Myths about getting a handicap

Think having a golf handicap isn’t for you? Think again.

Below we dispel some myths that have been ingrained in the minds of many golfers about getting and maintaining a handicap.

Handicaps are only for really good golfers

Any golfer, whether they’re a novice or a seasoned player, can establish a handicap index at any time in their golf journey. The underlying purpose of the Handicap system is to level the playing field so golfers of differing abilities can compete fairly with each other for a more enjoyable game.

I’m not a good enough golfer to get a handicap

Establishing a handicap index and posting your scores consistently provides you with a tool for tracking your progress and will only make you a better golfer. Obviously, watching your scores go down is fun to see, but when your scores aren’t getting better, that’s your cue to make adjustments or to take a lesson for a tune-up.

I only golf for fun

Having a handicap takes your game to a whole other level of fun. Sure, golf is an individual sport, but with a handicap you can have a friendly competition or side games with other handicap holders in your group regardless of differences in playing ability.

If you enjoy the challenge of competition and want to play against golfers with similar or better skill levels, consider entering a golf tournament. Many tournaments, including WA Golf championships, require a handicap to ensure that you are placed in the proper division for a fair competition.

Planning a dream golf trip to play Royal County Down or the Old Course at St. Andrews? If you don’t have a handicap yet, better give yourself enough time to play and post scores for three 18-hole rounds of golf to get your handicap. Some golf clubs abroad require proof of handicap to play on their course.

You have to post a lot of scores to get a handicap index

With the new World Handicap System, you only need to post a total of 54 holes, made up of 9- or 18-hole scores, to get your handicap. The more scores you post, the more accurate your Handicap Index.

It takes too much time

There’s an app for that. The USGA GHIN app makes it convenient to post your scores. You can post after every hole, after every round or post scores later when get you home. Just do it as soon as practical after your round. Your Handicap Index will be updated overnight and your score will be included in the daily Playing Conditions Calculation for that course.

I have to do math

Again, there’s an app for that. Simply upload your scores on the app and GHIN takes care of the computation for you. Your Handicap Index is adjusted daily.

I have to join a club

This one is actually not a myth. Core to the USGA Handicap System is the idea of peer review and oversight, hence the requirement to be a member of a certified USGA “golf club” to maintain a handicap. Fortunately, WA Golf has more than 500 clubs to choose from throughout Washington and Northern Idaho. Think of them more like communities of golfers who get together to play for fun, competition and camaraderie. Still not your thing? Many WA Golf clubs offer an Associate level membership providing only your USGA Handicap Index and its computational services with no strings attached, while still receiving other WA Golf member benefits. Learn more about WA Golf membership options.

I need a handicap to play golf

Not true at all! In fact, you don’t even have to keep score! Additionally, many golf events run formats, such as Scramble or Shamble, which encourage entries from golfers of all skill levels and don’t require a handicap. But, if you’ve ever considered getting one, don’t let any of the above myths hold you back.

Ready to establish your handicap?

WA Golf is a USGA approved provider and administrator of GHIN (Golf Handicap and Information Network) services. Learn more about handicapping and get started.