How to Check My Handicap

By Libby Swope Wiersema
Have your golf scores on hand to calculate your handicap.
Have your golf scores on hand to calculate your handicap.

Official golf handicaps are issued through the United States Golf Association. First, golfers must submit scores through a USGA-licensed golf club, which typically uses a handicap computation service -- often via computer -- to determine your handicap index. To check your golf handicap, most golf courses offer an online database that players may log onto or post handicap charts on a bulletin board. You may also use the USGA formula to check your handicap yourself.

Collect your last 20 golf scores, or as many as you have, as well as the USGA slope and course ratings for the courses on which you played. This information should be available on your scorecards. If not, contact the golf course for the data.

Determine the handicap differential for each score by subtract the course rating from your score, and then multiply the difference by 113 — the USGA slope rating that indicates standard difficulty. Divide the answer by the course’s slope rating and round the number to the nearest tenth. If you have a score of 90, for example, and the course rating is 80.0 with a slope rating of 130, your handicap differential would be 8.7.

Select the lowest 10 differentials of your last 20 rounds. If you have fewer than 20 scores, follow the guidelines of the USGA handicap manual regarding the number of differentials you should select from your total scores. You must have at least five scores.

Average your lowest differentials by adding them together, and then dividing by the number of differentials you added.

Multiply the average of your differentials by 0.96 and delete all numbers after the tenths digit to get your handicap index. An average of 5.4, for example, would yield a handicap index of 5.1.

Consult the course's handicap conversion chart to convert your handicap index to your handicap for that course. If a chart is not available, you can convert it using this formula: Multiply your handicap index by the slope rating of the course you played and then dividing by 113. Round the resulting figure is rounded off to the nearest whole number (.5 or more is rounded upward).

About the Author

Libby Swope Wiersema is a veteran health care journalist and features editor for newspapers and magazines. She writes and edits health, fitness, nutrition and travel features for multiple media outlets.

Photo Credits

  • Kraig Scarbinsky/Photodisc/Getty Images
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