When anyone takes up golf there is so much to learn and take in that it can all be a bit daunting. This is definitely the case with the handicap system. It is vitally important to the game and allows all amateurs regardless of their playing ability to play together competitively but it can confuse the most brightest of minds.
A handicap is determined by the golfers ability and regularly adjusted to reflect their current form or playing level. It is usually calculated over the last 10 rounds of golf.
A golf course consists of 18 holes, generally speaking made up of four par 3’s, four par 5’s and ten par 4’s resulting in the course having a par of 72.
So if the par is 72 a scratch golfer will be expected to take 72 shots to complete the course. This would mean he/she has played to par. A 10 handicap golfer will be in 82 (10 + 72) and a 18 handicap golfer in 90 (18 + 72).
If the par of the hole is three, a scratch golfer should score 3 or ‘par’ and a 18 handicap golfer 4 or ‘bogey’.
In a competition, if the scratch golfer was competing against a 18 handicap player and scored par of 72 and the 18 handicap scored 90 or 18 over, the match would be a draw. Why? The 18 handicap player would get 18 shots deducted from his total score which would result in 72.
The handicap system works excellently to encourage competitiveness in all club competitions. There are many different scoring systems like matchplay, stableford or stroke play where the handicap system works effortlessly to calculate the winner and losers.
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