The golf handicap system is a must if you are trying to improve your golf game. So today we are gonna try to explain what is a golf handicap, and using a handicap system.
Having a golf handicap gives you the ability to play in local tournaments against golfers with better abilities. Any golf course worth its salt will offer you the chance to get a golf handicap.
Your golf handicap is a true barometer on your golfing abilities, as long as you accurately post your scores. You can learn the fundamentals of Creating a Perfect, Consistent Golf Swing to improve your handicap.
There are 3 types of handicaps out there.
They include: (1) honest handicaps; (2) sandbagger handicaps and (3) Hollywood handicaps.
Thankfully, the most common type of handicap is the honest handicap. This handicap is determined by using a standard accepted formula defined by the governing golf body.
The golfer who carries an honest handicap is conscientious about keeping accurate scores. Adhering to the accepted rules of golf and of considering all rounds played when applying the handicap formula.
The golfer who can be considered to be carrying a sandbagger handicap goes out of his way to make sure that his “official” handicap is somewhat higher than what it should be.
The reason for doing this is pretty obvious. When competing in Net Score competitions (often involving money or prizes) he can have a distinct advantage.
A proper handicap, as mentioned above, must be based on all rounds played – good or bad.
One “not so subtle” way to achieve the status of an elite sandbagger is to conveniently forget to enter good rounds but to be diligent to the extreme when it comes to entering bad rounds.
If the golfer is “on a roll” with nothing but good rounds being shot, it may be necessary to make the supreme sacrifice and actually purposely play a bad round. “Gee, I just couldn’t hit a fairway today!”
The third type of golfer is the one who carries a Hollywood handicap.
This type of player is extremely interesting. This golfer has his heart in the right place – he takes the game seriously and desperately wants to improve and, perhaps more importantly, to be recognized as an accomplished player by his friends and peers.
For the typical Hollywood handicap player, the handicap is everything. They would rather carry a low handicap and lose money than carry an inflated handicap and win money. A rare, but interesting breed!
To make my point, you should understand that the first step in computing a handicap using the standard USGA formula is to convert the Gross Score to what is called the Adjusted Gross Score (AGS).
The AGS is equal to or lower than the gross score with an adjustment made by reducing unusually high hole scores. For example, in the US a typical bogey golfer (with a handicap between 10 and 19) cannot take more than a 7 on any hole.
OK, so you should now understand the difference between the Gross Score and the Adjusted Gross Score. Well, for the Hollywood handicap golfer, there is no difference.
In fact, the concept of a gross score becomes obsolete.
If the player happens to balloon to a triple bogey or worse on a par 5, he will typically say “just put me down for a double”, knowing that anything higher will not affect his handicap.
And of course, the “put me down for a double” statement will have that unmistakable inflection of “surely you would not expect a player of my stature to put down a number higher than that”.
Hmm, I have to wonder what would happen if Tiger, participating in a PGA event and after playing a rare bad hole, were to say “just jot down a par for that hole”. It wouldn’t be pretty.
The final interesting thing about the Hollywood handicapper is that he will enjoy a cold beverage after a round of golf and discuss nonchalantly his final score.
It would never occur to him that his 9 on the eighth hole should have any bearing on the validity of the score he discusses – a result where a 7 appears on the scorecard.
The golf handicap system is a complex formula of your average score.
Along, with the difficulty of the course you are playing, along with a few other bells and whistles that only the USGA can figure out.
Every golf course has a course handicap, which determines the number of strokes needed to play that course to the level of a scratch golfer.
Now lets take a look at how these numbers come into affect. If a player’s handicap is ten, and another player’s handicap are twenty. The difference between the two players is ten golf strokes.
Therefore, to even up the match, the player with the lower handicap, which this case is the ten-handicap golf player, has to give out ten golf strokes to his opponent on eighteen holes, to make the golf game fair play.
How do you identify on which golf holes they are going to be given out?
Typically on most, if not all golf scorecards, you will find numbers 1 through 18 near the bottom of the scorecard beside Men’s HCP and Ladies HCP. The numbers 1 through 18, you will also find out of order.
The reason for the disorder of numbers is, the number 1 being the hardest golf hole, and the number 18 being the easiest golf hole.
The golf course, or architect of the golf course, determines the order of numbers on any given golf hole. This is determined by the yardage and slope rating, and or other difficulty of the golf hole.
Now we have determined how many strokes are to be given out, and where they are to be taken.
The higher handicap in this case, which is the twenty handicap golf player, gets ten golf strokes for eighteen holes, on holes numbered 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9, and 10.
This should make the match a lot closer, if both players are playing within their game.
It typically works out to one golf stroke on every other golf hole in this example. Depending on how the golf course is laid out.
Another example would be a scratch player and a thirty-six-handicap player. The scratch player having to give out two golf strokes on every hole.
Keeping track of your handicap, and using a handicap system, will help make the game fair play in a lot of golf matches, when playing against other opponents.
What all this means to you, is that it helps give you a true indication of your golf ability. If you wanted to play a match against a scratch golfer, which is someone with a zero handicap. And, if you have a 7 handicap, you would receive 7 strokes; one for each of the first 7 most difficult holes on the course.
It’s like he’s spotting you a 7 stroke lead, or a 7 hole lead in match play.
Considering that golf is suppose to be a gentleman’s game, it is very important to post legitimate scores. There also are restrictions on how many strokes you can take on any given hole.
As an example, if you have less than a 10 handicap. You cannot turn in a score card that has any score over double bogey.
That is to keep sanbaggers from inflating their handicap to get more strokes when playing in golf tournaments.
Once you post enough scores to established your golf handicap, see how hard it is to get a low handicap. It takes more than one round of golf for your handicap to move in either direction.
It takes at least 2 or 3 rounds to actually make your handicap move; so you don’t have to worry if you have a bad day on the course.
If you go in to a slump and can’t fix what’s wrong with your game, your golf handicap will suffer..
Check with your local golf association, on an official guide for the golf handicap system. And for maintaining a legitimate handicap.
If you belong to a golf course, they should have a system in place to use for tournament play. This should be recognized by most golf courses and golf associations.
You can also find golf handicap software on keeping track of a golf handicap.
To sum it all up.
The most important lesson in golf is to just have fun. The internet is a good source for information on how to play the game.
Secondly, there are many videos available that can teach you everything from improving your swing, to putting. Check out Our Golf Shop for tips on improving your game, and for your golf equipment needs.
Most people give up on the game of golf before they really understand the dynamics of hitting that little ball. Get Creating a Perfect, Consistent Golf Swing to discover the secrets to hitting a golf ball perfectly … every time you swing!
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