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Course Handicap™ and Playing Handicap™

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What you should know - In 150 words or less

Your Handicap Index® is a portable number that represents your demonstrated ability - but when it comes time to tee it up, that number is converted to a Course Handicap, which accounts for the difficulty of the course and tees played. 

When playing a recreational round, all you need to know is your Course Handicap, which is the number used to adjust hole scores for net double bogey.  A Course Handicap calculator can be found here.

However, if you’re playing in a format for which a handicap allowance has been applied for equity (for example, 85% in four-ball stroke play), you’ll also have a Playing Handicap, which is the number used for the purposes of the game or competition.

Here's a simple trick to help remember how these values differ:

  • Course Handicap = You against the course.
  • Playing Handicap = You against the other players. 

Did you know...

You can determine your "Target Score" (the score you'll achieve if you play to your handicap) by simply adding together your Course Handicap + par of the tees being played?

A player typically plays to their handicap about 20% of the time and can expect to score about 2-4 strokes higher in most rounds.


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