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Golf Handicaps Decoded
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The Callaway System is a handicap algorithm designed to provide a handicap estimate based on one round of play. The Callaway 'handicap' can then be used to calculate a net score for that round. The Callaway system is quite popular for company outings and tournaments where most golfers do not have handicaps. It is also relatively straightforward to calculate. We explain the Callaway calculation below.
The Callaway system is a "worst-holes" calculation, in that it uses up to six of the player's worst holes in a round, adjusted by a 'factor,' to obtain a handicap. That handicap is then subtracted from the player's gross score to obtain a net score. The net scores for all players can be compared to see who will win the tournament prize.
Use the table below to calculate your Callaway handicap. First, look up your gross score on the left side of the table, and find how many holes you will need to use to calculate your handicap.
Next, take look up the # of worst scores (for 2 1/2, the third worst score is divided by two), but with the following rules:
Your net score is simply your gross score minus your Callaway handicap (in the above example, your net score is 89 - 19 = 70).
Here is an example: Imagine a Callaway tournament where you shoot a 95. You look up in the table and find that your Callaway handicap is your 2 1/2 worst scores plus an adjustment factor of +2. Your four worst scores are an 8 on a par 5, a 7 on a par 5, a 7 on a par 4, and a 7 on a par 3. But, your worst score, the 8, took place on the 17th hole and therefore cannot count towards your Callaway handicap. In addition, because your 7 on the par 3 is more than twice the par value, it can only count as a six towards the Callaway handicap. The resulting handicap is 7 + 7 + 6/2 + 2 (Adj Factor) = 19. Your net score is 95 - 19 = 76.
A Quick WarningNext time you have an office tournament, or go out with friends who don't have handicaps, tell them about MyScorecard.com. And then, if you would like to play that day, you can use the Callaway System to approximate handicaps and create a more exciting and competitive round for everyone.
Many people feel that though the Callaway system gives a sense of competitiveness, it is unreliable and biased towards better players - i.e. even though players with higher gross scores will be given net scores within a few strokes of the leaders, the player with the lowest gross score will be more than likely become the low net score winner. Nonetheless, many people enjoy using the Callaway system for tournaments, as it always adds excitement and is better than competing solely on a gross score basis.