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Golf Handicap Calculation

Get a recognised Golf Handicap Certificate today for only £21.95.

How your Initial golf handicap is calculated

To calculate your first (initial) golf handicap online you need to enter three golf cards, which can be done once you have registered. Our system will then assess your 3 cards to determine which one will provide the best Nett Differential Score (NDS); essentially this is done by reducing any holes that are greater than 2 shots over par to being 2 shots over par, for example, if you have entered an 8 on a par 5 then, for the sake of this calculation, our system will read it as a 7.

Although UK rules does not put a limit on the number of holes/shots that are reduced, we limit ours to a maximum of three shots to ensure that we only provide handicaps to players that we feel can play to 28.0 or 36.0 (for ladies), at worst. If our system fails to calculate your golf handicap it is because the maximum number of adjusted holes has been reached. In these situations we will review cards manually to assess if we can provide the maximum handicap.

Once any holes have been reduced to double-bogey (maximum of three) the course SSS (Standard Scratch Score) is then substracted from the adjusted Gross Score, which is done in turn for each of the 3 cards.  The lowest result from the scorecards is used to allot the players initial golf handicap. For example, if the best card had a Gross Score of 94 and this was reduced by two shots for the double-bogey adjustment resulting in an adjusted score of 92, the course SSS (let's say it's 69, for example) is subtracted from this giving 23.0, this becomes the players golf handicap.

Note: the Course Par plays no part in the initial golf handicap calculation.

Enter 3 scorecards online now and check your official golf handicap >>

How your golf handicap is adjusted ongoing

Golf handicaps are divided into 5 categories as shown here, each of these categories has a respective buffer zone that is used to assess whether or not a handicap should change. The table below displays the categories along with relevant Adjustment Factors.

Category 1 Golf Handicaps of 5 or less Buffer Zone = 0 to 1 shot Adjustment factor = 0.1
Category 2 Golf Handicaps of 6 to 12 inclusive Buffer Zone = 0 to 2 shots Adjustment factor = 0.2
Category 3 Golf Handicaps of 13 to 20 inclusive Buffer Zone = 0 to 3 shots Adjustment factor = 0.3

Category 4

Golf Handicaps of 21 to 28 inclusive Buffer Zone = 0 to 4 shots Adjustment factor = 0.4
Category 5 Golf Handicaps of 29 to 36 inclusive Buffer Zone = 0 to 5 shots Adjustment factor = 0.5

Each time you enter a new card into our system you can use it to adjust your golf handicap. Depending on which Category you fall in to a Buffer Zone and respective Adjustment Factor is applied, essentially this allows you to enter cards that are higher than your Handicap without your handicap being increased. To demonstrate how this works, please study the two examples shown below.

Examples of adjustments:
Lets assume that your golf handicap is 17.0 (Cat 3) and the card that you entered was with a gross score of 87 and the SSS for the tee colour is 67, in this case your net score would be 3 shots (87 – 67 = 20) above your handicap . As your Buffer Zone allows you to be between 0 and 3 Shots above your handicap (17 + 3) then no adjustment is made. If your gross score was 89 resulting in your net score being 2 shots higher than your Buffer Zone, then your handicap would increase by 0.1, which is the Maximum increase allowed. However, if your gross score was 82 with course SSS of 67 resulting in your net score being 2 shots below your handicap (82 – 67 = 15) Then your are below the Buffer Zone of zero so an adjustment is required. The adjustment would be the number of shots below handicap x the Adjustment Factor i.e. 2 x 0.3 resulting in a cut of 0.6 shots. Your new Exact Handicap would now Be 17.0 – 0.6 = 16.4 giving you a Playing Handicap of 16.

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