iOS Handicap App
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USGA Handicap Index
  • Post 5 Scores to get a USGA Handicap Index
  • Handicaps are calculated using the USGA Handicap System™
Android Handicap App
The Diablo Golf Handicap Tracker

What is a golf handicap?

Handicap Differential Graph A USGA Handicap Index serves as a snapshot of a player’s scoring potential based on recent performance. It is the number attached to a player’s potential scoring ability in relation to a very skilled player. The lower the USGA Handicap Index, the better the golfer.

Handicaps allow players of different skill levels to compete on relatively even terms on any course. Think of a handicap as a way for a less skilled player to be compensated when competing against a more skilled golfer.

Contrary to common belief, a handicap is not meant to show your average score. It’s actually meant to be a measure of your potential score on a “good day.” Handicaps are revised on the 1st and 15th of each month to track changes in your performance and to reflect your most current potential scoring ability.

Handicap Index vs. Course Handicap

Your golf handicap, or USGA Handicap Index, shouldn’t be confused with a Course Handicap. A Course Handicap represents the number of strokes you’re granted to play to scratch on a specific course and set of tees, while your USGA Handicap Index is the number that follows you to every course and represents your skill level.

Course Handicap is not a static number assigned to a course. Since not all courses are created equal, this will give you the extra strokes you’ll need on a more challenging course, while trimming the strokes you’re allowed on an easier one.

How to Calculate a USGA Handicap Index

A USGA Handicap Index is determined using a method that’s universally recognized. Players don’t often need to do their own calculations, but it’s a good idea to have a fundamental understanding of the formula used.

Equitable Stroke Control

How a USGA Handicap Index is Calculated

The things you will need:
  • Adjusted gross scores (A minimum of 5 scores and a maximum of 20)
  • The Course Rating and Slope Rating of each course these rounds were played on

Step 1: Use the table to determine the number of Handicap Differential(s) to use

Step 2: Determine the Handicap Differential for each acceptable score.

A Handicap Differential is computed from four elements: adjusted gross score, USGA Course Rating, Slope Rating, and 113 (the Slope Rating of a course of standard difficulty). To determine the Handicap Differential, subtract the USGA Course Rating from the adjusted gross score; multiply the difference by 113; and divide the resulting number by the Slope Rating. Round the final number to the nearest tenth.

Handicap Differential = (Adjusted Gross Score - USGA Course Rating) x 113 / Slope Rating

Step 3: Average the Handicap Differential(s) being used

Step 4: Multiply the average by .96 (96%).

Step 5: Delete all numbers after the tenths's digit (truncate). Do not round to the nearest tenth. The resulting figure is your Handicap Index.

Why do I need a USGA Handicap Index?

Anybody can claim a handicap based on their own calculations. This is fine for the most casual golfer, but it holds no weight in a tournament or when doing a serious comparison of scoring potential between players. However, it’s easy to change that by joining a USGA-conforming golf club and getting a USGA Handicap Index.

You’ll need a handicap index to compete in any USGA-sanctioned tournament or event, and to be taken seriously among avid golfers.

By establishing a handicap index through a USGA-conforming golf club, you’ll be using the universally recognized USGA Handicap System to back and maintain the integrity of your handicap. A handicap index also comes with the benefit of portability. Since all USGA-recognized golf courses are assigned a course and slope rating, you’ll be able to easily find your course handicap anywhere you play.

Where do I get a golf handicap index?

Your USGA Handicap Index is available through a golf club licensed to use the Handicap System. By using the DiabloGolf handicap tracker you'll have full access to golf clubs nationwide that can establish and maintain your USGA Handicap Index for you.

DiabloGolf gives you the added freedom of being able to use the USGA Handicap System and view your official USGA Handicap Index right from your mobile device.

DiabloGolf’s suite of features also allow you to:

  • Calculate your golf course handicap with slope and rating info
  • Rate courses and write reviews
  • Use social networking functions to easily find other DiabloGolf members, follow your friends’ handicaps, and even recruit new members from your contact list
  • Locate more than 18,000 golf courses using GPS
  • Post scores instantly
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