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Rules of Handicapping FAQs

Course Handicap and Playing Handicap

Q. What is the difference between a Course Handicap™ and Playing Handicap™?

A. To receive a Course Handicap, or a Playing Handicap, you must have first established a Handicap Index by posting at least 54 holes comprised of 9- and/or 18-hole rounds.

A Course Handicap represents the number of strokes needed to play to par of the tees being played. This is the number used to adjust hole scores for net double bogey.

A Playing Handicap is the actual number of strokes you receive or give during a round and is the number used for the purposes of the game or competition. This number is often the same as a Course Handicap, however, if a handicap allowance is applied, if the format is match play, or if players are competing from tees with different pars, it may be different.

Visit the USGA Course Handicap™ Calculator here.

(Rule 6.1 and 6.2, Rules of Handicapping)