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I Don’t Play to My Handicap

We often hear players make the statement “I don’t play to my handicap, why is my index so low?”.┬áThe USGA explains why:

“Recognize that your worst scores are not truly utilized in the calculation of a Handicap Index; only the best 10 scores are utilized and the worst 10 are disregarded, then the best 10 are averaged. This ratio tells us playing to a handicap happens less than half of the time. Including all of the handicap formula, the resulting probability is that playing to your handicap happens only once out of four to five rounds.

The USGA isn’t out to discourage you, but in order to maintain a semblance of equitable competition for players with differing skills in varying formats, we have determined this probability as the best choice for our formula. If we used all scores, those players with higher handicaps would see their values increase significantly, while those with lower values would not increase as much. This would tip the balance of the system heavily toward higher handicap players. We believe there should be an incentive toward improving one’s game.

We can’t all be scratch golfers, but we can set a target to strive for to play to our handicap – and we can determine what that means. And don’t get discouraged if you only play to your handicap 20-25 percent of the time.”

To read the complete article, please click here.


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