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Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced golfer, it’s important to understand what your handicap is and how to calculate it. A handicap is a measure of a golfer’s ability level. You can use it to adjust the game for different skill levels, so any golfer needs to understand how their handicap works and how to keep it low.

In this post, we’ll provide a comprehensive guide to handicaps in golf so you can understand what it is and how to calculate it. We’ll also share some tips and tricks for keeping your handicap low so you can take your game to the next level. Read on to get the full scoop on this important golfing concept.

## What is a Handicap in Golf?

A handicap in golf is a numerical measure of a golfer’s potential ability. Golfers can use it to compare players of different levels and adjust individual scores to provide a level playing field. To understand how it works, you must first differentiate between two different types of golf: stroke play and match play.

In stroke play, the golfer with the lowest total score wins. In match play, each hole is its independent contest. Handicaps are only for stroke play games and not for match play; they are used to even out the competition so that golfers can compete fairly against each other regardless of their ability level.

## How is a Handicap Calculated?

A golfer should calculate their handicap using their average score over multiple rounds at different courses. The USGA suggests at least five rounds played on different courses, but ideally, one should use more than ten for accuracy. The handicap calculation considers each course's difficulty and adjusts accordingly.

Once you record these scores, compare them against a set standard known as the Course Rating and Slope Rating, which are useful tools for measuring how difficult any given course is for a particular golfer. This information is then used to create an individual handicap index based on all the rounds played and then adjusted further using handicap adjustments.

The golfer's handicap index undergoes a handicap adjustment, considering their scores from specific holes or rounds that differed significantly in difficulty or ease compared to their usual performance. This adjustment lowers or raises the handicap index as needed so that the handicap measurement remains accurate. This system ensures that there is no advantage in playing on easier courses or with golf rangefinders or other tools that could give somebody an edge over their opponents.