Why do I need a golf handicap?

For newcomers and seasoned golfers alike, getting a Handicap Index and understanding it can be one of the great mysteries of golf. But it doesn’t need to be. Through a series of articles, we will take a look at defining a golf handicap, explaining how it’s calculated, how to establish one, and making it work for you!

Let’s start with the first big question, “Why do I even need a handicap?”

A golf handicap makes it possible for fair competition between players of different ability whether it’s in competitive matches, a friendly wager between friends, or a skins game with money on the line just like the Pros! To put it simply, handicaps are equalizers.

If you get invited to play in a company or charity golf tournament, they will likely want to know your handicap in order to make the event fair for everyone. By having a handicap, you can be paired properly.

For any of you who plan on playing courses abroad, a handicap index may be required. There are many courses that will not let you have a tee time without a verifiable handicap.

Our Chapter currently uses the GolfNet handicap system provided by LPGA Amateurs, or individuals may be using GHIN (Golf Handicap International Network) systems on their own.  New members joining in 2022 will need to obtain their own handicap service through a local golf course or by contacting NOGA (Northeast Ohio Golf Association. ( Once you have signed up for GHIN you need to follow these guidelines.  As of January 1, 2022, all Chapters of the LPGA Amateurs will need to acquire a handicap system and we will be passing that information along to our Chapter members.

For more complete information on handicapping and the World Handicap System, please refer to this article.  The USGA (United States Golf Association) also offers a resource for understanding handicapping.  Click here to review.

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