Everyone can use a little golf help

What is a golf handicap?

By Kris Hart

Did you know that around 90% of golfers do not have a handicap? Being an avid golfer who has held a handicap now for about 20 years, it amazes me that so many people that play the game of golf do not have one. This article provides some really simple and easy information on what a golf handicap is and why you may want to consider acquiring one.

Our Definition: A golf handicap is a number which provides an indication of your playing ability. Other organizations in golf define a handicap differently.
    • The USGA says, “The USGA Handicap System™ promotes equitable competition for all genders and ages by allowing players to compete fairly on any rated course”
    • The United States Golf Teachers Federation USGTF defines handicap as "a measure of his current ability over an entire round of golf, signified by a number. The lower the number, the better the golfer is." A handicap essentially signifies how many strokes above or below par a golfer should be able to play.
    • Wikipedia says “A golf handicap is a numerical measure of a golfer's potential that is used to enable players of varying abilities to compete against one another. Better players are those with the lowest handicaps."
What is a good or bad handicap number?: The lower the handicap number means the better the golfer. The higher the handicap number means the worse the golfer. For example: A 1-handicapper is a good golfer. A 40-handicapper is not nearly as good. Most golfers want to play the best golf they can and have the lowest handicap possible.

Why should I get a handicap?: Having a handicap allows a level playing field for you to compete and have fun on the golf course. Most tournaments use handicaps so everyone in the club can play together in the same event. When you are just starting out, having a handicap may not be important since you are just learning to hit the ball, but once you start to play with a group of friends, making sure everyone in your foursome has a handicap is important and makes the game
more fun and interesting. For example) If I am a 0 handicap and my friend is a 10 handicap, I would give my friend 10 shots off his or her score so we can have an even match. If I shoot a 70 and my friend shoots and 80 (minus 10), we tie. Even tough I won by 10 shots and am a better golfer, in our “match” we tied and it was a fun experience for both of us.

Don't Have a Handicap? >>Play in non-handicapped tournaments>> How do I get a handicap?: There are many options for getting a handicap, but this article about how to get a handicap gives you some good options, the costs associated with getting a handicap, and where to obtain one. If you have more questions about handicapping, you should contact your local state or regional golf association. Here is a list of all the golf associations in each state who can help you with handicapping questions.

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