Want to know your golf handicap? With recent changes to the World Handicap System, things can be a bit confusing for the average golfer. This post will help you use your golf score to determine an official handicap.

As a free bonus, we also want to help the beginner golfer understand why a handicap system exists in the first place.

No need to thank us, we’re just typing from the outflow of our hearts.

So let’s start with the handicap system itself.

Table of Contents

## Why Does the Golf Handicap System Exist?

The simplest explanation goes something like this.

Let’s pretend Billy Bob is a local scratch golfer. He’s good, and he knows it. That means at his local country club (which is a par 72 golf course with an average USGA course rating), Billy Bob will shoot a 72. This is his average score so he essentially has a zero handicap.

Can he play professional golf? Will he qualify for the PGA Tour? No and no, but locally he’s a bit of a legend.

Alright, still with me? Let’s keep pretending.

Joe Schmo enters The Big Fun Golf Tournament at Billy Bob’s country club. Joe is one of many recreational golfers who want to participate in this event. A good golf score for Joe is an 84. He plays golf a few times per month, watches the PGA Tour and has a decent golf game, but there is virtually no chance that he can beat Billy Bob head to head in this tournament.

The handicap system was created for scenarios like this.

Assuming The Big Fun Golf Tournament isn’t a scratch tournament (which would be a tournament with straight scores and no handicap), Joe Schmo gets the benefit of his official handicap (let’s assume its a 12). If he shoots an 84 on tournament day (his typical score), that essentially counts as an 72 (His score of 84 – his handicap of 12=72).

If Billy Bob shoots a 74, he would actually lose the head to head matchup with Joe Schmo (His score of 74 – his handicap of 0=74).

A golfers handicap allows them to compete with players of a more advanced skill level. In these instances, someone with a high handicap stands a chance against a golfer with a single digit handicap. This levels the playing field for official matches and keeps more people engaged in the sport.

## So how do I calculate my handicap?

Thankfully, you don’t have to!

If you’re in the US, register with the United States Golf Association (there will be a small fee). Once you’re registered, you’ll receive a GHIN number. This will allow you to post scores online so you don’t have to do any math. Just let the computer wizardry do all the work for you!

My 7th grade math teacher is rolling around in his grave right now. This guy was the only teacher in the school who wouldn’t let us use calculators…but I digress.

Thanks to changes implemented in 2020, the World Handicap System takes all sorts of factors into account to determine the most accurate handicap possible. For example, a male golfer gets treated differently than a female golfer. The tees you play from are factored in. Abnormally high and low scores are mitigated, etc.

In other words, it’s a detailed and fair system.

Gemma Hunter, Head of Handicapping and Course Rating with England Golf, goes through and answers virtually every question you could possibly imagine on this topic. Dig in here.

**What Is My Handicap if I Shoot 75?**

Golf handicaps are calculated using a fancy formula that takes into account a number of factors (difficultly of the course, what tees you play from, etc.), so calculating a simple number is easier said than done.

With that disclaimer out in the open, if you’re looking for a quick imperfect reference number:

**If you shoot a 75, you can say that your handicap is a 3.**

In positive news, you’re a single digit handicap and you’re approaching scratch golfer territory.

**What Is My Handicap if I Shoot 80?**

Golf handicaps are calculated using a fancy formula that takes into account a number of factors (difficultly of the course, what tees you play from, etc.), so calculating a simple number is easier said than done.

With that disclaimer out in the open, if you’re looking for a quick imperfect reference number:

**If you shoot a 80, you can say that your handicap is an 8.**

This is a good golf handicap. Your rounds fall in the low handicapper territory or the mid handicapper territory, depending on the day.

## What Is My Handicap if I Shoot 85?

Golf handicaps are calculated using a fancy formula that takes into account a number of factors (difficultly of the course, what tees you play from, etc.), so calculating a simple number is easier said than done.

With that disclaimer out in the open, if you’re looking for a quick imperfect reference number:

**If you shoot a 85, you can say that your handicap is an 13.**

You are a mid handicap golfer, which is an average handicap (more golfers fall into this group than any other). The good news: You’re a competent amateur golfer. There’s lots of great golf club and golf ball options designed just for you!

## What Is My Handicap if I Shoot 90?

With that disclaimer out in the open, if you’re looking for a quick imperfect reference number:

**If you shoot a 90, you can say that your handicap is an 18.**

This is an average golf handicap. There’s some room to improve, but you have some good moments on the course.

## What Is My Handicap if I Shoot 95?

With that disclaimer out in the open, if you’re looking for a quick imperfect reference number:

**If you shoot a 95, you can say that your handicap is an 23.**

## What Is My Golf Handicap if I Shoot 100?

With that disclaimer out in the open, if you’re looking for a quick imperfect reference number:

**If you shoot a 100, you can say that your handicap is an 28.**

## What Is My Handicap if I Shoot 105? 110? 115?

Not very good, so don’t worry about terms like handicap index or adjusted gross score.

You can watch the Golf Channel and all that other fun stuff, but it would be wise to invest in some lessons so you can move from beginner golfer to a weekend warrior. Once you know you’re making progress, then you can start to learn the ins and outs of the USGA handicap system.

**What is a Course Rating?**

A course rating is the easier of the two ratings to understand since the number is expressed in how many strokes a **scratch golfer** can expect to shoot. A par 72 course with a course rating of 68.5 is easier than a course rating of 74.9.

**What is Course Slope or Slope Rating?**

A course’s slope rating is a bit more complicated. Slope rating (which is a United States Golf Association trademark) measures the difficulty of a course for the bogey golfer (relative to the course rating). A slope rating will range from 55 (very easy) to 155 (very difficult).

**The average slope rating is 113.**

**How Often Should I Adjust My Handicap?**

Your golf handicap is technically being adjusted every time you complete a round. It isn’t a fixed number, so be sure to enter your score every time you play.