Originally Posted by SamCreamer
Yes, I have recently signed up to become a member of Golf Canada which is $40 a year, comes with a membership card and allows you to keep an official handicap for entering tournaments. Just wasn't sure how to calculate it ^^ Now that I'll be joining a club next year, I'll certainly begin to keep my handicap officially, thanks everyone!
Ah, well, in that case you probably need to submit your scores to the club (perhaps via computer at the course, that's how it's usually done here, I believe) and they'll do the computation for you. If you look around on the USGA site under "handicapping," you can find the rules for the US, which are probably similar or the same as Canada, although the procedure in Europe is rather different. I'm sure the Canadian folks have a similar rule book.
Estimating by subtracting par from your typical score is generally not an accurate way to guess your handicap index. You need to find out the rating and slope of the course. In the US, the method is as follows. Take your most recent 20 scores (assuming all are 18 hole rounds). For each score, compute its differential as (score-rating)*113/slope. You now have your 20 most recent differentials. Keep the best 10 of these and average them. Multiply that average by 0.96 and then truncate to a single decimal place. This is your handicap index.
Note that the last step is truncation---dropping all but the first digit after the decimal place---not rounding. This is a common error I've found in handicap index calculators. So if your index works out to 15.199 you truncate it to 15.1, you don't round it to 15.2.
This number will probably be lower than your typical score relative to par, though it depends on the difficulty of the course and how consistent your scores are. When it comes time to use your handicap index, you have to convert it to a course handicap by multiplying by slope/113. If you add this to the rating, it gives you the score that is your net par for the course. Usually the clubhouse has a sheet with pre-calculated course handicaps for various handicap indexes, which can help if you're not mathematically inclined or if you didn't happen to bring your calculator to the course.