# Handicap Index Question?

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Hey folks,

I've just imputed the data from my last 7 rounds (the total of what I've played this year) and came out with a number that seems much higher than what I was expecting (I came out with an 18.2). Can someone link me to a good site that has an up to date calculator? And, if at all possible, can someone also explain how the handicap system works? I understand essentially that the idea is to measure potential ability, but how is it completely calculated and what impact does say a really bad round or a really good round have the next time you try to calculate?

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Here’s the formula with explanations (assuming you’re in the US):

Most of what you’re looking for is in sections 10-1 and 10-2 of that page.

With 7 rounds, only your two rounds with lowest differentials are used to calculate your handicap index.

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37 minutes ago, Missouri Swede said:

With 7 rounds, only your two rounds with lowest differentials are used to calculate your handicap index.

That makes a ton of sense, because I shot an 81 and an 82 at my local executive course this week ( 66 / 107) and I had broken 100 with a 99 at the closest regulation course near me (69 / 127). I thought I was on the right track, because my first round I shot a 120, and had another 115 in there, so my scores were all over the place and I was expecting to be rated around 28 - 30 (the 18.2 just really caught me by surprise).

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Once you get 20 it is the best 10/20 with some exceptions regarding tournament scores.

Edited by upndown21
Duplicate

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It's very easy to set up an Excel spreadsheet to keep track of your index if you don't mind doing it yourself.  There is nothing complicated in the equations the USGA uses.

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TheGrint.com has a free option where you can input your scores and it will calculate an official handicap for you.   It will also give you some statistics.    There is a \$20 / yr option that will give you more statistics can you care to have and an official handicap also.   Give it a look.

I have an excel spreadsheet that is a work in progress with the help of Club Rat.

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I use DiabloGolf. It’s an App on my phone. One thing to note is that if you keep up with your handicap yourself make sure you check the National Course Rating Database to check the actual ratings for the course and tees you played. You would be amazed how often the scorecards are wrong.

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2 minutes ago, HJJ003 said:

I use DiabloGolf. It’s an App on my phone. One thing to note is that if you keep up with your handicap yourself make sure you check the National Course Rating Database to check the actual ratings for the course and tees you played. You would be amazed how often the scorecards are wrong.

Thanks for the update. At Red Oaks (the local executive course) I managed to get a hold of there official card to check handicap course info, so I've been going off of that. The other two courses I've played I've been relying off the scorecard.

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35 minutes ago, iggywriter said:

The﻿ other two courses I've played I've been relying off the scor﻿eca﻿rd﻿.

Yeah and maybe they are correct. If you just wanting a general idea of your handicap it may not matter but if you want to be precise then make sure to reference the database. Sometimes clubs don’t change the scorecards because they have thousands of them already printed with the old ratings.

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1 hour ago, dennyjones said:

I have an excel spreadsheet that is a work in progress with the help of Club Rat.

I set up my spreadsheet probably 15-20 years ago and have not made any significant changes to it in that time.  for about 6-8 years within that time frame I subscribed to GAM and was never off by even a tenth of a point.

would be happy to share if you're interested

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13 hours ago, iggywriter said:

Thanks for the update. At Red Oaks (the local executive course) I managed to get a hold of there official card to check handicap course info, so I've been going off of that. The other two courses I've played I've been relying off the scorecard.

To follow up, this link takes you to a searchable database of all courses with USGA ratings

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You asked someone to explain how the system works, and you were properly referred to source material. In the event you are looking for a quick summary, the reader's digest of what confuses most people at first about the handicap system is....

1. It's not based on _all_ your scores, but your most recent _best_ scores. The ten best of your most recent twenty scores, to be exact. So it is really designed to predict your _potential best score_, not your typical score.

2. It's not based on your score versus "par," it's based on your score versus the course rating, which is sometimes the same as par, sometimes higher, and sometimes lower.  Rating is based on the _length_ of the course.

3. The difference between your (best) score(s) and the course rating is _further_ modified by something called "slope," which is intended to adjust for course difficulty from factors _other than_ length.

4. The final number is adjusted again....reduced by 5%....because the idea is that you don't handicap 100%. The system builds in a small amount of advantage for the better player.

5. The number you get from all this is called a _handicap index._ The actual number of _strokes_ that this index gets you varies depending on the course you are playing, the tees you play from at that course, etc. So, if your USGA index is 18.4, it doesn't mean you will always get 18 strokes versus a 0 index player. You may get as many as 2 or 3 more or less.

6. For years it aggravated me that I couldn't just calculate my own handicap index and use it. This is prohibited....the USGA insists that handicaps must be administered by golf clubs or organizations. This is so that there can be proper policing of the handicap system, keeping its integrity so that people trust it and can use it fairly in competitions. Organizations can actually lower a player's index if they think the player was dishonest with their score reporting, etc.

Edited by Big Lex
Clarification.

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great summary, big lex.

Only one more adjustment is needed and that's ESC which is described in the link in post #2.  And on a more minor note, on your point #4, it's 4% not 5%.  ( I can nit-pick sometimes, can't help it)

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And in 2020 it’ll be your 8 best of 20 without a 4% reduction.

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24 minutes ago, iacas said:

And in 2020 it’ll be your 8 best of 20 without a 4% reduction.

And ESC goes away too correct? Net Double Bogey instead I think..

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1 hour ago, HJJ003 said:

And ESC goes away too correct? Net Double Bogey instead I think..

Yeah.

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