# What exactly is a course handicap?

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I feel like this is a dumb question, but course handicap means you can deduct strokes when you play, right? Every time I play I always calculate actual strokes taken vs strokes taken according to a course handicap. Can someone please explain to me how this works? For instance, I shot a 91 yesterday. The scorecard shows handicap recommendation of 5 from the gold tees I played, oops. Then it says rating/slope of 72.8/132. I don't really know what any of that means.

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course handicap is calculated using your handicap index.

the equation is hdcp x slope rating/113

yours would be 20x132/113 = 23 (you round to the nearest whole number)

you get 23 strokes on those tees. so you netted a 68

to be clear though..for handicap index purposes you would enter the score of 91..not your net.

course handicap only comes in to play when you're competing.

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I would like to propose a follow up question. Can a person figure out an accurate handicap index only playing a par 3 or a 9 hole par 31 executive course?

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w[quote name="Stephen Newcomb" url="/t/63022/what-exactly-is-a-course-handicap#post_782581"]I would like to propose a follow up question. Can a person figure out an accurate handicap index only playing a par 3 or a 9 hole par 31 executive course? [/quote] There are some course minimum yardage requirements - search the usga or ghin sites for exact numbers

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so why do people adjust their scores by a stroke or two?  i just read this guy's comment from another thread:

"My previous round, on an easier course was 81 and my next round on the same course was 84 for handicap but I think I had a shot (or two) adjustment,"

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Originally Posted by tuffluck

so why do people adjust their scores by a stroke or two?  i just read this guy's comment from another thread:

"My previous round, on an easier course was 81 and my next round on the same course was 84 for handicap but I think I had a shot (or two) adjustment,"

If your course handicap is under 10, you can only take a maximum of a double bogey on any hole. If your course handicap is 10-19, you can't take anything higher than a 7. If your course handicap is 20-29, you can't take anything higher than an 8. You have to adjust your per hole score accordingly.

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Originally Posted by phan52

If your course handicap is under 10, you can only take a maximum of a double bogey on any hole. If your course handicap is 10-19, you can't take anything higher than a 7. If your course handicap is 20-29, you can't take anything higher than an 8. You have to adjust your per hole score accordingly.

wow really?? that is very interesting to me.  so when people post "i shot a 95" do they generally adjust from a 98, or are they saying their adjusted score?  i feel like reducing strokes is cheating, sorry if this is a tough concept for me!

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wow really?? that is very interesting to me.  so when people post "i shot a 95" do they generally adjust from a 98, or are they saying their adjusted score?  i feel like reducing strokes is cheating, sorry if this is a tough concept for me!

Dont want to confuse you too much, but they still shot a 98 - the 95 is what is posted on the computer.

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Originally Posted by tuffluck

wow really?? that is very interesting to me.  so when people post "i shot a 95" do they generally adjust from a 98, or are they saying their adjusted score?  i feel like reducing strokes is cheating, sorry if this is a tough concept for me!

The adjusted score is ONLY for handicap posting purposes, nothing else.  The idea is to prevent ridiculous blow-up holes from raising your handicap too much.  But as far as what you shot for the day, it is what it is.

That said, there are vanity-cap type people (my dad is one of them) who never bother with their actual score.  He will give up or pick up on a hole once he gets to his max score (for him I think it's an 8) and he does it once or twice every round.  So his "score" is never accurate.  It's a good thing he never plays for money or in tournaments.

EDIT:  To answer your question ... when people post "I shot a 95" I would hope they are referring to their actual pre-adjusted score.  Because if they shot a 98, and it gets adjusted to 95 for posting ... they DID NOT "shoot" a 95.

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Originally Posted by tuffluck

wow really?? that is very interesting to me.  so when people post "i shot a 95" do they generally adjust from a 98, or are they saying their adjusted score?  i feel like reducing strokes is cheating, sorry if this is a tough concept for me!

If you are in a tournament or a match, what you shot is what you shot. You only reduce your score for handicap purposes when you post it.

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wait a second...forgive me, but I am also pretty new to the whole handicapping thing.  Now that I have one, when I'm playing a round "for score" i.e. not a scramble or a round dedicated for "practice" like when breaking in a new driver/putter or if it's part of a bachelor party or something, I should be scoring nothing higher than a 7?  For example, let's just say I get some bad hops and shoot a 9 and 8 on two of the par 5s.  Does that mean if I took 89 shots to finish the round, I actually enter 86 as my "posted score" for HCP purposes?  This is assuming a 10-19 course handicap.

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Originally Posted by dpgator33

wait a second...forgive me, but I am also pretty new to the whole handicapping thing.  Now that I have one, when I'm playing a round "for score" i.e. not a scramble or a round dedicated for "practice" like when breaking in a new driver/putter or if it's part of a bachelor party or something, I should be scoring nothing higher than a 7?  For example, let's just say I get some bad hops and shoot a 9 and 8 on two of the par 5s.  Does that mean if I took 89 shots to finish the round, I actually enter 86 as my "posted score" for HCP purposes?  This is assuming a 10-19 course handicap.

You've got it.  It is called Equitable Stroke Control (ESC for short).  There are other reasons to adjust scores (conceded strokes in match play, for instance).  They are contained in section 4 of the USGA Handicap manual.  Section 4-3 deals with ESC.  Here is a link:

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Note: This thread is 2917 days old. We appreciate that you found this thread instead of starting a new one, but if you plan to post here please make sure it's still relevant. If not, please start a new topic. Thank you!

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