Handicap is a system used to level the playing field between golfers of different skill levels by assigning a number to each player that represents their potential to play up to par on any given course. This number, which is based on the adjusted gross score of a beginner golfer on a specific course, allows golfers of all abilities to compete fairly against each other.
There are a few different factors that go into calculating your handicap, but the most important ones are your individual scores and the difficulty of the courses you play. To get started, make sure to keep a detailed scorecard every time you hit the links and record all your shots, including bogeys, even the 2-foot putts! You also need to have another player witness your scorecard to prevent cheating and ensure that your handicap is accurate.
After submitting enough scores to reach an initial index rating, your index will be recalculated periodically to reflect your current performance level. To maintain accuracy, your index will only come down if one of your best eight of the last 20 scores was below your low index from the previous 365 days. The new index will then be compared to the competition standard scratch and your handicap will be readjusted accordingly. Depending on the weather conditions, your index may also be adjusted to take into account changes in course conditions.