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Handicapping Corner

25 JUN 2022

Handicap Index Myths


Golf is a unique game in that anyone can compete with anyone else, regardless of skill level. This is thanks to handicapping, which levels the playing field and enables golfers of all abilities to compete on a fair basis.

No matter your skill level, if you have a Handicap Index, you can compete with another golfer in a fair competition, in any format, on any course, anywhere in the world.

Below are few handicap-index misconceptions and some explanations we hope clear things up.



Myth #1: Handicap Index is your average score

Many golfers hear someone is a 2 handicap and assume that golfer should shoot two over par every time they tee it up. 

A Handicap Index is a numerical value that represents a golfer’s demonstrated ability not a golfer’s average score and instead how a golfer can perform on a golf course.


Myth #2: Shoot your handicap every game

Handicap Index does not represent your expected score every time you play. It reflects demonstrated ability, not average ability. It can be frustrating not to play to your potential — but that’s golf.

It is expected that in any given round, you are going to shoot two, four, five strokes higher than your Handicap Index and it could be higher than that if you just have a poor day. Golfers vary from a standpoint of consistency. But generally, one in every four to five rounds you will play to your handicap.


Myth #3: Handicap Index counts all your scores

Handicap Index is calculated by averaging the best eight Score Differentials out of your most recent 20 scores.  Each time you tee it up, it is more likely than not that it will not affect your Handicap Index, unless it’s one of your eight best rounds. 

Myth #4: All scores are created equal

Score differential is a key ingredient in Handicap Index calculation.

A Score Differential measures the performance of a round in relation to the relative difficulty of the course that was played, measured by the course rating and slope rating.  The result of the daily playing conditions calculation is also included in the Score Differential calculation, which may provide an adjustment if course and/or weather conditions significantly impacted scores on that day.

The score differential formula is as follows: (113 / Slope Rating) x (Adjusted Gross Score – Course Rating – PCC adjustment).

A pair of 78s from two different courses could count in different ways for handicap purposes. This is because Score Differential is used to calculate your handicap, and not raw scores in relation to par.

Shooting an 82 on a difficult course may be a much more impressive performance than a 78 on an easier course.

Please contact your handicap committee members if you have questions, need clarification, or have suggestions.

2022 Handicap Committee Members:

Nancy Cloutier -

Gail Deitz -

Steven Sotnick -

Amarjit Singh Tathgur -

Trevor Ellis -

Michael Walsh -

Brian Gore -



Brian Gore, Handicap Committee Chair