How to Determine Whether You Are a Low Handicap in Golf

By Robert Preston
A golfer's handicap is a measure of his or her skill level over a period of time.
A golfer's handicap is a measure of his or her skill level over a period of time.

Handicap is a system of determining the skill level of an individual golfer by comparing his results on a course with the relative difficulty of the course being played. Handicap is commonly used in amateur tournaments. It also can be used in casual competition between golfers of varying skill level to give each player an equal chance of winning. For example, the weaker player is "given" a set number of strokes based on the difference between each player's handicap. The lower a player's handicap, the higher her skill level.

Finding a Handicap Score for a Round

Locate the Slope and Course Rating on the scorecard. They should be clearly labeled and likely will be located near the total par score on the card.

Subtract the course rating from the score you shot.

Multiply the resulting number by 113, considered the average slope rating for a golf course.

Divide the resulting number by the slope.

Record the resulting value as the handicap score for that round.

Calculating Overall Handicap

Gather up to 20 recent scorecards from various courses, but at least five scorecards.

Calculate the handicap score of each card. To make it easier to update your handicap as you play more rounds, order the scores by date with the oldest first. When calculating an updated handicap, factor in the most recent scorecards and drop the corresponding number of oldest scorecards.

Determine the number of scores to factor in. If you have 20 handicapped scorecards, select the 10 best scores; for 19 cards, use the best nine scores; 18 cards, use the best eight; 17 cards, use the best seven; 15 or 16 cards, use the best six; 13 or 14, use the best five; 11 or 12, use the best four; nine or 10, use the best three; seven or eight, use the best two; five or six, use only the best score.

Add the handicap scores for all cards to be counted as determined in Step 3 and record the result.

Divide the result by the number of scorecards counted. This result is your handicap score.

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