How Your Handicap Is Calculated

Josh Kelley

Josh Kelley

SwingU Instructor

The handicap system is great because it allows for players of all skill levels to compete against one another on an even playing field. Every golfer who keeps a handicap will have what’s known as a handicap index. Based on that index, they will either add or subtract that number from their final score to determine their net score.

The formula for calculating your handicap is a bit complicated, so we recommend using an app or software, such as SwingU to keep your handicap for you. If you want to compute your handicap manually, you need to solve for your differential for every round you play.

(Score – Course Rating x 113) / Slope Rating = Differential

That differential then is able to be used to calculate your index.

Handicap = Differential x 0.96

It’s commonly misconstrued that however many over par you shoot, that’s what your handicap is. However, your handicap is meant to show your score when you play well, which takes into account the course rating as well as only 96% of that differential, oftentimes making an index a number lower than how many over par you typically shoot, or said another way, it’s meant to measure your potential.

A full-fledged handicap will pull a player’s most recent 20 posted scores, taking the 10 best differentials and multiplying the mean of those 10 differentials by 0.96 to come up with your official handicap index.