How to Compute Golf Handicaps

Written by vanessa padgalskas
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How to Compute Golf Handicaps
Golf swing (Golf image by Vanessa van Rensburg from

Golfers use a handicap, which measures the number of strokes over par a player shoots on average. For example, a golfer with a handicap of 2 would shoot a 72 on average on a golf course with a par of 70. This evens the playing field among golfers of varying ability levels.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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  1. 1

    Play at least five rounds of 18-hole golf and tally your score at the end of each round. You can play at a different golf course each time. You can use more than five rounds of golf to compute your handicap for a more accurate result.

  2. 2

    Subtract the golf course rating for each course from your total score at that course. A golf course rating conveys the difficulty of that course. This is an important step, because you will have a better score at an easier course than a difficult course. Ask someone in the club house for their course's rating.

  3. 3

    Multiply each result you get in Step 2 by 113, which is the number used to compute handicaps by the U.S. Golf Association.

  4. 4

    Divide your results from Step 3 by the course's slope rating. The slope is different than the course rating that you used in Step 2.

  5. 5

    Multiply the lowest of the five numbers from Step 4 by 0.96. Drop any numbers after the decimal. This final number is your golf handicap.

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