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Golf Handicap: What Is It and Why Do I Need One?

21 Jul 2017

Golf Handicaps: What Are They?

A common term you probably hear about on the course is 'handicap', which can be a confusing concept to understand! A golf handicap is a numeric measure of a golfer's potential. The higher your handicap, the poorer you are compared to someone with a lower handicap. The highest handicap a woman can have is 40.4, and for men it is 36.4. It calculates your net score by subtracting your handicap from the number of strokes in a round. It essentially evens the playing field for every player! Golfers with different skill levels can play together and be more evenly matched. This allows not only more equality on the course, but adds an extra edge of competitiveness to the game. Playing with someone who consistently shoots lower can make it hard to be competitive. With the addition of handicaps, that can easily change!

How Do I Get My Handicap?

Now you're probably wondering how you can figure out your own handicap! Well, if this is your first time golfing or first time keeping score, you won't be able to calculate one just yet. To get an official handicap, you have to play a minimum of 5 rounds. You have to count your scores from 5-20 rounds in order to accurately calculate your handicap. Once 20 scores get posted, your 20 most recent scores are used to calculate your handicap. 

"Nothing goes down slower than a golf handicap" - Bobby Nichols

Once you have played and recorded enough rounds you are ready to calculate! Calculating your handicap on your own can be complicated to say the least. This is why we suggest using an online handicap calculator. You can also ask the pro shop at a local course if they have a handicap calculator. You can do it yourself, but save yourself some hassle and have a calculator do it for you!

A score of less than 18 is typically a good handicap. A score of less than 5 is considered exceptional. If yours is higher, don't be discouraged! There are tons of ways to lower your handicap. Practice is always the best method, as well as playing more rounds of golf. Another great way is to ask other players for tips and advice on how to improve your game. Sometimes a few tips can help shave off a couple of strokes!

Do I Really Need A Handicap?

The answer to this is: not really. Unless you are planning on playing golf competitively, you don't necessarily need a handicap. Personally, I don't keep track of mine. Usually I try to keep score on the course, but am not too worried if I miscalculate my strokes as I mostly play for fun. I don't play very often, and rarely keep my scorecards after the round. I play to enjoy the game, and think that having a handicap may ruin that a bit for me. If my handicap doesn't improve over time, I don't want to start over thinking my game! Now this isn't to say that having a handicap will ruin the fun... Tons of people enjoy the game more with a handicap! I'm simply not competitive enough on the course for me to want one. 

Get to work on calculating that handicap and come out for a round at Willow Valley, or just come to play for fun. Book a tee time online or call the pro shop at (905)-679-2703.

Last Modified: Friday 21 July 2017 05:44
Golf Handicap WillowValley

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Willow Valley Golf Course
8475 English Church Rd.
Hamilton, ON
L0R 1W0

2907 Upper James St.
Mount Hope, ON
L0R 1W0