Tag Archives: score

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.

Golf: Breaking it down to it’s simplest terms.

It’s all about score.

It’s just that simple.  Why complicate an already complicated game?  You can have the worst swing, the worst ball flight, wear hand-me-downs and look like you walked out of a homeless shelter but if you can score, how can anyone fault you on style points?  You played better than they did.

I hear excuses like, “The Greens were terrible,” or “I just couldn’t get my game together because the pace of play was so slow,” and so on.  They are what they are — excuses.  Why is it that some players have rotten days yet still manage to come in with a respectable score?  Are they just luckier?  Perhaps.  Perhaps, not.

I prefer the later.  Sure having an excuse is a great cop-out.  But does it really serve any purpose other than to smooth over your bruised ego?  Personally I would much rather figure out why I messed up and perhaps, just perhaps should the occasion rear its ugly head again I may just have an answer.

You have heard it all before.  Golf coaches stress the importance of a short game.  Rely on your putting.  But why?  Is there something they aren’t telling you?  How about I break it down this way.

It may seem obvious to you but to me this was a revelation that was 20 years too late.

A par 4 for example is a tee shot, an approach shot and two putts.  That is what it’s supposed to be theoretically.  A par 5 similarly is a tee shot, a fairway shot, an approach and two putts. Finally a par 3 is simply an approach with two putts.

Now that is all well and good if you hit every green and make every putt.  But what if you miss the green on your approach?  Then you throw in an extra stroke for every hole you miss your green.  What if you make a single putt instead and make up the difference?  How do you do that?  The obvious answer, “hit the ball so close to the hole you just one putt or chip/pitch it in.”

The math of this is simple.  There are 18 holes on a golf course.  There are usually 10 par 4 , 4 par 5 and 4 par 3 holes per golf course with a par 72.  Putts alone equal 51% of your game.  Add your approach shot and that becomes 69% of your game.

Hole Type 3 % 4 % 5 % Importance Par
Qty 4 10 4 72
Tee Shot 1 33% 1 25% 1 20% 26%
Fairway 0% 0% 1 20% 4%
Approach 0% 1 25% 1 20% 18%
Put 2 67% 2 50% 2 40% 51%

Sure your tee shot is important but only with respect to par 3’s.  And it gets worse if you miss the green on your approach shot.

Hole Type 3 4 5
Score 4 % 5 % 6 % Importance Par
Qty 4 10 4 90
Tee Shot 1 25% 1 20% 1 17% 20%
Fairway 0% 0% 1 17% 4%
Approach 0% 1 20% 1 17% 15%
Chip 1 25% 1 20% 1 17% 20%
Put 2 50% 2 40% 2 33% 41%

Putting and chipping would account for 61% of my game.  If that wasn’t a wake up call I don’t know what is.  Add your approach shot and it jumps to a whopping 76%.  That is a HUGE part of your game.  Doing the math, I saw where I needed to concentrate.  And specifically where to concentrate.   Chips and putts — that was the key with approach shots being my second area to focus.  The next question was how the devil do I do that?  Keep track of your score but also track your Fairways hit, greens-in-regulation, and putts.  Keep your data collection simple so you can determine at a glance where your shortcomings arise.

One-putting, not impossible just difficult to do consistently.  Chipping it close, sample problem just different location and it’s easier to putt a ball you manage to chip close to a hole.

Now when I practice whenever I do, I know it’s tempting to pull out the driver but now I focus on hitting shots certain distances.  Why?  I know I will encounter those type of shots in my game (like a 75 yard pitch with my wedge).  Now standing over a ball I have the confidence to say to myself you have this shot.  You can hit it and this is what the ball will do when it lands.  If I miss it, so what.  Just recover.

The question then became how to score instead of making a perfect shot.  It took a lot of pressure off of me and instead allowed me to focus on the task at hand — saving par.  So what if I hit a ball poorly so long as I managed to get the ball on the green or so what if I hit the wrong line on my putt so long as I was close on my second putt to save par or bogey.  Now after a boatload of practicing chipping and putting I can honestly say I feel comfortable around the greens.  I focus on where I want my ball to be and execute.  If I miss then re-evaluate and execute.

The next time you hear one of those favorite excuses just remember what you could have done or rather should have done.  Just leave no excuses out there on the golf course.  You either executed what you wanted done or you didn’t.