What is a Good Handicap in Golf?

Date Published: 22/12/2023

Whether you’re a golf enthusiast or just a casual player, you’ve undoubtedly heard of a golf handicap. But what does a handicap actually denote? How can someone starting their golfing journey get a handicap, and what does a good handicap look like?

What is a golf handicap?

Very simply, a golf handicap is a number that indicates your skill level. It allows golfers of differing abilities to play together, adjusting scores for a fair reflection of their play.

Until recently, a requirement for a golf handicap was to belong to a golf club. However, this limited those golfers that may lack the means to cover the club fees. As a result, the World Handicap System (WHS) was put in place to give golfers of all skill levels the opportunity to acquire a golf handicap.

Once a golfer has played enough holes, their handicap is calculated. A golfer’s handicap can go up or down depending on any future scores, meaning your handicap is never set in stone (and you always have room to improve).

Generally, your handicap will start as a higher number and come down as your level of golf increases.

What is a good golf handicap?

Determining a good golf handicap (for men or women) can be difficult, as it’s very subjective. A golfer with a handicap of 35+ would probably see 20 as a good handicap, but a semi-pro golfer with a handicap of 1 or 2 may consider a scratch handicap to be “good”.

A general rule of thumb is to aim to work towards a single digit handicap. In play terms, this would mean shooting between 78 and 82 on a par 72 course. A handicap under 10 is usually indicative of a golfer that has been playing the game for a while.

The difference between men’s and women’s handicaps

In terms of calculating your handicap, there is no difference between male and female golfers.

However, there are differences between the handicap averages, with male golfers averaging a handicap of 16 and female golfers averaging 28. Both of these handicap averages are likely to drop over the next few years as golf becomes more accessible across the board.

Calculating your handicap

The actual handicap calculation is a little complicated, though not impossible to work out. With iGolf, your handicap is automatically calculated for you based on your best eight scores from your 20 most recent scores.

Maintaining your handicap is as simple as submitting your scores from your most recent round, allowing you to stay up to date and (hopefully) on course to your handicap goal!

Acquiring your handicap with iGolf

With iGolf, thousands of non-club members have the opportunity to obtain an Handicap Index® under the World Handicap System and continue to grow their love for golf.

Accessed by downloading the My EG app, iGolf is specifically designed for golfers of all abilities who are non-club members or are new to the game.

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