what is the average handicap in golf

Swinging Statistics: What’s the Average Golf Handicap?

Last Updated on October 23, 2023

Golf is a game of skill, but it’s also about the numbers. The average handicap in golf can be used to determine how good or bad your performance is on any given course. But what exactly does this number mean? In order to understand the average handicap in golf and its importance, we’ll have to dive into some facts and figures from different countries around the world as well as age groups – plus other factors that might affect one’s score. So grab your clubs and get ready for an enlightening journey through everything you need to know about the average handicap in golf.

Table of Contents:

Handicap Insights

A handicap is a numerical measure of a golfer’s potential ability. It is used to allow players of different abilities to compete against each other on an even playing field. The lower the handicap, the better the player’s ability.

Handicaps are calculated by taking into account a golfer’s scores over several rounds of golf and adjusting them based on factors such as course difficulty and weather conditions. A computer program then calculates the average score for all rounds played and assigns that number as the player’s handicap index.

The maximum allowed handicap in most countries is 36 for men and 40 for women, although this can vary depending on where you play golf. To maintain your handicap, you must continue to submit scores from at least five 18-hole rounds or ten 9-hole rounds every year. This ensures that your score reflects your current skill level rather than becoming outdated due to a lack of practice or improvement in technique over time.

When competing against another golfer with a different handicap, one player will receive strokes (or shots) from their opponent based on their respective handicaps; this helps ensure that both players have an equal chance of winning regardless of their skill level difference. For example, if Player A has a 14-handicap while Player B has an 8-handicap, Player B would give 6 strokes (or shots) to Player A during competition – meaning they would subtract 6 points from their total score before comparing it with Player A’s final tally at the end of playtime.

Key Takeaway: A handicap is a numerical measure of a golfer’s potential ability, and it helps ensure that players of different abilities can compete against each other on an even playing field. The maximum allowed handicap for men is 36 and 40 for women. When competing against another player with a different handicap, one will receive strokes from their opponent based on their respective handicaps.

Factors that Affect Handicap

a golf ball in the field

Golfers of all levels are familiar with the concept of a handicap, but many don’t understand what it is or how it works. A handicap is a measure of a golfer’s ability and is used to level the playing field in competitions between golfers of different skill levels. It takes into account factors such as course difficulty, weather conditions, and playing experience to determine each player’s score relative to par for any given round.

Course Difficulty

The difficulty of the course can affect your handicap because more difficult courses will require higher scores than those that are easier. This means that if you play two rounds at two different courses – one easy and one hard – your handicap could be affected differently depending on which course you played first. For example, if you shoot an 80 on an easy course but only manage a 90 on a harder one, then your overall average score would be lower since you scored better on the easier course.

Weather Conditions

Weather conditions can also affect your handicap since they can make certain holes much harder or easier than usual. If there is strong wind during your round, this could cause some shots to go further than expected while others may not reach their intended target; either way, this could result in higher scores for some holes compared to when there isn’t any wind present at all. Similarly, rain or other forms of precipitation can make greens slick and fast, which makes them more difficult to putt accurately, so again, this could lead to higher scores overall for certain players who struggle with these conditions more than others do.

Playing experience is also a factor that affects one’s handicap, as those who have been playing for longer periods of time will be more knowledgeable about how to approach certain situations on the golf course. On the other hand, newer players may not yet possess this knowledge and thus could find themselves in trouble more often, leading to higher scores compared with experienced players who know where they should direct their shots.

Key Takeaway: A handicap is a measure of golfers’ ability that takes into account course difficulty, weather conditions and playing experience. Factors such as these can affect one’s score relative to par, making it important for players to be aware of how they can influence their overall average score.

FAQs in Relation to What is the Average Handicap in Golf

What is a decent golf handicap?

a golf field with some big trees

A decent golf handicap is generally considered to be a score of 18 or lower. This means that the average golfer should be able to complete a round of golf in no more than 18 strokes over par. A good golfer will typically have a handicap between 10 and 15, while an excellent player may have a handicap as low as 5 or 6. The exact number depends on your skill level and experience with the game, but having a handicap below 18 is usually seen as quite respectable among players.

How good is a 20 handicap in golf?

A 20 handicap in golf is considered to be an average level of skill. It generally means that a golfer can shoot around 80-90 on a par 72 course, depending on the difficulty of the course and weather conditions. This score may vary from round to round, but it’s usually consistent enough for players with this handicap to compete against each other fairly. With practice and dedication, players with a 20 handicap can improve their game and lower their scores over time.

What percentage of golfers can break 90?

According to the National Golf Foundation, approximately 25% of all golfers in the UK can break 90 regularly. This means that they can complete an 18-hole round with a score of 89 or lower. Breaking 90 is considered a major milestone for many amateur golfers and requires dedication, practice and skill. It is not impossible for any golfer to achieve this goal with hard work and determination.

What is the most common golf handicap?

The most common golf handicap in the UK is 28. This means that a golfer’s expected score on any given hole should be around four over par. Handicaps are calculated based on a player’s past performance and can range from 0 (scratch) to 54 (beginner). A lower handicap indicates a better skill level, while higher numbers indicate more difficulty for the player. It is important to note that all players have different levels of ability, and no two players will ever have exactly the same handicap.


In conclusion, the average handicap in golf can vary depending on various factors such as country and age group. It is important to understand what a handicap is and how it affects your game before you start trying to improve it. With practice and dedication, anyone can lower their handicap over time and become an even better golfer.

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