating your golf handicap can be intimating! Don’t worry, I’ve researched the newest regulations by the World Handicap System and created this set-by-step guide.
Feel free to follow along! All you’ll need is your most recent golf scores and a calculator!
USGA Course Rating is an evaluation of the difficulty of a golf course for scratch golfers. The number is an estimate of the average scores of the best 50-percent of rounds played by scratch golfers at that course.
Slope rating (a term trademarked by the United States Golf Association) is a measurement of a golf course’s difficulty for bogey golfers relative to the course rating.
The number of strokes a first-class player usually requires for a particular hole or course.
Adjusted Gross Score
The adjusted gross score is a player’s gross score adjusted under USGA Handicap System procedures for unfinished holes, conceded strokes, holes not played or not played under the Rules of Golf, or Equitable Stroke Control.
The Adjusted Gross Score x 0.96
A Number used to represent your potential scoring ability. Always expressed as a number taken to one decimal place (e.g., 10.4).
Step 1: Get your Adjusted Total Score
Do you remember Tiger’s 10 on the 12th hole at Augusta? The truth is, that happens to everyone, especially if they play the 12th hole at Augusta!
According to the World Handicap System, the number of strokes you can pick up on any given hole is limited. Since Pros don’t play off a handicap, they have no maximum number of strokes on any given hole.
Used this Table for reference to calculate your Adjusted Scores
|Course Handicap||Maximum Score|
|Nine or less||Double bogey|
|40 and above||10|
Here an example of how you calculate your adjusted total score:
|Hole #||Par||Score||Adjusted Gross Score|
Step 2: Calculate your Handicap differential for each Score
The handicap differential will tell you how well you’ve played that round. It accounts for the course’s difficulty, the tee box you’ve played from, and your total adjusted score. Use this formula to calculate yours.
Handicap differential = (Adjusted Gross Score – Course Rating) x 113 / Slope Rating
For our model
|Round||Par||My Score||Adjusted Gross Score||Course Rating||Slope Rating||Handicap Differential|
In our example:
(98 – 71.1) x 113 / 122 = 24.9
Note: 113 is considered the average slope rating according to the USGA.
Step 3: Calculating the average of the smallest value from the differentials
Use the top 10 out of 20 handicap differentials. If you don’t have 20 scores, pick the lowest one on your list.
|Round #||Par||My Score||Adjusted Gross Score||Course Rating||Slope Rating||Handicap Differential|
- If you only have 10 scores available, use the lowest 3. If you have 15, use the lowest 6.
- Don’t round this number! Truncate it to the tenths (20.0813 becomes 20.0)
Step 4: Get your running average by multiplying that score by 96%
Almost done, hang in there! Determine the average of your net handicap differentials by multiplying them by 0.96.
In our example:
24.0 x 0.96 = 23.0
Finally! Calculate your course handicap
You made it! You can now calculate your course handicap. You will need it to calculate the number of strokes any given player receives on a particular course.
Here the formula for your course handicap:
Handicap Index x Slope Rating/113 + (Course Rating-Par)
In our example:
|Our Handicap Index||Course Slope Rating||Course Rating||Course Par|
23 x 122 / 113 + (71.1 – 72) = 25.8
What to do next
Golf handicaps allow you to play competitive matches with players of different skill levels. Use this and try some stroke-play, match-play, or scramble competitions with your friends!
Do you want to lower that handicap? Start by reading about our favorite swing tips.