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What is the difference between handicap and handicap index?

What is the difference between handicap and handicap index?

What is the difference between handicap and handicap index?

Golf Chats is a website to encourage discussions on various subjects relating to the game of golf. I am Mel Sole, Director of Instruction of the Mel Sole Golf School and SAPGA Master Professional.  I invite you to enter into a discussion on this or any article on the golfchats.com website.  The input is for the entire subscriber base to learn something new each time!  Please post your comments below.  Keep it clean and tasteful.  We are here to learn from one another!

The handicap system allows golfers of all skill levels to compete on an equal basis.

A handicap is a numerical measure of a golfer’s potential playing ability, based on the tees he or she plays from on a given course.  Someone who has an 18 handicap is generally expected to play a full round of golf with approximately 18 over par.  A handicap index makes sure these golfers compete equally even if they have received their handicaps from different courses.

What is the difference between handicap and handicap index?

The Original Rules of Golf.

Each course is designated a “Slope Rating” from each tee.  This indicates the difficulty of the course.  The higher the Slope Rating, the more difficult the course.  If a player from an easy course with a low Slope rating goes over to play with a friend who is a member of a more challenging course, with a higher Slope rating, even though their handicaps might be the same, in this instance, the player from the more challenging course would have to give the player from the easier course one or even two additional shots in the match.

For answers to the most common questions about handicap calculation, please visit usga.org.

Source: Mel Sole.

Pictures: Alexis Orloff    Steve Collis

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