While the professionals play the sport at a level that most players can only dream of, there are still good players at every level of the game. Its all about creating a measurable stratification of levels of play, or levels of golfing skill, that can be used to determine the relative skill level of a given golfer in relation to par. This is when the relevance of a golf handicap comes into play. The golf handicap refers to allotment of “strokes”, or number of times the golf ball is struck during a round, that will be subtracted from a players score at the end of play. Since the objective in golf is to have the lowest possible score at the end of a round, the golf handicap serves to give players who are at a disadvantage with regard to skill a sort of level playing field when competing with a group of other golfers, and it does this by subtracting a set number of strokes from a given players score based on his or her actual skill level. In other words since par is generally 72 for eighteen holes of golf, if a players handicap is -11 and they score an 86, their handicap will bring their final score to a 75.
To begin with the actual calculation of a golf handicap as determined by the USGA, a player must first compile a maximum of 20 scores, and a minimum of 5. For each of these scores, the player in question must convert them to “adjusted gross scores” which are the actual scores from each round minus the course rating, multiplied by 113 (113 is a figure utilized by the USGA in Golf Course design to represent the slope rating of a given golf course of moderate or average difficulty) and divided by the slope rating (course and slope ratings are determined by the USGA). After this math is performed with a given player’s 5-20 scores, the resulting figures will serve as differentials. The next step in determining a player’s golf handicap will be to determine how many of these differentials will be used in the following part of the golf handicap calculator process.
To determine the number of differentials you will be using, you need only address the number of scores you were working with initially. For example, if when you started calculating your golf handicap you only had 5 or 6 scores to work with, then you will only utilize the one lowest differential. If you had 7 or 8 scores to work with, then would use only the 2 lowest differentials in the next step of the calculation. If you had 9 or 10 scores, you would use the 3 lowest differentials. 11 or 12 scores, 4 lowest differentials. 13 or 14 scores, 5 lowest differentials. 15 or 16 scores, 6 lowest differentials. 17 scores, 7 lowest differentials. 18 scores, 8 lowest differentials. 19 scores, 9 lowest differentials, and finally if you began with 20 scores you would use the 10 lowest differentials in the next part of the golf handicap calculator procedure.
The final step in calculating your all-important golf handicap is to take your grouping of differentials, add them all together, and then divide this sum by the number of differentials you used in order to obtain an average. You will then multiply this average by .96, or 96%, and proceed to remove all of the digits after the tenths place. What you will be seeing at this point, is your golf handicap index. You’ve finally done it; finally narrowed in on the exact handicap value that most accurately describes your relative skill level as a golfer. You can now move on to utilizing this number in tournaments, club outings, invitationals, and any other competitive golfing events where handicaps are relevant to scoring.