The calculations below are based on the World Handicap System (WHS).
Course Handicap Calculator
Use this calculator to find out the handicap of a golfer for a specific course.
Handicap Index Calculator
Use this calculator to compute the handicap index of a golfer given data from at least 54 holes (3 rounds of 18-holes) of playing data. When filling the form, please provide either an 18-hole or 9-hole score. Do not provide both. The playing condition adjustment is an optional value between -1 and 3. If left blank, it will be treated as 0.
World Handicap System
A golf handicap is intended as a measure of a golfer’s potential playing ability. The higher the handicap of a golfer, the poorer the golfer’s ability relative to that of a person with a lower handicap.
In terms of stroke play (a scoring system involving counting the total number of strokes a golfer takes on each hole during a given round), a more skilled golfer gives the less experienced player a “handicap” in which extra strokes are added to his or her score. The player that has the fewest strokes at the end of the round is the winner. A handicap theoretically allows players of differing ability levels to play together on more equal grounds.
While the terms “handicap” and “handicap index” are often used interchangeably, the term “handicap index” is considered by some as only referring to handicaps established officially through governing bodies. Also, although handicap systems are prevalent in amateur golf, they are not used in professional golf.
A golf handicap is often determined at the course where a golfer typically plays, and though certain details of a handicap system may vary, handicaps are generally based on a recent history of a golfer’s rounds. This means that a handicap is not static, and is regularly adjusted. In the past, methods of calculation varied between countries. However, there has been a move to standardize the golf handicapping system, and in 2020, a new system, the World Handicap System (WHS) was implemented throughout the world. Under the WHS, the handicap index will be calculated based on the average of your 8 best scores out of 20. To be able to receive a handicap index, scores for a minimum of 54 holes are required under the WHS. For those who already have a handicap index, in most cases, the changes in the handicapping system should change your handicap by less than one stroke.
The term “handicapping” originated in horse racing where a jockey was handed his odds for the race in a cap (hand-in-cap). The concept however, existed long before the term was coined. Even in the early days of the sport, the act of allowing strokes in golf was called “assigning the odds,” which was a task assumed by a group of administrators. These individuals were referred to as the “adjustors of the odds,” and were the precursors of the modern Handicap Committee’s present in golf clubs.
“Scratch golfers” and “bogey golfers” are terms that are often used in relation to golf handicaps. A scratch golfer is a golfer whose handicap is zero, while a bogey golfer is one whose handicap is approximately 18.
Course rating, slope rating, and course handicap
In the United States, officially rated golf courses under the United States Golf Association (USGA) are described by course and slope rating. The new system, the World Handicap System (WHS), is based largely on the USGA Course and Slope Rating system, but also incorporates features from the other six major rating systems. There is also an adjustment for playing conditions, described below.
Course rating is a number (typically between 67 and 77) that is used to measure the average “good” score that a scratch golfer may attain on the course. A slope rating in contrast, is a number (typically between 55 and 155) describing the relative difficulty of a course for a bogey golfer compared to a scratch golfer.
A course handicap indicates the number of strokes that a golfer receives at a particular golf course. It can be thought of as an adjustment to a golfer’s handicap that takes the difficulty of a golf course into account. It is the number of strokes that should be deducted from a golfer’s gross score to determine net score.
Playing condition adjustment
Since golf is a game that is played outdoors, weather or other conditions can significantly affect a player’s scores. As such, in an effort to more accurately represent a player’s scores, the WHS includes an adjustment, referred to as the Playing Conditions Calculation (PCC), based on playing conditions for the course. This involves factoring in a number, ranging from -1 (when conditions make the course easier) to 3 (when conditions make the course more difficult), into the score differential calculation, depending on the conditions of the course for the given day.
For example, if the conditions on a course are relatively bad on a given day (e.g. rain and heavy wind), the player’s score can be adjusted to reflect that, given a day with relatively better weather conditions, the player’s score would likely have been better, and the score will be automatically adjusted using statistical procedures to more accurately reflect these conditions. The same is also true in particularly good weather conditions that could cause a player’s scores to be better than they otherwise would be.
Because this adjustment is dependent on a given day, and since it is calculated automatically, it is important that players submit their scores on the actual day of play so that the PCC will be applied to their score on the correct day. This calculation is intended to be conservative and will not be applied unless there is strong statistical evidence that it is necessary.