If you’re familiar with the game of golf, then you know a golf handicap can be your friend, especially when you are competing against a more skilled opponent. But the gold handicap system can be a confusing one.
The purpose of a golf handicap is to make a more even playing field for golfers who have different ability and skill levels. Then these golfers can enjoy a more fair competition. For example, if you are not using a golf handicap, it wouldn’t be a very enjoyable game for a golfer who normally scores 93 to play a golfer who normally scores 75. A handicap can make things more even and therefore more enjoyable for all players.
When using a golf handicap, the weaker player, or the one who normally has a higher score, is given strokes on certain holes. This means that on certain holes, that player can "take a stroke," or deduct a stroke from their total. In this way, using a handicap can bring the scores closer and make the game more of a competition.
A golf handicap is figured out using a complicated formula that takes into account course rating, slope rating, and adjusted gross score, which is the score taking into account the handicap. Course rating is the average score of the best 50 rounds played by scratch golfers, which are golfers that generally score par. Slope rating represents the relative difficulty of a course. These are complicated numbers to figure, so you can see why most golfers do not figure out their golf handicap on their own.
A golfer can get their golf handicap index by joining clubs that are authorized to issue them. A golf handicap index is calculated using a golfer’s 10 best rounds of his or her most recent 20 rounds. Once the golf handicap index is issued, a golfer can use that to determine his or her course handicap, which is what tells a golfer how many strokes they are allowed on a given course. Most golf courses will have charts golfers can use to determine their course handicap.
For most people, using a golf handicap makes the game more fun and competitive. Since the average weekend golfer usually plays with friends, quite often the golfers will have different ability levels. Using a golf handicap can make up for that and make the game more competitive for everyone.