Golf handicap indicates the degree of skilfulness of a golfer by a numerical measure. It is used to come at a net score using the actual number of scores played, henceforth allowing golfers of different levels to play against each other on moderately equivalent terms. A player’s handicap shows his/her potent.
The Royal and Ancient (R&A) Golf Club is held responsible for the administering of handicap system in all nations where golf is played. However, United States is an exception here. Rules of United States Golf Association(USGA) apply over there. Handicap is measured by using speacial formulae laid by R&A or USGA.
Golfer’s net score = Gross score (actual number of strokes taken) – Player’s handicap
The golfer with the lowest net score wins. Though, there are many trivial variations, but in general, a player’s ability is measured on the basis of his recent history of rounds. Thus, a handicap keeps on wavering and is adjusted as per the increse and decrease in the golfer’s score.
Scratch golfer and Bogey golfer
A player with a handicap of zero is referred to as a scratch golfer.A golfer whose handicap is zero is called a “scratch golfer.”
A player with a handicap of 18 is referred to as a “bogey golfer.”
A handicap below 0 is called ‘plus’ handicap.
Match play vs Stroke play
The number of strokes are calculated in different manner in a match play and stroke play.
Match play : The difference between the golfer’s handicaps is distributed among the holes to be played.
Number of holes played= 18 holes
Frankie’s handicap = 24,
Samuel’s handicap = 14
Here, Frankie is given 10 strokes; 1 on each of the 10 holes distinguished by the handicap measure, 1 through the scorecard reading 10 and no strokes through the rest 8.
Frankie’s handicap = 36
Samuel’s handicap = 14
Here, Frankie is given 22 strokes; 1 on each of the 18 holes, a complementary 1 on the 4 holes distinguished by handicap measure; 1 through the scorecard reading 4.
Stroke play: Instead of the difference between two golfer’s handicap, individual handicap is used to measure additional strokes. This means that a player whose handicap is 10 would be given an additional 1 stroke on each stroke distinguished by the handicap measure, 1 through the scorecard number and no additional stroke on the rest 8.
Frankie’s handicap = 22, is given 22 strokes; 1 on every 18 hole and an extra 1 on each of the 4 holes distinguished by the handicap measure; 1 through the scorecard number viz. 4
Frankie = 1 stroke on a par 4 hole; Strokes played = 6
Samuel = none; Strokes played = 5
Here, the net scores will be equal for both Frankie and Samuel. Had the case been match play, the hole would have been halved. But, in stroke play both will have played net bogey.
A player with a handicap of 22 is granted 22 strokes: one on each of the 18 holes and an additional one on each of the four holes identified by the handicap numbers 1 through 4 on the scorecard.