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Golf Handicap FAQ

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This golf handicap FAQ covers the USGA Handicap System. If you run into terms you don't understand, check the Golf Handicap Glossary. To compute your unofficial handicap index, use this free handicap index calculator. To get a course handicap, use this free course handicap calculator

An overview of the USGA Handicap System

Are "handicap" and "handicap index" the same thing?

How do I establish a handicap index?

How is handicap index calculated?

Is having a handicap index required?

What is course handicap?

How do I use my handicap index on the golf course?

What is the purpose of the handicap system?

Do I have to join a golf club to get an official handicap?

Can I start my own club for handicapping purposes?

What is course rating?

What is slope rating?

How are course rating and slope rating determined?

Why is slope rating called "slope"?

How do I know on which holes to take strokes?

How are strokes determined in a match in which the golfers are playing from different tees?

How are strokes determined in a match between a man and a woman?

How are strokes allocated in singles match play?

Why is my score usually higher than my handicap?

Can I turn in a score that includes incomplete holes?

Can I turn in incomplete or 9-hole rounds?

Is it true the USGA has per-hole maximum scores?

What is Equitable Stroke Control?

How do I know my ESC limits if I don't yet have a handicap index?

What is handicap differential?

How many rounds are required to establish a USGA Handicap Index?

What is GHIN?

How can I obtain USGA publications on handicapping?

• Can I play in a tournament without an official handicap?
See: Peoria System and Callaway System

Is your question not yet included here? Post your question in the Golf Forum, where golfers of all skill levels may be able to help.

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