Handicap Calculator

This page allows you to enter multiple scores, course rating and slope values to see how your handicap and other values progress over time. Note: while this table uses the USGA formula for calculating handicaps for multiple scores, it omits a factor that generates more accurate handicaps, and that is to use only the best scores, not all of them as this table does. To find out more, read the explanations below.

To use: simply enter your gross score for a week, select your gender, select the course you played that week, and click the "Add Score" button. The values will be calculated below.

Gross Score Gender Course Course Rating Slope
Current Handicap:
Gross Score Course Rating Slope Differential Handicap Net Score Running Hdcp

Explanation of Terms

This is the explanation of all the terms used for calculating handicaps. You can also try the single score Handicap Tool to see it in action, with explanations.

Course Rating
This is a measured value that would be the score of a scratch golfer from these tees.
This is a value that indicates the relative difficulty of the chosen set of tees. The higher the number, the more difficult the course.
The differential is the calculated difference between your gross score and the course rating.
Example: if your Gross Score is 86 and the Course Rating is 69.8, and the Slope is 120, the formula would look like this:
15.255 = ((86 - 69.8) x 113) / 120
(The value 113 is used as the average slope for all calculated slopes.) The 15.255 rounded to a whole number is now closer to what is used to calculate your net score (86-15=71), but there are some other things needed first.
To get to the whole number handicap value, a few other calculations must happen first. Once the differential is calculated, a Handicap Index value is created. Here's the formula for that:
Handicap Index value is 14.6448 = 15.255 x .96
If you have an SCGA number, the 14.6 would be your handicap index. Now we can get a value that will be used for the Handicap. The formula is as follows:
Raw Handicap of 15.552 = (14.6448 x 120) / 113
When this is rounded to a whole number it becomes 16.
Handicap Index
The handicap index is important because when you enter a tournament, it is used by the tournament committee to calculate your handicap on the course you will be playing. This is significant because your handicap is NOT the same on all courses.

Example: this is an example of how your handicap changes based on the slope of the course you are playing. I'll use the handicap index (HI) of 14.6 from above.
(14.6 x slope of 143) / 113 = 19.6 rounded to a handicap of 20
(14.6 x slope of 108) / 113 = 13.9 rounded to a handicap of 14
Plus and Minuses
When you see the handicaps with a minus (-) in front of the handicap value such as -16, it is equal to saying the golfer is a 16-handicap, and his average score might be around 88 (72 + 16). If the handicap value has a plus (+) in front of it, then it means that the golfer is a scratch or better golfer.

These pluses and minuses are important because the formulas for calculating the handicap will simply ADD the gross score to the handicap to get the net score.
88 + (-16) = net score of 72
And for a scratch golfer, it would be the same calculation:
68 + (+2) = net score of 70
Running Handicap
Or adjusted handicap - this is specific to the La Quinta Summer Golf Tour and isn't normally used elsewhere. It is a calculation that they've been using for years where they calculate the running handicap from all previous handicaps and use that newly calculated handicap for calculating the net score for that week. Each week the running handicap gets adjusted based on the new incoming score, and then it stops being adjusted at a certain week, and that handicap value is used for the remainder of the season.

Some other disclaimers

The LQSGT handicap calculator doesn't NOT follow the USGA guidelines exactly, it can't. The USGA requires that NOT all scores are used for calculations, only the lowest differentials from various thresholds. This table should explain the method the USGA uses.

Number of rounds Differentials to use
5 or 6 lowest 1
7 or 8 lowest 2
9 or 10 lowest 3
11 or 12 lowest 4
13 or 14 lowest 5
15 or 16 lowest 6
17 lowest 7
18 lowest 8
19 lowest 9

This table explains that accurate handicaps can only begin to be calculated once at least 5 scores have been posted, then only the lowest differential is used. This represents the golfers potential. And the calculation scale continues from there.

So it's easy to see why the LQSGT cannot use this method, because otherwise no handicaps would be calculated until week 5.

The LQ committee decided it is best to use this modified formula which also makes it possible for players who don't have an established handicap to participate.


When you look at the course ratings for these courses that we play, you can see that they are all in the mid to high 60's. They are not near par for the course, and remember as mentioned above, the course rating represents the score a scratch golfer might shoot from these tees. So if the course rating is 65.3, then this tells you that it's a very easy set of tees to play from, and your score might be seven (7) shots better than you normally shoot.

And unless you are playing from these tees on a regular basis, what follows is that your handicap is "out-of-whack" from what you normally have. The other reason that these handicaps aren't close to your existing handicap (if you have one), is again, that each season the calculating starts at zero. It does not pick up from the previous season. So if you start out with a few bad rounds, then your calculated handicap will be high. Then when you get back into the swing of things ("swing of things" - did you see what I did there?) and start shooting lower scores, you will naturally be posting extremely low net scores and your fellow members will revile you.

Please don't worry about the results, this is intended to be a fun golf outing for golfers to play different golf courses and meet new people. Everyone is playing to the same formulas, so it's an equal playing field.

If you have any comments about this, you can email me, King Wilder. BTW, I'm a playing member of the club also.

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