Tag Archives: golf handicap

How to Calculate your Golf Handicap (USGA)

I have always been fascinated by numbers, particularly how they pertain to golf.  Everyone asks what your handicap is but no one really knows.  Or those that do oftentimes have it calculated by their golf club or a computer.

If you want the how well look no further.  This is how it works.

Golf Handicap Calculation — Part 1

A minimum of five scores and a maximum of 20 is required to get started. Remember, when posting scores for handicaps, you must use your adjusted gross scores. For each score, the USGA Course Rating and Slope Rating for the courses played are also required.

Using these three figures, your first step is to calculate your handicap differential for each round played using the formula below:

(Score – Course Rating) x 113 / Slope Rating = Handicap Differential

Some folks say they only count complete rounds or they didn’t play a full round or better still their club only takes rounds played in within a certain area.  According to the Pope Of Slope there are ways of counting all rounds played no matter how many holes you played.  (More on that later.)

For example, let’s say the score is 95, the course rating 72.2, the slope 131. The formula would be (95 – 72.2) x 113 / 131.   The handicap differential is 19.7 (rounded up).

This differential is calculated for each round entered.

(Note: The number 113 represents the slope rating of a golf course of average difficulty, as set by the USGA.)

Golf Handicap Calculation — part 2

Determine how many differentials are being used. Not every differential that results from Step 1 will be used in the next step. If only five rounds are entered, only the lowest differential will be used. If 20 rounds are entered, only the 10 lowest differentials are used. A chart at the bottom of this page shows how many differentials are used based on the number of rounds entered

Golf Handicap Calculation — Part 3

Get an average of the differentials used by adding them together and dividing by the number used (i.e., if five differentials are used, add them up and divide by five).

Multiply the result by .96 (96-percent). Drop all the digits after the tenths (do not round off) and the result is handicap index. Or, to put it formula form:

(Sum of Differentials / number of differentials) x 0.96

Thankfully, as we said at the beginning, you don’t have to do the math on your own. Your golf club’s handicap committee will handle it for you, or the GHIN system if you log in to post scores.

Based upon the number of rounds entered you determine the number of differentials used.

Rounds Entered Differentials Used
5-6 1 lowest
7-8 2 lowest
9-10 3 lowest
11-12 4 lowest
13-14 5 lowest
15-16 6 lowest
17 7 lowest
18 8 lowest
19 9 lowest
20 10 lowest

I will be adding a spreadsheet to help calculate your unofficial handicap soon.

Golfer Profiling

Watched CSI?  Heard of Criminal profiling?  How about Racial Profiling?

Well I am not as politically correct but I found out a few years ago about Golfer Profiling.  What is it?  To me it defines what a golfer does or plays to — his tendencies if you will.  (Thanks Coach!)  And playing to those tendencies will make you aware of where you need to improve your game and drop your score.  Because let’s face it in golf it’s not the high score that wins; it’s how low can you go!

Now I didn’t put a lot of stock into this until I started tracking my own game.  I mean meticulously trying to figure out why I struggled playing a game I so dearly loved.  At first I kept saying it was my mechanics and to some extent it was.  But I kept playing with golfers with similar or lesser ability yet they SCORED better than I did.  Did they know the rules better than me?  Perhaps.  Did they put better than I did?  Maybe.  The truth though is they thought of this game as a just that  — a game.  A game that can be played well if you know how to score.

Mechanics that was for the golf range.  Rules of golf for playing in a tournament.  To play this game you have to master just a few things — chase a little white ball into a hole in as few as strokes as possible.

Now how the hell do you do that?  When I was originally confronted with that question it was like a light bulb went on in my head.  I evolved from just “chasing that ball” to chasing that ball in as few as strokes possible.

It’s subtle I know but nevertheless mind-blowing to this hacker.

Let me illustrate.  See the graph below it shows the tendencies of various golfers at various skill levels based on score.

