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 and net par. 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.