Golf Handicap Calculator: How to Estimate Your Handicap

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So you don't have an official USGA Handicap Index, but you'd like to know what yours would be if you did have one. Maybe you're just curious to know what your handicap is. Perhaps you need a handicap (or at least an estimate of one) to play in a group outing, charity tournament or corporate golf event. On this page we'll point you to golf handicap calculators that you can use to run the numbers.

Simple Online Handicap Calculators

There are a few websites out there that provide a simple interface for determining your unofficial handicap index.

To use them, you'll need at least five, 18-hole golf scores (and, at most, 20) plus the USGA Course Rating and USGA Slope Rating of the golf courses where you played those rounds.

Plug those numbers into one of the following calculators to get an unofficial handicap number:

(Note that none of these handicap calculators or the sites that host them are affiliated in any way with the USGA, nor endorsed by it; and the number you get by using them is not an official USGA Handicap Index.

The preceding calculators are one-time use items; that is, they don't store any info and you can't update your numbers over time. But if you want to do that, there are options.

Sites/Apps Where You Can Calculate, Track a Handicap

If you want a golf handicap calculator with more oomph, one that lets you add scores and update and track a handicap over time, we have two websites to recommend.

(Note, again, that these sites do not provide an official USGA handicap index.)

  • GolfDigest.com: The golf publication lets golfers register for a free handicap tracking service, using its own formula created by Dean Knuth. As the site states, "Golf Digest Handicap is not meant as a competitor or substitute to an official USGA handicap, but as a solution for those golfers who wouldn¹t otherwise have access to one."
  • oobgolf.com: The website oobgolf also allows golfers to create a free account for score and handicap tracking. As a bonus, oobgolf.com includes the option to use the Royal Canadian Golf Association and CONGU (United Kingdom) systems in addition to the USGA's formula.

Want to track a golf handicap and other golf stats on your smartphone or other mobile device? There's an app for that. In fact, there are dozens and dozens of golf apps out there—some of them free, many of them downloadable for a small fee—that will track an unofficial handicap for you.

Depending on your device, visit the iTunes App Store or Google Play for Android and search for "golf handicap," "golf handicap tracker," "golf stats tracker," and similar keywords. Pay attention to customer ratings as well as prices.

Same-Day, Single-Round Handicap Methods

If you're interested in handicap calculators just out of curiosity, or because you need a handicap estimate to play in a single tournament (such as a company outing or charity tournament), then you might want to investigate one of several one-day, single-round handicap systems:

You can think of these as "handicapping the unhandicapped" options.

If a tournament wants to hand out prizes based on net scores, but many of the golfers playing don't have official handicaps, the tournament organizers can use one of these methods to generate a net score.

In all three cases, golfers play a round of golf, then after the round they use the scores just recorded to come up with a "handicap allowance" for that just-completed round. (You can do the same thing at home with your most recent scorecards to satisfy a curiosity.)

Official Handicap Calculators

Of course, you can always dispense with the need for alternative systems and unofficial approximations of handicaps by getting a real, official handicap index.

Once you have an offical USGA Handicap Index, for example, you can then use the GHIN network, which includes both a website and a mobile app, to track your handicap.

A course handicap calculator is also useful for converting a handicap index into a course handicap.