The Importance of the Handicap System by George Gabriel

The Importance of the Handicap System


by: George Gabriel

The golf handicap system is implemented at golf courses, for golf tournament play. Trophies and prizes are awarded at the end of golf tournaments, based on golf scores. In order to make the golf game fair play, the handicap system is based on the ten lowest differentials of the last twenty games on an eighteen-hole course in one season. Some golf associations will accept fewer golf games. It can also be used for fair play outside of golf tournaments. The following is a short guide on how the golf handicap system works.

Handicap numbers are recorded for golf players numbered one through thirty-six, the number one being the lowest handicap, and the number thirty-six being the highest handicap. A scratch golfer has no handicap, better known as a scratch player.

Now lets take a look at how these numbers come into affect. If a player's handicap is ten, and another player's handicap are twenty. The difference between the two players is ten golf strokes. Therefore, to even up the match, the player with the lower handicap, which this case is the ten-handicap golf player, has to give out ten golf strokes to his opponent on eighteen holes, to make the golf game fair play. How do you identify on which golf holes they are going to be given out? Scorecard Handicap Example

Typically on most, if not all golf scorecards, you will find numbers 1 through 18 near the bottom of the scorecard beside Men's HCP and Ladies HCP. The numbers 1 through 18, you will also find out of order. The reason for the disorder of numbers is, the number 1 being the hardest golf hole, and the number 18 being the easiest golf hole. The golf course, or architect of the golf course, determines the order of numbers on any given golf hole, by the yardage and slope rating, and or other difficulty of the golf hole.

Typically on most, if not all golf scorecards, you will find numbers 1 through 18 near the bottom of the scorecard beside Men’s HCP and Ladies HCP. The numbers 1 through 18, you will also find out of order. The reason for the disorder of numbers is, the number 1 being the hardest golf hole, and the number 18 being the easiest golf hole. The golf course, or architect of the golf course, determines the order of numbers on any given golf hole, by the yardage and slope rating, and or other difficulty of the golf hole.

Now that we have determined how many golf strokes are to be given out, and where they are to be taken. The higher handicap in this case, which is the twenty handicap golf player, gets ten golf strokes for eighteen holes, on holes numbered 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9, and 10. This should make the match a lot closer, if both players are playing within their game. It typically works out to one golf stroke on every other golf hole in this example, depending on how the golf course is laid out. Another example would be a scratch player and a thirty-six-handicap player, the scratch player having to give out two golf strokes on every hole.

Keeping track of your handicap, and using a handicap system, will help make the game fair play in a lot of golf matches, when playing against other opponents.

Check with your local golf pro, or golf association, on an official guide for the golf handicap system, and for maintaining a legitimate handicap. If you belong to a golf course, they should have a system in place to use for tournament play, which is recognized by most golf courses and golf associations. You can also find golf handicap software on keeping track of a golf handicap.

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