Golf Handicap Calculate

The Definitive Guide on How to Improve Your Golf Handicap

In the simplest terms, a golf handicap is a number that shows a golfer’s lack of ability. It’s a way for non-professional golfers to play against each other on somewhat more equal terms. The higher the handicap number, the less skilled the player is.

So when a player with a high handicap plays against someone with a lower handicap (meaning they are better skilled), the lower handicap player gives a certain amount of strokes to the higher handicap player in order to help level the playing field.

There are different rules about using and calculating golf handicaps in different countries so if you do any international travel and plan to golf, be prepared for some differences. The system we will talk about here is that used in the United States.

Man Calculating Golf Handicap

You can often get an official handicap score from a club if you are a member but you can also calculate your own.

Improving your golf handicap means lowering the number which requires dedication, practice, and training in the proper golf swing fundamentals.

In this guide, we will define what is a handicap in golf and then show you how to calculate your own golf handicap and how to improve that score through practice and training to improve your skills.

What Is a Golf Handicap and Why Use It

The main point of the golf handicap system is to make the game more enjoyable for players. If two people of very different skill levels are playing against each other, it’s not as fun for either one.

The person with the lower skill tends to feel way behind and like they don’t stand a chance while the person with a higher skill doesn’t feel like the game is particularly challenging. The score helps both by giving the lower skilled player a bit of boost.

The score is perfect for casual games among friends and colleagues. It’s not used in professional matches since these are much more official competitions where all players are highly skilled.

There are actually two parts of your score. The first is the golf handicap index and the second is your course handicap. The index is a more general score that can be applied no matter what course you are on or which tees you play.

The course handicap is a specific score that depends on the course you are on and the tees you are playing.

How to Calculate Golf Handicap

There are golf handicap calculators available for free online that calculate golf handicap for you if you prefer to skip the math but following the formula and calculating yourself is not difficult and it allows you to more clearly see what goes into it.

Holding and Calculating Golf Handicap Paper

By using the following golf handicap formula, you can figure out what your handicap is right now and start working to improve it. Keep track of your handicap is a great way to track your improvement even if you don’t plan on actually using the handicap in matches.

  • Get between 5 and 20 of your most recent 18 hole scores (or 10 to 40 of your most recent 9 hole scores). The closer to 20 (or 40), the more accurate your handicap will be.
  • Calculate your adjusted gross score (AGS) by adding the number of strokes from a game and subtracting the maximum per-hole score (this is usually freely available at most golf courses).In other words, if a hole’s maximum score is 6 and it took you 7 strokes, you would subtract 1 stroke from your score to have a total of 6 strokes for that hole.
  • Determine the course ratings (CR) and the slope ratings (SR) of the courses you played on for each score. This can usually be found on the course’s website or by simply asking the personnel who work there.
  • Now, use this formula to calculate your handicap index: (AGS – CR) x 113 / SR.
    1. In other words: subtract the course rating from your adjusted gross score.
    2. Multiply that number by 113.
    3. Divide that by the slope rating.
  • The result of this formula is your handicap differential.

Here is an example. Let’s say one of your adjusted gross score is 93. The course rating for the course you played on is 69.3 and the slope rating is 116. So, the formula is:

(93 – 69.3) x 113 / 116 which would mean your handicap differential is 23.1 for that course.

Repeat this for each golf score. Once you have your handicap differential for each score, you can calculate your handicap index.

Simply add your differentials together, divide that by the total number of differentials and multiply it by 0.96. This index can be used to figure out your specific course handicap on any course.

The course handicap formula is just your handicap index multiplied by the course’s slope rating divided by 113. As you can see, it’s fairly basic arithmetic but it can be a little tedious so that’s why golf handicap calculators exist!

If you’ve done all these calculations, you are probably now wondering what this number means relative to other golfers. According to recent data, the average golf handicap for men is 14.3 and for women, it’s 26.5.

Two Old Men Practicing Golf

So if your number is higher than that, you are below average. If it’s lower than that, congratulations, you are above average! Either way, there’s no harm in trying to improve your handicap.

Golf Practice at Home and on the Course

The key to lowering your golf handicap is practice, practice, and a lot more practice. It’s one thing to know what a proper golf swing looks like, it’s another to be able to do it smoothly and consistently every single time.

