What is the Highest Golf Handicap for a Woman?

Date Published: 13/12/2023

Before 2020, the highest golf handicap differed between men and women – 36.4 and 40.4 respectively.

However, this was re-established in 2020 in a significant shake up to the handicap rulings and calculations, done to make the great game of golf more accessible and inclusive to all players.

The highest golf handicap

The maximum handicap for any player, regardless of gender, is 54.0.

There are a few reasons why this change was implemented. Above making the game more welcoming to new players and incentivising beginners to establish a handicap, it allows players of all skill levels to track their progress and provides opportunities to learn about the rules of handicapping.

What is a golf handicap?

A golf handicap is, very simply, a number that shows the skill level of a golfer. The handicap system enables golfers of different skill levels to play together fairly and enjoy the game.

The handicap denotes how many extra shots a player might take compared to the expected par score for the course. A higher handicap means a player can take more shots – these are then subtracted from their score to calculate a final score. The lower the handicap, the better the golfer.

What constitutes a good handicap?

Generally, a good golf handicap is based solely on the handicap figure. However, for golfers looking to establish their handicap (that is to say, golfers without a previous handicap index) anything under 20 could be considered a strong handicap.

How to calculate your handicap

The World Handicap System calculates a golfer’s handicap index.

This is done using your most recent 20 scores (these can be 9- or 18-hole scores). Although the actual calculation is quite nuanced and in-depth, it follows the below 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 is then calculated by taking your best 8 scores from 20 differentials, and dividing the total by 8.

How to improve your handicap

There are numerous different ways for players to improve their handicap, most of which involve training exercises focusing on the different aspects of the game.

At England Golf, we have a range of different tips and material designed to help you improve your game, including:

Establish and maintain your handicap with iGolf

For those who love golf but aren’t affiliated with a club, iGolf is an ideal solution. An online community, it lets you keep track of your golfing achievements and socialise with other golfers. iGolf gives you access to an official handicap index and an opportunity to form stronger ties with nearby golf courses.

Simply sign up, download the England Golf app and login to gain access to the iGolf platform. Benefits include:

  • A complete digital history of your golf handicap and scores over time
  • Keep track of your progression 
  • Easy sign-up process
  • £44 for a 12-month subscription