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USGA Science of Golf Series: How the Handicap System Works

USGA Science of Golf Series: How the Handicap System Works

USGA Science of Golf Series: How the Handicap System Works

Latest Video from the USGA and NBC Learn on the science of golf. This is very quick and clean explaining the complex golf player balance system.

The USGA created the handicap golf system back in 1911 so great players can still — theoretically at least — play competitively against less-skilled players. Many golfers today, though, use their handicap to judge themselves against others as well as courses.

The USGA and NBC Learn partner with golf pros and experts to explore the scientific layers that comprise golf. Even if you think you know all there is know about golf handicaps, you don’t. So no blinking and be ready to play this YouTube video at least twice.

For instance, the roughly five-minute looks at the equation used across the United States to figure out a handicap, which is essentially the difference between the ratings found on a scorecard marked for course difficulty and player skill or bogey rating. What’s discovered is then the slope rating… Here’s the complex formula used: Handicap Differential = (Adjusted Gross Score – USGA Course Rating) x 113 / Slope Rating of course, most decent courses will help you figure it out, handicap calculators are online and the USGA has an app for that, too.


Or maybe it’s best just to tune in here — and get a pen and paper.

And remember, the excellent series is not only meant to help us understand some of the science involved in golf, but also how to put that knowledge to use to improve your own game and make it more fun.

For real. 


Figuring out your golf handicap used to be frustrated but nowadays most people just use a simple touch screen at the clubhouse, or there’s an app for that.


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