Resources on this topic:
- Detailed Explainer - Understanding the soft cap and hard cap
Although all players have good and bad stretches, a player's underlying ability does not typically change significantly within a one-year period. As a result, the soft cap and hard cap are built into the Handicap Index calculation as a safeguard to prevent extreme upward movement.
The illustration below demonstrates how the caps are tied to a player's Low Handicap Index - which is used as a reference point: