Golf Handicap: How To Calculate Your Score

Lakewood Country Club Hole #3.

Lakewood Country Club Hole #3.


There is a certain three-word question that gets asked in the golf community often. Care to guess? How about, What’s your handicap? It’s an inquiry that often provokes boastful, embellished, and embarrassed responses. So when you finally get a new friend to tee off with you at your local golf course, it shouldn’t be a surprise when he or she wants to know their handicap. And in the event that you have had a Roger Clemens moment and “misremembered” how to calculate a handicap, we’ve got you covered here.

Handicap Differential

Handicap score calculation.

(Score – Course Rating) x 113 / Slope Rating

The first step to finding out your handicap starts with getting some rounds in and collecting data from those performances. Generally, a range of 5-20 of your most current rounds will suffice as enough reps to accurately calculate your handicap. You will need to find the course rating and slope of the golf property you played on. Subtract the course rating from your score and multiple by 113. Divide the product by the slope listed on your scorecard (115 in the example) to obtain your handicap differential.

The reason why course rating and slope have a major role with the handicap differential calculation is because both figures indicate course difficulty. For example, let’s say that Arnold and Jack averaged 100 strokes over 18 holes, but Jack played a more difficult course than Arnold. As an alternative to using averaged scores to determine the handicap index, distinct skill level is factored into the comparisons. Thus, Jack would be more skilled than Arnold on the average golf course.


Six Round Sample

Number of Rounds Differential Calculation
5-10 Lowest Differential x .96
11-19 Average Lowest 3-5 Differentials x .96
20 Average Lowest 10 Differentials x .96

Complete this calculation for each of your rounds played. In our sample, we used calculations for six rounds. Next, multiply the lowest differential by .96. You are now finally able to respond to your golfing chums when they ask about your handicap. In the event that you have a less than impressive handicap, just remember that the most impressive feat in the realm of golf handicaps is the ability to calculate your handicap correctly!

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