What is the handicap and how does it relate to the golf course?

What is the handicap and how does it relate to the golf course?

Although in a sport like golf each player competes against himself and his dexterity, at the tournaments it is necessary that the players are organized in some way to deal with competitors of the same level. Realistically, what fun would it be for a beginner to face off against a professional golfer? The only thing we would accomplish would be for the better player to become bored and the worse ending up each match totally frustrated. To achieve this kind of “balance” between golfers, the famous handicap is used, often mentioned but that still remains a difficult concept to understand for the most inexperienced in this sport.

So then, what is the handicap and how does it work? A handicap is a number that indicates the average number of swings that you must give a player in a particular field to complete the tour. As we discussed earlier, it is basically used to level a match and uses a fairly simple rule: in a tournament where a player competes against others with lower-handicap, they are permitted to give a greater number of swings until the end of the tour so they can match the conditions. To give an example easier to understand, it is the same as if it at an athletics race the runners with worst times had the starting line a few meters ahead than that of the faster runners.

Now that we know that it is the handicap and what it is used for, it is necessary to know that there are several types of handicaps: for players, for the course, the game and for the different holes of a tour.

¿How is the handicap of the player calculated?

A handicap is an average mark that relates the number of extra swings that a player takes during a tour with the “idea: number of swings that should be given. That is to say, the handicap is the difference between the score of the golfer and the par for the course. For example, if a player has a handicap of 28 on a par 72 course is because he needs to give 100 strokes to complete the tour (100 would be the sum of 72 + 28). This handicap of the player is obtained through the results achieved in the competitions or tournaments in which he participates and drops when he plays less.

How do you set the handicap for the course?

The handicap of the course can vary in each game and it is set in relation to the official par for each hole-which never varies, and the handicap that the organization of the tournament agrees upon depending on which is the category of the players and the meteorological conditions at the time of the match.

So then, how do they relate the handicap of the course to the handicpa of the player? Before each match is necessary to adjust both handicaps to obtain what is known as “game handicap”. To find out which is this indicator it is easiest to see the tables that each club has their fields. If for any reason you could consult this table, it would be necessary to perform the following equation:

  • Game Handicap= [ (Handicap of the player X Slope) / 113] + value of the field – Par for the course

* The course Slope is the difference between the results of a professional and an amateur in that course.
* The number 113 is the standard slope number at the global level.

I already know the game handicap, now how do I use it?

Let’s suppose that the game handicap has come out to be 25 swings, then we will have 25 shots of advantage to spread between the 18-holes that normally make up a course. The spread can be done in any way and the advantage swings cannot be saved for use in that hole that always gives us problems. Swings must be given, compulsorily, following the order of difficulty of the various holes, i.e. in the order of the hole handicap, going from handicap 1 –the easier hole- to handicap 18 -the most difficult hole-.

Therefore, since we have obtained 25 advantage swings, we will use a swing for every hole – that is to say, 18- and the remaining 7 will be used in the holes that have a handicap of 1 to 7 –so that in those holes instead of an advantage swing we will be able to use 2-.
All of these swings and scores should be recorded in a card, and all of these results, after the conclusion of the tournament, are sent to the Golf Federation Courses, where they will do the official handicap obtained and will be updated after each tournament.
Although it may seem complex, after practicing a couple of times, the different concepts of the handicap are easily learned. In any case, it was best to focus on enjoying the match and leaving the handicaps and scores in the background.

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