If you’re playing more golf since 2020 (like the rest of the world), chances are you’ve wondered how to get a handicap in golf?
It’s a good question because there is some confusion on how to get one and how much it costs. If you’re a recreational player and don’t want to compete in a men’s or women’s club league (or other tournaments) you probably don’t need a handicap.
But if you’re in love with golf and want to take your game to the next level, a handicap is one of the most important things you can do. Today, we’ll cover these issues and more information to make it easier for you to get started.
How to Get a Handicap in Golf
Getting a handicap is easy and very affordable even if you’re a newer golfer. When you have a handicap you can:
- Track your progress over time.
- Play against other golfers of different handicaps.
- Easily figure out your course handicap as you play different golf courses and tee boxes.
- Handicaps are a great way to track your game over time.
- Handicapping in golf changed with the new system – the World Handicap System (WHS) in 2020.
- You can establish a golf handicap in a multitude of ways even if you don’t belong to a private club.
- Once you get a handicap you’ll receive a GHIN number to enter your scores online. You’ll need to renew your handicap services each year.
Keep reading to learn how to easily sign up for a golf handicap.
Join the USGA
The first way to get a handicap index is to join the USGA or AGA near you. This is the best option to get started if you’re brand new and don’t have a GHIN (golf handicap information network) number yet.
A GHIN is a number assigned to you and how you will enter your scores online.
This will allow you to post your adjusted gross score after rounds and track your progress over time. It’s also needed when you enter into golf competitions as well.
When you join through the USGA they will direct you toward the Allied Golf Association (AGA) to get everything setup. Please note, this is different from signing up for a USGA membership and their initiatives.
Sign Up at Your Country Club
If you belong to a country club, they usually give you a handicap for your membership fee. They might make you pay extra or they’ll just add it to your bill once per year when it’s time to renew your membership.
Sign Up at a Public Golf Club
If you don’t belong to a country club, no worries you can still get a handicap index established. Most public courses can set you up with a handicap index as well or direct you to the regional golf association for more information. It’s important to note you can get an official handicap with an online golf club too.
The fee is nominal – about $25 to $35 per year. You’ll need to renew this membership each year to maintain an active membership.
However, if you forget to renew your membership your account will be frozen but not deleted. To activate, simply sign back up and you’re allowed to start entering scores again.
FAQs About Handicap in Golf
Do you have more questions about establishing a handicap in golf? If so, read the most commonly asked questions and answers below.
What is my golf handicap if I shoot 90? What if I shoot 100?
It’s important to understand that handicap is potential, not so much your score.
For example, if you shoot a 90 your handicap is probably around 14-15. While it’s typically between 24-25 if you shoot 100.
The handicap system takes your best 8 of 20 scores so it’s taking your best scores.
It’s also important that your handicap changes based on the course and tee boxes played. The more rounds you enter, the better it will understand your game.
How do you get a golf handicap without joining a club?
If you don’t belong to a private club, no worries, you can still get a handicap. You can sign up through your state’s website or go to a local golf course and get set up as well.
What is a course handicap?
Each golf course has slope rating and course rating that will impact your official handicap. For example, if you’re a 10 handicap but the course is more challenging and has a 73.0, then your handicap at that particular course is an 11.
What handicap is a bogey golfer?
A bogey golfer implies that you average a bogey (+1) on each hole which equates to a 90 as most courses are a par 72. Your handicap is typically around 14 as handicap represents potential, not just an average score.
But the course rating does play a factor as well.
How do I calculate my handicap index?
For handicap purposes I’d let the computer do the math for you as it’s a complex formula.
Once a player receives their GHIN you can enter your scores (total or hole by hole), tee boxes, and date for each round. The system will then do the handicapping for you and update your index each night.
You can get a handicap whether you belong to a country club or just play at different public courses. I’ve had one for 20 years and it’s a great way to keep and track your scores and abilities over time.
If you’re an avid golfer (or want to become one), you need a handicap.
This will make it easier to play others in matches and a lot of tournaments require golf handicaps to enter. Make sure to log all rounds into the handicap system so you don’t get coined a “sandbagger” by your fellow golf buddies.
Final Thoughts on How to Get a Golf Handicap
Handicaps are very easy to get and something that all serious golfers should have.
For a low cost you can learn a lot about your game and easily compete vs. other players. New golfers should sign up and post scores asap to establish a handicap index.
Not to mention most golf tournaments require you to enter your GHIN when signing up. This makes it easier to flight golfers based on skill level.
Hopefully you can keep practicing and playing to hit your golf goals and lower your handicap.