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How do I use my Golf Handicap?

One of the useful apects of your MyScorecard Handicap is that it creates an even match between you and your friends every time you play together. In this article, we explain exactly how to use your handicap to create a fair match between golfers.
Course Handicaps
Before you start, it is important to note that you will be using your course handicaps - not your handicap index.

Your handicap index is a course-independent measure (same no matter where you play). In contrast, your course handicap is specific to each course you play and will change from course to course depending upon the course difficulty. You can think of your handicap index as general measure of your skill level, while the course handicap is your expected skill level on that particular course that you will be playing. (An easy way to tell the difference between the two is that your index is to one decimal place, while your course handicap is an integer).

MyScorecard will calculate both your handicap index as well as course handicap for you. Your handicap index is displayed above your Scorecard. To find your course handicap, either click on the handicap index number, or click on the course handicap link below your Scorecard.
To start, find your course handicap at the course you will be playing. Once everyone in the group has their course handicaps, you can use them to even up the matches. We will use the imaginary foursome of Jack, Tom, Brad, and Ryan to illustrate. First, find the member with the lowest course handicap and subtract that number from all four players' course handicaps. The lowest member should now have a handicap of zero. In our example foursome, Jack has the lowest handicap of 12 and subtracts that number from the three other players.

Applying Course Handicaps
    Course Handicap Strokes Given
Jack  12-
Tom  2614
Brad  2311
Ryan  142

The resulting numbers are the strokes each player receives over the eighteen holes (note that the lowest handicap player only gives strokes and never receives any).

But when does each player receive their strokes? For games where total score matters, you simply subtract the full number from each golfer's score at the end of the round. But when the score on each hole matters we need to be able to decide on which hole to give each player strokes. On every course scorecard, you will see a line called 'HDCP.' HDCP stands for Handicap, and rates the difficulty of each hole (1 being the hardest, 18 the easiest). If two friends of course handicaps 10 and 22 play a match, then the less skillful player will receive 12 strokes - one on each of the twelve hardest holes. If the difference between players is 20 strokes, the less skillful player would receive 2 strokes on the holes with handicap 1 and 2, and 1 stroke on remaining 16 holes. For our example foursome, the strokes given on the first seven holes are shown below:

Lowest handicap is subtracted from all other players

When you these remove strokes from each player, the resulting scores are called 'net scores.' With this in mind, you can now play any of the games discussed in the Game of the Month section of the Knowledge Center. Try one the next time you are out on the course!

Do you have advice that answers questions often asked by new players? Send us an email and we will post your advice on the Knowledge Center.

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