Last Updated: September 15, 2022

A good golf handicap is subjective despite the strict rules of the sport. If you’ve been playing golf for a while now and you paid attention to each round, you may already have an idea of your handicap. But for beginners, knowing your handicap can help you use it to your advantage. So, how do you determine your handicap and why should you become familiar with this area in golf?

Golf may not be the only sport, but rather one of the few, in which beginners or amateurs can play and compete with higher skilled golfers while having a fair result. The rules and guidelines may be complex but they are applied equally and consistently to every player. Handicaps originated in Scotland and Thomas Kincaid was the first person to ever record them.

What is a Good Golf Handicap? How to use it for Your Advantage

Picture Credit Golf Monthly

What Is A Golf Handicap?

Before anything else, let’s define golf handicap. The World Handicap System (WHS) was established to provide every golfer of any level with an equal opportunity to play in a fair position. The United States Golf Association (USGA) has given detailed information on the WHS. When it comes to the basics, post or record your scores in order to establish your golf handicap.

RELATED: Golf Handicaps Explained [Low vs Mid vs High]

You can record or post your scores after playing 18-hole or 9-hole. Once your scores are posted, you can get your official golf handicap. Remember that the lower handicap you have, the better you are as a golfer. For instance, if you can shoot 90 on a par-72 course, your handicap is around 18. This levels your playing field by defining the number of strokes you should give your buddy or opponent.

Given an 18 handicap, while your golf friend is a 9 handicap, your buddy should give you one stroke on the 9-hole or a total of 9 strokes in order to make the game a fair match. To achieve a good score, beginners should concentrate on breaking 100. While there are players with above 100 scores, the goal is to score under 100 to get a good golf score.

Speaking of golf scores, Rhein Gibson currently holds the Guinness World Record for shooting a 55 score. In other words, he has the best score in the history of golf, which happened in the River Oaks golf club, Oklahoma. This 6,700-yard course has par 71, where Gibson shockingly carded 12 birdies and 2 eagles to get the ultimate score of 55. Around 55% of golfers break 100 while playing multiple rounds at least once.

What Is A Good Golf Handicap?

Golf is not an easy game to play and it’s impossible for anyone to master this complex sport. In addition, each round is different and players will always have a challenging time swinging their clubs. However, this is the main reason why golf is exciting to play for a lot of people. Each game is a unique experience no matter how you stay consistent with your play.

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While not all golfers get an official handicap, some players are curious and want to adjust their handicap when using specific golf clubs. For beginners, getting a handicap can help improve skills and overall performance on the course. The handicap system gives players an even playing field regardless of their experience, abilities, and skills.

Put simply, a handicap refers to the numerical value given to a player based on his ability and recent past performances. This numerical value generally equals how many strokes over par you can make. As your skill increases, your handicap decreases; for instance, if you make lessor par on the course, you’ll have a zero or scratch handicap. However, this can be affected by different conditions of the course so your challenge varies depending on each particular environment.

Over the years, the handicap system has relatively evolved and is currently strictly regulated. Moreover, technology has also changed the management and instrumentation of handicaps. Still, it depends on your game and honesty; remember that cheating will never give you true victory and improvement. Keep your focus on delivering quality strokes to achieve a good golf handicap.

Now to answer the question of what a good golf handicap is, can be hard. Let’s say you are a 30-handicap, but then you might say that a 10-handicap feels like a good handicap. Therefore, it’s very subjective for every golfer. The typical handicap for male players is 16, while female players are usually 28. this should give you a good perspective on how worse or better you are compared to the average.

To give you a clearer view, if you say a good golf handicap is 10, you can shoot between 80 to 84 on par-72 courses. This kind of golfer has been playing for a few years already, giving him a good handicap. At this point, you should have an idea of whether you have a good golf handicap or not.

What is a Good Golf Handicap? How to use it for Your Advantage

Picture Credit Golf Digest

What Does Scratch Golfer Mean?

Previously, we have mentioned the scratch golfer so we are going to elaborate on this part. But before that, let’s understand what slope and course rating means first. The handicap system aims to level your playing field at various levels, but each course varies in difficulty. The slope and rating of courses should be considered in determining your handicap as each course have a certain rating based on difficulty.

Going back to the topic, a scratch golfer refers to a player who has zero handicaps. Obviously, this is an indication that scratch golfers are very good players on the course. In addition, this kind of golfer can easily get around the course under par or on par. If you want to become a scratch golfer, you will need years of effort, dedication, and practice.

Generally, it’s possible to become better than a scratch player or golfer with a zero handicap; that means you can achieve a +1 golf handicap. For instance, PGA seasoned golfers have +8 handicaps or within that range. Everyone who knows golf and plays it well will agree that it’s really a good handicap. To improve your game as a beginner, make sure to set your handicap goal in order to track your progress as you level up your skills.

How to Measure Your Handicap?

The calculation of golf handicaps can get complicated quickly. Many golfers use a phone app or third-party service in order to manage and measure their handicap. When using one of these certain apps, you simply need to enter your score, tees played, and the course. The app will calculate while it maintains your handicap.

RELATED: How to Calculate a Golf Handicap

You can get an idea of your handicap using a third-party app without the need to sign up for the service. While you’ll see your approximate handicap index, the data won’t include the necessary nuances to determine your handicap. In general, an official handicap takes into consideration other important details to calculate the difficulty of each course, tees, and other factors you play.

On the other hand, many golfers still don’t register for their official golf handicap. The thing about knowing your handicap is that it helps you measure your skills as well. If you’re looking to improve your skills and be good at it, you should have an official golf handicap. According to surveys, the average player has a 15 handicap and would score 90 on an average course.

What is a Good Golf Handicap? How to use it for Your Advantage

Moreover, you can also use the bogey golfer as a measurement for average golfers. This type of player scores a bogey when hitting most holes. A bogey golfer also scores over 90 while playing off a 20 handicap. More often than not, a true average is likely to be higher due to golfers not having an official golf handicap. Get your clubs and make sure to hit the course more often so that you can make some progress on all rounds.

It’s safe to say that average golfers range between 15 to 20 since it’s only possible to work with what can be measured. Having said that, golfers that fall under 15 are considered good. While golf is highly competitive in nature, the best thing that beginners should focus on is their personal development. You should hit under a certain number and achieve a specific handicap.

As you work your way up, you will notice your development on the course. Keep in mind that constant practice and effort are important in becoming good in this sport. One tip for you, you can easily reduce your handicap when the number is higher; this means  that you can easily go from a 23 handicap to a 22, or go from a 5 handicap to a 4. For instance, golfers with a 10 handicap think that having a 5 is a way better player.

Bottom Line

There may be no exact answer for a good golf handicap, but having a single-digit handicap is an ideal number. This doesn’t mean you’re a scratch golfer, but you can enjoy more experience in getting around different courses. In most standards, having a 10 to 15 handicap is considered above average, which can be improved through experience and practice.

Establishing your handicap can be affordable depending on your chosen service. It’s the best way to compete with other golfers and you can use your handicap to see if you’re improving your skills in this sport. For beginners, make it a point to reduce handicaps by one stroke or two. Also, it’s important to track your fairway hit, the number of putts, greens in regulation, and other key metrics. This will help you determine the areas that need improvement as you achieve a good golf handicap.

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