The United States Golf Association (USGA) introduced the handicapping system in the early 20th century aimed at allowing players of all skill levels to compete against one another. The handicap system was designed to allow a player who has trouble breaking the 90's to compete against professional golfers, such as Tiger Woods or Phil Mickelson. To do so, weaker players are granted strokes on tougher holes, as the less skilled player is allowed to take a stroke or more off of their score derived from his or her calculated handicap.

The USGA handicapping system was fitted in the 1980s with a new gadget: the "slope rating." The slope rating aimed to level the playing field by accounting for the relative difficulty of different courses. Thus, handicapping involves three numbers: your score, the course rating, and the slope rating.

Men's Lifestyles Golf Handicap Calculator 1Course Rating - The course rating is the average score the upper half of scratch golfers are expected to achieve. If your course rates a 73.1, and you put 100 scratch golfers and said "play," the top 50 should average 73.1.

Slope Rating - Slope rating represents the difficulty for bogey golfers, and can range from 55 to 155. 113 is about average. Bogey golfers face different challenges than scratch golfers, so these numbers may not always be proportional from course to course.

To compute a player's official USGA Handicap Index, a complex formula is used. The formula takes into account a player's recent scores, course ratings, and slope ratings. Players must have completed at least five rounds to compute a handicap index, and when more than 20 are provided, the best 10 of the last 20 are used.

Once a golfer has his handicap index, he can use that to determine his course handicap. These are not the same number - a golfer is given more strokes on a harder course than on an easier course. To compute your course handicap, you need only know your handicap index and the slope rating.

Note - Players must have completed at least five rounds to compute a handicap index, and when more than 20 are provided, the best 10 of the last 20 are used.

 

Men's Lifestyles Golf Handicap Calculator 2Step 1 -The first step is creating your rounds common differential. This is done by using just a few factors. We use the following factors in determining the round differential. Players must have completed at least five rounds to compute a handicap index, and when more than 20 are provided, the best 10 of the last 20 are used. 

Round Score - The round score is the total number of strokes take to complete the course.

Course Rating - The course rating is the average score the upper half of scratch golfers are expected to achieve. If your course rates a 73.1, and you put 100 scratch golfers and said "play," the top 50 should average 73.1. 

Slope Rating - Slope rating represents the difficulty for bogey golfers, and can range from 55 to 155. 113 is about average. Bogey golfers face different challenges than scratch golfers, so these numbers may not always be proportional from course to course.

This is the actual formula used to create each score differential.

(Your Score – Course Rating)    X   113 / Slope Rating   =   Score Differential

Score = 85 
Course Rating = 72 
Slope Rating = 123
The actual calculation would now look like this: 
(85 – 72)  X  113 / 123 = 11.94

 

Men's Lifestyles Golf Handicap Calculator 3Step 2 - The next step is to determine how many round differentials will be used in the golf handicap calculation. The minimum number of rounds is 5 and the maximum number is 20. This means you must have at lest 5 rounds of golf played to determine your handicap. When you reach over 20 rounds of golf played, then you will drop the oldest round each time you add a new round. Your golf handicap is determined by using your best 10 rounds of the last 20 rounds of golf you have played. You will always use your lowest scores when selecting which rounds are used.

 

 

 

Step 3 - The last step will produce your golf handicap. In our example we will use the number of rounds played as the maximum of 20. With 20 rounds played you will use your 10 best scores. First you will total your 10 best score differentials created in Step 1. Total the 10 best differentials and then divide by the number of rounds, 10. The last part of the calculation is to take the last calculation and multiply this number by .96 (96%) and keep 2 decimals with no rounding. This is your golf handicap.

Table Used to Determine the Number of Rounds to Use :

Rounds................Rounds To Use

5 & 6....................1 Lowest
7 & 8....................2 Lowest
9 & 10..................3 Lowest
11 & 12................4 Lowest
13 & 14................5 Lowest
15 & 16................6 Lowest
17........................7 Lowest
18........................8 Lowest
19........................9 Lowest
20......................10 Lowest

.
Tips To Remember

If you have more than five scores, you will need to use a slightly different calculation. If you have seven scores, average your two lowest differentials and then multiply by 0.96. If you have eight scores, you take your two lowest differentials and multiply by 0.96. If you have nine scores, average the three lowest differentials and multiply the result by 0.96 to get your handicap.
.
The above formula holds until you get to 20 scores. Once you have 20 or more scores, use the most recent 20 scores and average the 10 lowest differentials, multiplying the result by 0.96 to calculate your handicap
.
As you may have figured out from the above, recalculating your handicap every time you play can be time-consuming and annoying. There are several Web sites and software packages that will do the leg work for you.
.
This handicap calculation is only an estimate. Official United States Golf Association (USGA) handicaps can only be given out by authorized USGA clubs - no online services offer official USGA handicaps.
.