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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 or net par.

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)