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Course handicap table - from Index to course handicap


The USGA Handicap System provides golfers with two key numbers: an Index and a course handicap. Until 1987 the USGA's system provided one handicap number for all courses played. Can you imagine playing with the same handicap at Augusta National and at your municipal golf course?! I'm sure your "puni muni" course's holes 11, 12 and 13 match up to Augusta's Amen Corner!

With the introduction of the USGA's "Index" in 1987, courses have been evaluated and given two ratings, course "rating" and "slope," for each set of tees on the course. The course rating and slope are used to calculate the Index and the slope rating is used to calculate the course handicap.The USGA in its Handicap Manual define the course handicap as...

A "Course Handicap" is the USGA's mark that indicates the number of handicap strokes a player receives from a specific set of tees at the course being played to adjust the player's scoring ability to the level of scratch or zero-handicap golf. For a player with a plus Course Handicap, it is the number of handicap strokes a player gives to adjust the player's scoring ability to the level of scratch or zero-handicap golf. A Course Handicap is determined by applying the player's Handicap Index to a Course Handicap Table or Course Handicap Formula. (See Section 10-4.) A player's Course Handicap is expressed as a whole number. The result of any conditions of the competition, handicap allowance, or competition from a different USGA Course Rating that changes a Course Handicap is considered to be the Course Handicap.

Once you have your Index, which is the same on any course (portable handicap), you can then derive your course handicap for a specific set of tees on a course using two methods as stated in the definition above: you can calculate it or look it up on a course handicap table.

The formula for calculating your course handicap is as follows: Handicap Index x Slope Rating / 113. The USGA has a handy course handicap calculator at their website.

If you'd like a course handicap table, the USGA offers their USGA Handicap System Reference Guide. Alternatively, you can probably find course handicap tables at the course you play. Make sure you select the set of tees you plan to play...