What Does Handicap Mean in Golf?

For golfers of all skill levels, understanding the concept of a handicap is essential to the game. A handicap is a numerical measure of an individual golfer’s potential, and it is used to level the playing field between players of varying ability. Knowing your handicap can help you play better golf, as well as compete more fairly with other players. Let’s look at what exactly a handicap means in golf and how it works. Learn What Does Handicap Mean in Golf?


What Does Handicap Mean in Golf?

What Is a Handicap?

A handicap is essentially a numerical representation of a golfer’s potential to shoot par on any given course. It is calculated by taking into account the scores recorded by that player over multiple rounds on different courses. The lower your handicap, the better player you are considered to be. For example, if you have an 18-handicap, that means that you should theoretically be able to shoot 18 strokes above par per round on any given course — which translates to shooting around 90 on most courses.

How Is Handicapping Calculated?

The calculation for determining a golfer’s handicap involves factors such as their average score for a particular set of rounds or episodes (called “differentials”), as well as their average score overall. Differentials are determined by subtracting the course rating from the player’s score for each round they play on that particular course — so if they shoot an 82 on a 72-par course with a course rating of 74, their differential would be 8 (82 minus 74). By keeping track of these differentials over time and using them to calculate an average score overall, you can get an accurate representation of your current ability level and determine your handicap accordingly.


Handicaps are essential when it comes to playing fair golf games among players who may have vastly different abilities or experience levels. By calculating your handicap, you can accurately assess your current skill level and use it to compete more fairly with other players — no matter how experienced they may be! So next time you’re playing against someone with more experience than you, remember that your handicap gives you an equal opportunity at winning — because in golf, everyone plays from the same tees regardless of their past results!

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