How to Calculate Your Handicap
In order to calculate your handicap index, you will need a minimum of 54 holes of golf (any combination of 9 or 18-hole rounds that add up to 54).
Step #1: Adjust Scores
Once you have 54 hole scores, you will then need to adjust those scores based on the maximum hole scores as stipulated by the World Handicap System's Net Double Bogey Rule.
If you don't yet have an established handicap index, the maximum score you can turn in for any hole is equal to the hole par plus five strokes. So the maximum score would be 8 on a par three, 9 on a par 4, and 10 on a par 5.
If you do have an established handicap index, the maximum score you can turn in for any hole is equal to the hole par plus two strokes, plus any strokes you are awarded on the hole (or minus strokes given for plus handicap players). So if your handicap index were 14.4 and a par four hole was the 10th most difficult on the course, the maximum hole score for that hole would be 7 (4 + 2 + 1 stroke awarded).
Step #2: Calculate Differentials
Next, you need to calculate the differential for each of the adjusted scores. The differential for each score is calculated using the following formula:
If you're not familiar, PCC stands for Playing Condition Calculation, which adjusts the handicap differential for a round where playing conditions are deemed to be easier or harder than normal (inclement weather, tough course setup, etc.). The PCC adjustment ranges from -1.0 to +3.0, and can only be determined after a minimum of 8 lower-handicap players have submitted qualifying scores to the handicapping entity on a given day.
If it helps I have included the following golf handicap differential calculator.
Step #3: Determine Number of Differentials to Use
Next, determine the number of differentials to use based on the following chart:
|7 or 8||Lowest 2||0|
|9 to 11||Lowest 3||0|
|12 to 14||Lowest 4||0|
|15 or 16||Lowest 5||0|
|17 or 18||Lowest 6||0|
Step #4: Calculate your Handicap Index
Sum the lowest differentials and divide by the number of differentials used, and then drop any decimals after the 10th place. For example, if the average differential is 12.234, your handicap index would be 12.2.
Step #5: Adjust Index If Necessary
The maximum handicap index is 54 for both men and women. So if your calculated index exceeds 54, use 54 as your index.
How to Calculate Your Course Handicap
Once you have calculated your handicap index you will then need to convert it to a course handicap in order to apply your handicap to a scorecard. The course handicap formula is as follows:
If it helps, I have included the following course handicap calculator:
For a more detailed explanation of the golf handicap system and its intricate details, please visit the World Handicap System Manual.