To practice effectively, you need to use golf practice drills that target the specific areas you need to work on most. You can also make your golf practice more effective by use special training equipment like golf practice nets, home golf simulators, practice golf balls, and golf practice mats.

Ulti Mat from Optishot

If you are wondering how to practice golf at home, many of these drills and the equipment are suitable for home use. In fact, some are even specifically designed to be used at home. So you don’t need to go out to the course each time you want to get a good practice session in.

Golf Drills

To effectively improve your swing—and, by extension, your golf handicap—you will want to use a set of golf drills that help you focus on each specific aspect of your swing. By using a series of drills, you can fine tune and perfect your swing piece by piece.

  • Golf Release Drill: a bad release prevents you from getting the full potential power out of your swing. Try using a hockey stick to practice going through the motions of your swing. The larger size allows you to more easily see how your release. Check for a twist in the end of the hockey stick (where the toe of your clubhead would be).
  • Another simple technique that you can do anywhere is to simply hold your left hand out where it would be if you were holding the iron. Then lift your right hand up as if you were raising the club and bring it back down to smack against your left hand, twisting your left arm up to face the palm to the sky as you do so. Practice this over and over and then imagine this movement as you actually swing the club. Your right hand should be putting the power into the downswing while your left hand twists and guides it for a well-timed release.
  • Golf Towel Drill: to work on your body rotation and keeping your arms in proper position, you can use a simple bath towel to improve your technique. There are two great ways to use a towel for golf drills:
  • Roll up the towel and place it across your chest. Hold it down with your arms. While swinging the iron, don’t let the towel slip from your arms. This will limit your arm movement so that you are forced to get your body rotating properly.

Woman Practice Golf Swing

  • Roll up the towel and place it a couple inches away from the ball (on the opposite side of wear you are standing. As you swing, focus on not touching the towel at all with your club. If you touch the towel, adjust your swing.
  • Golf Aim Drill: make a golf “gateway” by standing two tour sticks (or poles) about 6 to 12 inches apart. Start at 12 inches and narrow the gap as you improve. Stand about 10 feet away from the poles and practice hitting the ball through the “gateway.” Don’t just settle for getting it through the gateway, aim for as dead center between the tour sticks as possible. The more consistently you shoot through the center, the more consistent your aim will be on the course.

Golf Practice Equipment

To make your drills even more effective, consider using some of these tools that give you more versatility and, in some cases, more real time data to better analyze how you are doing and where you need to focus on improving.

  • Golf practice net: practice nets are an affordable way to make it possible to practice your swing at home. They are best for outdoor use but can feasibly be used indoors as well. Golf practice nets allow you to swing and actually hit a golf ball without it flying off into the sunset. There are many different kinds on the market so check through some reviews and decide which one suits your needs best.

Golf Net from Rukket

  • Indoor golf simulator: golf simulators are more than just video game simulations of golf. These are high tech devices that allow you to actually swing properly and track your swing for real golf swing analysis. These are perfect for practicing at home and maintaining your game even during off seasons. The prices range from affordable to outlandish so to find the best golf simulator for the money, you’ll want to check through some golf simulator reviews on our site as well as other golfing sites. One of our favorites that just might be the best golf simulator is this Optishot simulator mat.
  • Practice golf balls: a skilled golfer needs quality golf balls. But you also don’t want to invest in expensive golf balls that you lose before you even get a chance to use them on the course. Using a training set complete with practice golf balls will let you practice as much as you need without worrying about losing quality golf balls.
  • Golf practice mats: practice mats offer a realistic fairway surface that you can strike so that your training with a surface that is as close to the real thing as possible without actually being on the course. They can be combined with golf swing analyzers and nets to create a complete home golf practice set up so your game doesn’t suffer when you are kept away from the course for extended periods.

Using this information and investing in the practice equipment that you find to be most useful for your needs, you’ll be able to steadily whittle your golf handicap down further and further.

Three Men Leaving Golf Terrain

Craft a golf practice routine that suits your schedule and your skills. Then, stick to it. If you don’t keep working at it, you won’t see any improvement but the longer you commit to that routine, the more you’ll be able to enjoy watching your golf handicap shrink to a smaller number.