Golf Handicap Calculator

This calculator can be used to compute the handicap of a golfer given data from at least five recent rounds of golf. The higher the handicap of a golfer, the poorer the golfer's ability relative to that of a person with a lower handicap.

Round Course Rating Course
Slope Rating
18-hole Score
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What is a golf handicap?

A golf handicap is intended as a measure of a golfer's potential playing ability.

In terms of stroke play (a scoring system involving counting the total number of strokes a golfer takes on each hole during a given round), a more skilled golfer gives the less experienced player a "handicap" in which extra strokes are added to his or her score. The player that has the fewest strokes at the end of the round is the winner. A handicap theoretically allows players of differing ability levels to play together on more equal grounds.

While the terms "handicap" and "handicap index" are often used interchangeably, the term "handicap index" is considered by some as only referring to handicaps established officially through governing bodies such as the United States Golf Association (USGA) Handicap System.1 Also, although handicap systems are prevalent in amateur golf, they are not used in professional golf.

A golf handicap is often determined at the course where a golfer typically plays, and though certain details of a handicap system may vary, handicaps are generally based on a recent history of a golfer's rounds. This means that a handicap is not static, and is regularly adjusted. A golfer's handicap is typically calculated as 96% of the average of the best 10 of the golfer's previous 20 scores. Methods of calculation may also vary between countries.

The term "handicapping" originated in horse racing where a jockey was handed his odds for the race in a cap (hand-in-cap). The concept however, existed long before the term was coined. Even in the early days of the sport, the act of allowing strokes in golf was called "assigning the odds," which was a task assumed by a group of administrators. These individuals were referred to as the "adjustors of the odds," and were the precursors of the modern Handicap Committee's present in golf clubs.

"Scratch golfers" and "bogey golfers" are terms that are often used in relation to golf handicaps. A scratch golfer is a golfer whose handicap is zero, while a bogey golfer is one whose handicap is approximately 18.

Course rating, slope rating, and course handicap

In the United States, officially rated golf courses are described by course and slope rating. Course rating is a number (typically between 67 and 77) that is used to measure the average "good" score that a scratch golfer may attain on the course. A slope rating in contrast, is a number (typically between 55 and 155) describing the relative difficulty of a course for a bogey golfer compared to a scratch golfer.

A course handicap indicates the number of strokes that a golfer receives at a particular golf course. It can be thought of as an adjustment to a golfer's handicap that takes the difficulty of a golf course into account. It is the number of strokes that should be deducted from a golfer's gross score to determine net score.


  1. Kelley, Brent. "Are 'Handicap' and 'Handicap Index' the Same?" www.thoughtco.com/handicap-and-handicap-index-1561064.