A handicap is an indication of a player's ability. A specific formula is used to compute handicaps by factoring in a player's score and the difficulty of the course played.
Why would I want to have a Handicap?
A handicap allows players of different ability levels to compete with each other. For example, generally, if a player with a 20 handicap has a score of 100, her net score is 80 (100 - 20 = 80) while a player with a 27 handicap and a score of 107 also has a net score of 80. Using handicaps helps to even the playing field, making the game more fun.
Handicaps also travel with you. If you play a course that is more difficult than your home course, your handicap will generally be higher and, on an easier course, will generally be lower.
When should I establish a Handicap?
If you are just learning the game of golf and spend the majority of your time taking lessons or practicing, then it may be too early for you to establish a handicap. Once you start playing 9 or 18 hole rounds, you should establish your handicap. After you have obtained a handicap number from your handicapping service (GHIN, GolfNet, etc.), you will need to post scores from five 18-hole or ten 9-holes rounds of golf to get your first Handicap Index. Handicaps are only revised on the 1st and 15th of each month. Any scores posted between those dates are held in the system until the next revision.
How do I establish a Handicap?
LPGA Amateurs provides a handicap service as a part of your membership. This is included with the Handicap System (GN21) that is offered to every member affiliated with a chapter. In order to use this service you must first activate your GN21 account (found in the Member Clubhouse at www.LPGAamateurs.com). You then must enter a minimum of 5 scores (total of 90 holes) to establish your handicap.
What is a Course Handicap™?