Your golf handicap is the tool to measure one golfer against another. It is routinely used to equalize the playing field when there is a mixture of skill levels playing against one another in a round of golf. The number from the calculation when considering how to calculate your golf handicap represents the number of strokes over par that each golfer shoots on average; golfers with an average of par are considered “scratch” players. A golfer with a handicap score of 18 is considered a “bogey” golfer. Essentially, the handicap is a number that reflects you potential score based on the layout, design and par of a golf course and based on the past ten or fifteen best scores.

The Course Rating

Each golf course in the United States is rated with both a course rating and a slope rating. The slope rating is discussed in the following paragraph. Courses are typically rated between 67 and 77 and represent the average good scores earned by scratch golfers on this particular golf course.

The Slope Rating

The United States Golf Association indicates that the slope rating for a particular course is the relative measurement of difficulty for a bogey golfer in comparison to the course rating. This figure is different for every golf course and is figured by determining the difference between the course rating and the bogey golfer. The lowest recognized slope rating is 55 while the highest slope rating is 155, with an average of 113.

Gathering Information For Calculation

The first step in determining your golf handicap is to play five rounds of golf on an 18-hole golf course. Or, you can just take the scores you earned on your last five rounds. Next, review the scorecards from the rounds to find out the rating and the slope for each of the five rounds completed. This is important because each golf course is different and while you may shoot consistently over par at one course, you may consistently shoot under par at another course.

First Calculation

Take the individual scores from each round and subtract the golf course’s rating. List these numbers separately. It is essential that you use the correct course rating for each calculation or your golf handicap calculation will not be correct.

Second Calculation

For each of the five numbers calculated in the first calculation and multiple by 113, the average slope rating for courses in the United States. This is the number that is universally used officially by the United States Golf Association to determine handicap ratings of golfers the world over.

Third Calculation

Now, take each of the five scores that were multiplied by 113 and divide them by the slope rating of the each of the corresponding golf courses.

Fourth Calculation

Choose the lowest of these five numbers and multiply it by 0.96, disregarding any decimals in the final number. Round up or down to whatever number is closer. This number is your golf handicap.

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