Golf handicap: Allows Players To Compete On Equal Terms

To allow persons of different golfing proficiency levels to compete against one another on equal terms, it is necessary to measure the amateur golfer's playing abilities with the help of a golf handicap, since a golf handicap helps to calculate a net score from the number of actual strokes. The golf handicap is given to a golfer by a national golf association or by a golf club and the exact rules used can vary from country to country. Golf handicaps are only for amateurs and not used in professional golf.

Determining A Golf Handicap

The golf handicap is found out by using s specific arithmetic formula that can quantify how much below or above par the player should be able to play. Different methods of calculating the golf handicap are used by the United States Golf Association who calculates it for North American players and those for the rest of the world are calculated by the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews, Scotland.

A player can have a net score that is calculated when his or her gross score is subtracted by his or her handicap. Whoever among the competing players has the lowest score will be the winner. The player's handicap refers to his or her potential and is not an average score and it is normal for only about of one fourth of all players to be able to actually attain their handicap score. Normally, handicapping a person is based on their individual playing abilities as evidenced from their recent past history of play and so, the golf handicap can be regularly adjusted upwards or downwards.

Golfers with a zero golf handicap are referred to as "scratch golfers" and one whose handicap is 20 is called a "bogey golfer". There are also "plus handicappers" who have handicaps below zero, and when a plus handicapper finishes his or her round of golf, he or she must add the handicap to the score, instead of subtracting it. US golfers have their handicaps calculated with the help of a number of variables such as their recent golfing history, the course rating as well as slope from these rounds.

The golf handicap is also used to decide which holes a player or team should be granted extra strokes and these can be used to calculate the net score from the actually played strokes or gross score. There is match play as well as stroke play that helps determine how many strokes a player is given. Using match play rules, the difference in a player's or team's handicap is spread among the playing holes. In stroke play however, the player's individual handicap instead of the difference in players' handicap, is used to calculate extra strokes.

All in all, were it not for a golf handicap, it would become near impossible for players of different abilities to have a realistic chance of playing one another competitively.