A short guide to the handicap system

To understand the USGA handicap system, it’s useful to know a few facts about how your handicap index is calculated, and how that is used to determine your course handicap. Full details on the calculation of your handicap index are in Section 10 of the Handicap System manual, linked below.

When you post a score, the system is actually recording a differential score, not your actual score. That differential is your score, minus the course rating (for example, the MGA tees on the championship course have a course rating of 70.9) , then multiplied by 113, and divided by the slope for the tees. The system then takes the best ten of your last twenty differentials, averages them, and multiplies that by .96. This is your handicap index.

Exceptional tournament scores can lower your handicap index. The process for that is found in the Handicap System guide listed below, in section 10-3

The calculation of your course handicap is done by taking your handicap index, multiplying that by the slope of the course (again using the MGA tees, 130), and dividing by 113. That number is rounded to the nearest whole number.

For very low handicap players, the course handicap will be very close to the handicap index. For example, a 1.6 handicap index on the MGA tees is a 2 course handicap ( (1.6 x 130)/113 = 1.8 ). For a high handicap player, the course handicap may be several strokes higher than the handicap index. For a 25.0 handicap index, the MGA course handicap will be 29 ( (25.0 x 130)/113 = 28.7 ).

The kiosk in the Tanglewood clubhouse can be used to find a 9 or 18 hole course handicap for the Tanglewood courses. The GHIN app on a smartphone will calculate your course handicap in at least two different ways. From the GHIN homepage, select ‘C.H. Calculator’, then:

  1. increase or decrease the slope rating on the Course Handicap tab, or
  2. select the ‘Partner Handicaps’ tab, and select a course.

All of the details about the USGA Handicap System are available online at the USGA Handicap System webpage.

You can also take the Online Handicap System Seminar

If you have any questions, please email the Handicap Chairman

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