How to Get a Golf Handicap (For Non-Members)

Date Published: 21/03/2022

Offering good exercise, fresh air and a healthy challenge, golf is a great recreational sport. But it becomes even more enjoyable when you’re able to track your progress, watch your skills improve, and gain a Handicap Index®. 

There can be a lot of myths and misconceptions surrounding golf – one of these being club membership and its necessity to acquiring a Handicap Index®. While this was once true, the introduction of iGolf from England Golf has made golf handicaps accessible to all players as of 2021.

In this blog we explain what a golf handicap is, how it’s calculated, and how you can get a Handicap Index® as a non-club member.

What is a golf handicap?

Calculated through the World Handicap System™ (WHS™), your Handicap Index® is simply a measure of your golfing ability.

It indicates the additional strokes you might need beyond a course’s par score. A golfer with a higher handicap is granted more shots, which are deducted from their total at the end of a game to calculate a final score.

Do I need a Handicap Index® to play golf?

In golf, a Handicap Index® is not a necessity to enjoy the game, but it does allow you track your progress and it makes the game more competitive, especially if you’re playing a round with golfers at a different level to yourself.

Previous to the launch of the WHS™, golfers had to be a fee-paying member of a golf club to be able to obtain a Handicap Index® (as part of the calculation, this involved a peer review and approval process). However, that no longer applies due to the WHS™.

The WHS™ launched in January 2020 and is in full use across England’s 1,800 golf clubs after being rolled out by England Golf, the governing body of the amateur game in England. As such, for the first time ever, you can obtain a Handicap Index® as a non-club member.

Find out everything you need to know about the WHS™

How to calculate your golf handicap

The World Handicap System™ calculates your Handicap Index® using your most recent 20 scores (these can be 9- or 18-hole scores) and this equation:

  1. The Course Rating™, slope rating and your adjusted gross score as follows: (113 / Slope Rating) – (Adjusted Gross Score – Course Rating™ – Playing Conditions Calculation)
  2. Your Handicap Index® is then calculated by taking your best 8 scores from 20 differentials, and dividing the total by 8.

What is a Course Handicap™?

A Course Handicap™ enables you to compete fairly across any golf course in the world.

Calculating your Course Handicap™ requires an existing Handicap Index® and the slope rating for the golf course you are about to play (this can be found on the course itself). With that, any Course Handicap™ is calculated automatically on the My EG app.

Obtaining a Handicap Index® with iGolf

The only way to acquire a Handicap Index® as a non-club member is by signing up to England Golf’s iGolf subscription. 

After subscribing to iGolf and downloading the MyEG app, you will be able to obtain your Handicap Index® by submitting scores from a minimum of 54 holes (which can be any combination of 9 or 18 holes).

By allowing non-members to obtain a Handicap Index®, iGolf makes the game more inclusive and accessible.

iGolf benefits include:

  • A complete digital history of your golf handicap and scores over time
  • Keep track of your progression 
  • Easy sign-up process
  • £46 for a 12-month subscription