Benefits Of Having A Handicap:

  • Handicaps are a gauge of the golfer’s skill level
  • Handicaps allow a player to compete on a level playing field with players at other levels
  • Handicaps provide a barometer of a golfer’s progress of improvement over time
  • Handicaps challenge a golfer to give it her best when playing
  • Handicaps become a personal badge of accomplishment
  • Handicaps allow players to compete in championship events
  • Handicaps can be established using scores from 9-hole or 18-hole play

How Do I Establish A USGA Handicap Index?

Join a golf club that complies with all the guidelines of the Handicap System. One of the benefits of being a member of the Steel Magnolias Organization is that you can establish a handicap through an area golf club. After each 9 or 18 holes of golf, post your adjusted score (if your club has a computer) or give your scorecard to the club pro. You do not have to collect a certain number of scorecards before you can post.

What Is An Index?

An index represents a player’s potential scoring ability and is expressed as a number taken to one decimal place.

What Is A Handicap?

A handicap is the specific number of strokes you need to play on a specific set of tees to adjust your score back to the level of scratch (i.e. Course Rating).

What Is A Course Handicap?

A course handicap is the number of handicap strokes a player receives at the course being played. A course handicap is determined by applying her index number to a Slope Conversion Table.

What Is A Slope Rating?

A slope rating reflects the relative playing difficulty of a course for a non-scratch golfer compared to a scratch golfer. The higher the Slope Rating, the greater the gap in expected scores between the scratch golf and the bogey golfer. A general rule is, the higher the course slope, the more difficult the course is to play.

What Is A Gross Score?

A player’s actual score, stroke for stroke.

What Is An Adjusted Score?

A player’s gross score minus adjustments. This is the maximum number of strokes a person with a handicap can post on any hole. This is known as the Equitable Stroke Control table. For example, if a person actually shoots a 10 on any one hole, after the round is completed the person may adjust their score by –2 strokes when posting it for their handicap.

What Is A Net Score?

A player’s score after her gross score has been adjusted by the course handicap. For example, if a player shoots a 90 and her course handicap is 20, her net score is 70.

Why Do I Need An Index?

An index is necessary to play in amateur competition and is the player’s benchmark for improvement. The index assists others in pairing you with players of like ability during outings and tournaments.

How Can I See What My Current Index Is?

If your club participates in the GHIN handicapping system, you may view your current index on the website GHIN.com. If not, your club pro can provide it for you.