Before you have a handicap

You will need to enter 3 scorecards to get your first golf handicap, this can be done free of charge from our calculator. Our calculator will then calculate which scorecard will provide the best Nett Differential Score, this is done by reducing any holes that are greater than 2 shots over par to being 2 shots over par, for example, if you have posted an 8 on a par 5 then, for the sake of this calculation, our calculator will use a 7.

Once any holes have been reduced to double-bogey (maximum of three) the course Standard Scratch Score (SSS) is then deducted from the adjusted Gross Score, which is done in turn for each of the 3 cards.  The lowest result from the scorecards is used to allot the players initial golf handicap. For example, if the best card had a Gross Score of 94 and this was reduced by two shots for the double-bogey adjustment resulting in an adjusted score of 92, the course SSS (let’s say it’s 69, for example) is subtracted from this giving 23.0, this becomes the players golf handicap.

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Now you have a golf handicap

Golf handicaps are divided into 5 categories as shown here, each of these categories has a respective buffer zone that is used to assess whether or not a handicap should change. The table below displays the categories along with relevant Adjustment Factors.

Category 1 Golf Handicaps of 5 or less Buffer Zone = 0 to 1 shot Adjustment factor = 0.1
Category 2 Golf Handicaps of 6 to 12 inclusive Buffer Zone = 0 to 2 shots Adjustment factor = 0.2
Category 3 Golf Handicaps of 13 to 20 inclusive Buffer Zone = 0 to 3 shots Adjustment factor = 0.3
Category 4 Golf Handicaps of 21 to 28 inclusive Buffer Zone = 0 to 4 shots Adjustment factor = 0.4
Category 5 Golf Handicaps of 29 to 36 inclusive Buffer Zone = 0 to 5 shots Adjustment factor = 0.5

Everytime you enter a new card into our calculator you can use it to adjust your golf handicap. Depending on which Category you fall in to a Buffer Zone and respective Adjustment Factor is applied, essentially this allows you to enter cards that are higher than your Handicap without your handicap being increased. Please see below for a working example of an adjustment.

Adjustment example:

Based on that your golf handicap is 18.0, Category 3, and your gross score was 88 and the SSS for the course is 68, in this case your net score would be 2 shots (88 – 68 = 20) above your handicap . As your Buffer Zone allows you to be between 0 and 3 Shots above your handicap (18 + 2) then no adjustment is made. If your gross score was 91 resulting in your net score being 2 shots higher than your Buffer Zone, then your handicap would increase by 0.1, which is the Maximum increase allowed. However, if your gross score was 82 with course SSS of 68 resulting in your net score being 4 shots below your handicap (82 – 68 = 14) Then an adjustment is required. The adjustment would be the number of shots below handicap x the Adjustment Factor i.e. 4 x 0.3 resulting in a cut of 1.2 shots. Your new Exact Handicap would now Be 18.0 – 1.2 = 16.8 giving you a Playing Handicap of 17.

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