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What it is:
Your handicap is a number that tells other players how well you play the game of Golf, the lower, the better.

What it does:
The Handicap System is a system that allows 2 or more players with different playing abilities to play together competitively and have it be a legitimate match. Here's an example.

I'm a 10 handicapper and you are a 20 handicapper. I, being the lower handicapper, owe you 10 strokes over the course of 18 holes. Question is, on which holes? On every card there is a row of numbers that really don't make sense, that's the HDCP or Handicap row.

The numbers are from 1 to 18 which indicate the difficulty of the hole, 1 being the hardest and 18 being the easiest. If I owe you 10 strokes, a stroke on the 10 hardest holes, the numbers 1 through 10 would be circled and on each one of those holes you get a stroke. We play the hole and at the end you take a stroke off, you shoot a 5, write down a 4.

The basic rule in getting your handicap is you take your 10 lowest differentials from your last 20 games.

First lets start by understanding what a DIFFERENTIAL is. The differential is the number you get when you subtract your score by the RATING of the course and not the PAR of the course.

Score - rating = differential

The reason is, the rating is a number that represents the difficulty of the course. The lower it is the easier the course, it could be a par 72 but there are very few hazards, bunkers etc, par 72, rating 70. The higher the rating the more difficult the course, par 72, rating 74. So if you can maintain your play on a higher rated course your handicap will come down faster.

Now what if you don't have 20 games played / 20 differentials to choose from, now what? This is a chart that's been around for decades.

Score Differentials Available (games)56/78/910/1112/1314/1516/17181920
Differentials to be used (lowest)12345678910

This is how it works. If you had 10 or 11 games played/differentials available, you would take the 4 lowest differentials, add them up then multiply by 10. Divide by the number of differentials added for the average of the differentials used, then take that result and find it on a chart. Next to that would be your handicap. Let's just assume that all 4 differentials are 10.

(Added differentials) 40 x 10 = 400 (by number of differentials added) 4 = 100 (Number to be located on chart to find handicap). On the old chart that number falls between 99.0 & 109.3 which equals a 10 handicap.

Things have changed a little since then.

As well as turf management and everything that comes with it, what really has changed are the cutting machines. Due to the mowers being so good, the course rating is not the only thing we have to consider, we now have a green rating too, also known as The SLOPE.

With that said, here is the new formula to get your differential:
Score - rating x (113 set number) slope = differential

This is the formula to get your handicap and no chart is required. Same rule applies, take the 10 lowest differentials from your last 20 games or follow the chart above if you have less than 20 games played. Here is what it would look like if you only had 8 or 9 games played/differentials available.

Add your 3 lowest differentials 3 for the average then x .96 = handicap

All 3 differentials are 10.
30 3 x .96 = 9.6

Same rule applies for any round of golf you have and want to know what your handicap is...

score - rating X .96

It's the same as before except you multiply by .96 and not 10. Add the number of lowest differentials by number of differentials added for the average or your score then x by .96 = handicap. It would seem that your handicap is 9.

THE HANDICAP, what it is, what it allows you to do and how you get it.

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