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Golf Handicaps Level the Playing Field

March 14, 2022

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If you have just taken up the game, it is unlikely that you’ve established a golf handicap yet. Moreover, it is not something you will need until you are ready to test your game against other golfers on a real course. Since early on most golfers improve quickly, there’s no rush to establish a handicap. When the initial phase of rapid improvement starts to slow down and you are ready to keep an accurate score card, you can sign up for a handicapping option at your home course or register online at USGA.org.

Once you start to play golf with people you’ve never played with before, you should expect to be asked, “What’s your handicap?” It is a loaded question to which the most appropriate answer is “My golf game!” Nonetheless, a well-maintained handicap is a great advantage for those wanting to play competitive rounds with golfers of all abilities. As the number that is representative of your most recent rounds, a man’s handicap index is a number between zero and 36.4 and a woman’s between zero and 40.4.

Earliest Handicapping from St. Andrews

The modern game of golf originated in 15th century Scotland and the concept of using an 18-round was created at the Old Course at St. Andrews in 1764. By the mid-1800s, golfers were looking for ways to allow a lesser player to compete against a more accomplished golfer. Although the word handicap would not be used until the late 19th century, the number of strokes to be given and the holes they would be given on was negotiated between the group of golfers. Terms like a “half-one” would indicate a stroke given every two holes of play.

The USGA Handicap System is based on the British three-score-average system and was introduced in 1911 after golf courses developed “par ratings” for scratch golfers with a handicap of zero. After initially allowing clubs to assign their own par ratings, the USGA reversed the policy to ensure more consistent handicapping. Slope ratings for courses were later devised by the USGA to describe the relative difficulty of a round of golf played by a bogey golfer as compared to a scratch golfer who would receive zero strokes.

Three calculations are used to help level the playing field for golfers and the given course they choose to play. The length of the course and its obstacles are the biggest factors used to calculate the course rating, which indicates the average score by a scratch golfer. Slope rating is used to determine the difficulty for a bogey golfer compared to a scratch golfer. The stroke index is usually printed on the scorecard and indicates the holes on which the handicap strokes should be applied.

Formats That Use Golf Handicaps

There are two basic formats (stroke play and match play) that are regarded as official forms of play. Since golf is meant to be fun, you can expect to hear numerous variations mentioned around the clubhouse, such as foursomes, four ball, skins games, scrambles, alternate shots, etc. That said, most competitions follow one of the formats mentioned below:

Stroke Play – Also referred to as Medal Play, each shot is counted and added up at the end of the round. If it is a scratch tournament, then the gross score counts. If it is a handicap event, then the player’s handicap is deducted from the total.

Match Play – Match play is head to head golf where each hole is treated as a separate competition. Players can either win, lose or halve a hole. In individual match play the handicap allowance is 100% and 90% in Four-Ball competitions.

Stableford – This is a very popular scoring format for tournaments because one or two bad holes do not rule out an overall good score. Points are awarded on each hole according to how the player does against their own handicap.

Foursomes – Golfers compete in pairs and alternate shots. Handicaps are applied depending upon the format of play. Note: Greensomes is a variation that allows both golfers on a team to hit a tee shot before choosing which ball is in play.

A popular money game, which can also be played for points, is a Skins Game where each hole is assigned a certain amount of money. The golfer with the best score wins the money. If there is a tie, the money or points are pushed to the next hole. Scrambles is a very popular game format at many local clubs. Each player on a 2,3, or 4 man team tees off on each hole and teams repeatedly decide which ball to use for the next shot until the hole is finished.

How to Improve Your Handicap at Krank Golf

According to Keiser University College of Golf, there are simple steps that any golfer can take to lower his or her scores by five strokes or more. Going to the driving range is where it all starts. However, equally important is to sharpen your short game as the majority of strokes on your card will come within 100 yards of the pin. Don’t forget to tune up your equipment by replacing any damaged shafts, worn grips, etc. For many golfers, it is a better option to get fitted for new clubs rather than invest in costly repairs for older sticks. Studies show the vast majority of players lower their score by more than 1.5 strokes and gain 20 yards off the tee when fitted with the right clubs.

According to Lance Reeder, the president and founder of Krank Golf, casual golfers often leave 50 yards in their bag because they do not trust their driver and habitually grab a hybrid or talk themselves into hitting an iron off the tee box. “It is ridiculous that golfers with a slower swing speed or a super slow swing speed is not allowed to enjoy the game and experience the same face spring effect of today’s professional golfer,” says Reeder. “That’s why Krank Golf lets you select the clubhead that best suits your swing, so you enjoy the game more.” Krank Golf can equip a recreational golfer with a proper-fitted driver with exact lofting, precise lie angles, and a clubface that has been micro milled to maximize its spring effect.

Regardless of your handicap, Krank Golf has a driver, 3-wood, and hybrid designed your swing dynamics. If you are tired of leaving hundreds of yards in your bag, the right Krank clubs will allow you to hit the ball farther off the tee box and straighter down the fairway. To schedule a custom fitting and start designing the golf clubs that are right for your swing, click here... and stop giving away distance.