AVERAGE SCORE
Relationship
CATEGORY
71
75
79
81
85
89
91
95
99
GIR
12
10
8
7
5
3
2
0
0
Strong
% Fairways
81
71
61
56
46
36
31
21
11
Weak
Iron Accuracy
80
68
53
47
33
20
13
0
0
Good
Putts per Round
29.0
30.3
31.7
32.3
33.7
35.0
35.7
37.0
38.3
Weak
Pitch/Chip/Sand
5.1
7.4
9.8
10.9
13.3
15.6
16.8
19.2
21.5
Strong
Birdies
3.2
2.4
1.8
1.5
0.8
0.1
0
0
0
Strong
Pars
11.8
10.3
8.8
8.1
6.6
5.1
4.3
2.8
1.3
Strong

 

Seeing this got me thinking on the differences between various levels of players.  Now I saw the differences between a player that shot in the 90’s versus a player who regularly shot in the 80’s and so on.  Where to improve.  Where to focus my attentions.

Just to say to another golfer, “you need to know your short game,” isn’t enough.  You need to know your short game “100 yards and in.”  You need to quantify your shortcomings so you can adjust.  If your short game isn’t working focus on your putting.  If that isn’t working focus on getting on that green in regulation.  Improve your chances for success.  Honestly I don’t have enough time to devote to this game like I used to.  So everything has to be spot-on or I waste my time and time is money.  So what do I need to do to get the results I want?  These are the sort of questions you need to ask yourself if you want to improve at this game.

So it is this humble hacker’s assessment that seeing these tendencies listed in such a manner it became easy to assess my game, assess what needed to be focused and ultimately get my game to a level I felt comfortable playing.  Hacking can be fun but let’s be honest it can wear on you during a round.  It’s not fun.  It’s not pretty.  This could be just the band-aid you need to help you stay focused playing 18 holes.

The real proof of this pudding though is will it work for you?

Golf from my perspective…

2013-11-05 23.33.38

I have been playing golf now for a little North of 30 years now.  And there are a few truths I have managed to piece together over the years.  Here is my little take on golf in no particular order.

  1. You chase a little white golf ball into a hole.  (Golf can’t get anymore simpler than that so why complicate it.)
  2. Just when you think you figured out something in your swing or in your game something else fails you.
  3. The short game (for me it’s 125 yards and in) is the most important part of your game.  Literally it’s 60-75% of your game so you better get proficient at it or it will be a LONG round of golf.
  4. It’s never the equipment; it’s always the golfer’s fault no matter what you say.
  5. I prefer to be lucky.  Good stands a distant second.
  6. Tiger Woods is to golf like breathing is for living.  (Face it Tiger haters if it wasn’t for this man and his faults golf would not be as popular as it is now.  You have to take the good with the bad.)
  7. Good golfers came in all sizes and shapes.  You can dress like a pro but that doesn’t mean you can smack that little white ball down the middle or break 100.
  8. Golf can be an obsession bordering addiction.
  9. If your girlfriend understands you play golf and doesn’t have a tirade over it — MARRY HER.  Life will be so much more simpler.
  10. Golfers always make sure they have clean heads, shafts and balls.  It’s all about good personal hygiene baby.

Los Amigos Country Club, a golf course review

I live and work in Los Angeles.  I also play a lot of golf here.

That said, this little municipal golf course in Downey was once the butt of a lot of local golf jokes.  To say the course conditions here were bad just a little over a year ago was to be kind.  I mean in a word, this place “sucked.”

Gone are those days though.  We are talking a massive turn-around.  Hyperbole, maybe but see for yourself.    Not only have the facilities improved (updated restaurant, bar, pro-shop and banquet area) but also the golf course.   From tee to green the course has been revamped.  You no longer have to deal with storm drains that ran through several holes.  It’s all covered and drains rather well thank you very much.  But the greens have been transformed from slow, pot-marked and bumpy to smooth and quick.  The fairways are lush and all the bunkers have been restocked with fluffy sand.  Also several bunkers have been added; making the course in my opinion more of a challenge.

This course has it’s charm.  Decent risk/reward holes with a what-you-see-is-what-you-get just don’t screw up kind of holes.  I personally like the layout.  You won’t need your driver on a lot of these holes but on hole 9 you have a definite challenging par 3.  Come play this course, you will see what I mean.  Conditions here currently rival if not exceed those of it’s more upwardly mobile sister golf course Rio Hondo down the street.  

It’s just plain good golf.  And thgolfer in me appreciates value when I see/play it.  Hats off to the staff especially the superintendent Vince and GM Mike.  

Side note we did play on a Friday so the pace of play was on the slow side and was expected.  Just wish I played a bit better.