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How to Use a Golf Handicap Calculator

Golf. It is a sport that has more and more people participating in the United States, and it dates back at least 150 years. 

Right now, there are over 25 million people that play golf. These 25 million people can be anyone from kids to adults.

Those people also really vary in skill level. Some can shoot a score under 75 on almost any course, while others may consider it a great day if they can shoot below 105. 

One thing that can greatly balance scratch golfers and amateur golfers alike is a golf handicap calculator. A golf handicap can take off a certain number of strokes from the weaker player's game to get them more on park with somebody that may be a scratch golfer (they shoot around par). 

While the golf handicap formula is not as easy as subtracting your score from the course's par, it is not difficult either once you break the formula down. 

So, how do you figure out your golf handicap? This is your step-by-step guide. 

Golf Handicap Variables 

Before you can start using the actual formula, you need to know all of the variables that go into that formula. There are three different variables that you need to be aware of to get an accurate golf handicap. 

Adjusted Gross Score

Simply put, this is the score that you would have after a round of golf. This is as simple as keeping track of how many strokes it takes you on each hole and then adding up the total number of strokes after 18 holes. If you are mainly a 9-hole course golfer, then multiply your total score by two. 

Course Rating 

With this, you basically need to know what the average scratch golfer is expected to get on a certain golf course

It is mainly around the posted par score for each hole and then the total par scores of those holes.

However, this can vary sometimes depending on the obstacles and hazards that are on a course. More obstacles can add a few strokes to the course rating, while limited hazards can take away strokes from the rating. 

Slope Rating 

While the course rating is around the average score that a scratch golfer will get, the slope rating is the opposite. Basically, this score is used to measure how difficult the course is for an average golfer. 

This rating tries to consider a wider skill range for golfers. However, it is typically the most accurate for someone that averages a bogey or a double bogey in their golf score. 

Golf Handicap Calculator

Now that you understand what variables go into calculating a golf handicap, you are ready to see the formula in action. This formula is generally done in three steps. 

Score Differential 

The first thing you need to calculate to come up with your golf handicap is your score differential. 

The number that you will need is your adjusted gross score minus the course rating. Then, you will multiply that total by 113 because that is about the average slope rating across the world used for these formulas. Once you come up with that number, you then will divide that by your course's slope rating. 

So, let's say for example, that your adjusted gross score is 110 and the course rating is 70. You would then subtract those two numbers then multiply the difference by 113. 

In this example, we will use 115 as the slope rating. So, you would divide the above total by 115 to get your score differential. Here is a better visual example of it: 

(110-70) x 113 / 120 

40 x 113 / 120 

4,520 / 115 = 39.3

So, with the above numbers, your score differential would be 39.3 because you have to narrow it down to the nearest tenth.  

Average Score Differential 

Next, you will need to figure out what your average score differential is. This is generally used from your last 20 rounds of golf. From there, you would take your 10 lowest score differentials and add them up. Then, you would divide that total by 10. 

However, if you have fewer rounds of golf under your belt, then you would just take it from a smaller sample size. 

In this example, let's say you have 10 rounds of golf that you can take into this equation. You would have to go with your three lowest score differentials, add those up, and then divide the total by three. 

Here is an example using the thee lowest score differentials: 

39.3, 38.8, 38.9 

The total number there would be. So, 117 / 3 would give you an average score differential of 39. 

Handicap Index 

Finally, you just have to multiply your average score differential by .96. The reason you do so is that that number is used to cover anomalies such as an exceptionally great round or an exceptionally bad round. 

Using the above average score differential, you would multiply 39 by .96. 

39 x .96 = 37.44 (37.4) 

Just like above, you need to take away any number until you get to the nearest tenth. You do not use your normal math rules here when it comes to rounding up. You are supposed to leave the nearest tenth number as is.

Following the rules above, the handicap index here would be 37.4. That means that a golfer with this handicap can subtract about 37 strokes from their next total score if they are playing a handicap round of golf. 

Find Ways to Lower Your Handicap 

The above is a basic explanation of how to use a golf handicap calculator. However, if you are not satisfied with your handicap, there are ways of improving it. One way to do this is to take time to practice and take some golf lessons to work on your game. 

Do you want to lower your handicap in golf? Sign up for golf lessons to improve your game.