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UK Golf Handicaps

What is a Golf Handicap

A golf handicap is a guide to the standard of your golf game. It is designed to represent the number of strokes per round of golf that you would take over that of a "scratch" (0 golf handicap) player.

What is a Official Golf Handicap

In the UK  The Council of National Golf Unions (CONGU) retain the copyright of the Golf Handicap Scheme. The Council of National Golf Unions is made up of representatives from the English Golf Union, Scottish Golf Union, Welsh Golf Union and Golf Union of Ireland. There is only one way to get an ‘official’ golf handicap and that is to join a Golf Club affiliated to The Council of National Golf Unions.

Why would I want a Golf Handicap

There are generally 3 reasons golfers want a golf handicap from 4left.com. The first is to consistently measure their standard of golf and quantify any improvements in their golf game. The second is to provide a fair and equitable measurement to allocate shots when playing golf against other golfers. ( You may find if you play golf in a regular 4ball where no one knows their golf handicap the same guy always wins the money). The third is to provide a golf handicap certificate sometimes required to play golf on a Golf Course. For the latter I always recommend faxing the golf handicap certificate to the Golf Club and confirming it is acceptable prior to booking your golf tee times.


How is a Golf Handicap calcuated

Firstly, the golf handicaps (1 - 28) are divided into categories (you will see your category on your 4left golf handicap certificate)
The categories are

Golf Handicaps 1 - 5 (Category one)
Golf Handicaps 6 - 12 (Category 2)
Golf Handicaps 13 - 19 (Category 3)
Golf Handicaps 20 and over (Category 4)

When you play a round of golf,  take your gross score (the number of stokes you have taken) and then reduce your score on any hole where you took more than a double bogey, to a double bogey (e.g. you score 7 on a par 4, reduce it to 6) - this new score is your gross adjusted score. Now deduct your current playing golf handicap (as shown on your 4left golf handicap certificate) to give your net score for the round.

Let's first assume your net score is above the par for the golf course - this is where the categories are first used. Each category has a buffer zone as follows:

Cat 1 - buffer 1
cat 2 - buffer 2
cat 3 - buffer 3
cat 4 - buffer 4

If the amount you are over is within the buffer for your category, you will have no adjustment to your golf handicap. If you are over by more than the buffer, your golf handicap will increase by 0.1 - note that exact golf handicaps can never increase by more than 0.1 regardless of how badly you score .

Now let's look at what happens if your net is below the par for the golf course. Again the categories come into play as each has a multiplier as follows:

Cat 1 - multiply 0.1
cat 2 - multiply 0.2
cat 3 - multiply 0.3
cat 4 - multiply 0.4

So lets assume your net score is 3 below par and you are in category 3, you multiply 3 x 0.3 = 0.9. So your exact golf handicap is reduced by 0.9