Friday, January 20, 2012

What to Know About Golf Handicapping?

If you've ever heard two golfers discuss their handicaps, the conversation isn't necessarily shop talk. Golf handicaps are a tangible approach to calculating and representing a golfer's current skill level. Theoretically, a golfer with the better handicap is more likely to win a match based on past performances. Any golfer can get a handicap, and in the world of competitive golf, they carry a lot of weight.
A golf handicap is a simple means of measuring your golfing ability. Competitive golf relies heavily on handicaps when organizers fill spots in tournaments and competitions. For example, some golf tournaments -- professional ones in particular -- require a golfer to meet a minimum handicap score, which helps ensure that no golfer gets into a prestigious tournament through timely luck. Handicaps also can determine what courses you are able to play and even how you are ranked at your country club.
Earning a Handicap
To receive a handicap, you must play at least five rounds of golf at an approved golf course. Check with the United States Golf Association to make sure the course is accredited. You may then play the minimum number of rounds and provide those scores to the golf club for calculation. The club will use a formula that meshes your scores with the course's difficulty level. The product of the formula will be your handicap number.
Changes to Handicap
Your handicap score is not static. Anytime you play a round of golf on a course where handicaps are recognized, your handicap could change. Your course scores are entered into a database that tracks your 20 most recent rounds of golf to figure your handicap. This will not always be your highest handicap score, but it represents your current skill level. This increases the importance of every stroke in a round of golf, and it prevents players from living off a reputation they cannot uphold on the golf course.
Golf handicap calculators consider a numerical representation of a course's difficulty. This number is called the "course handicap," and it attempts to rate the course difficulty in relation to other courses. To some degree, this is a subjective process because it is impossible to incorporate all of the influencing factors of a golf course when calculating difficulty. Although the course handicap is a general guideline, you may consider a course to be tougher or easier than its handicap suggests.

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