Excellent article Cory! I have a pretty good grasp on everything related to handicaps but it was nice to review it again and see all of the data from the various sources.
I think that’s very common for anyone who picks up the game later in life. Like I wrote in the article though, I do really think everyone has the ability to break 90 (from an appropriate set of tees at an average difficulty golf course at least) and that it can likely be done with mostly strategy and mental game. You’ll get there!
Hi this may be irrelevant to you but for me I went from a 32hcp to a 24hcp in 2 weeks. A friend was giving another friend a tip on the 14th tee and I chimed in with turning the left hip instead of swaying on the downswing. Then I thought I should follow my own advice and started hitting the ball straighter and longer helping me hit more greens in regulation and a whole lot of rounds in the 80’s. It may be just one small change that will make the difference for you!
Great article with some interesting info, thanks Cory!
Good read. Unless I missed it, I wonder how many golfers across the US actually play competitive rounds. My point is golfers should not equate their GHIN or recent round to their self worth (or what is good). The game has too much good and back luck tied in along with uncontrollable variables.
We have a member who worked his butt off and got down to a 4. He recently went through a slump and posted consecutive below average rounds. Few weeks ago while walking off 18 green he melted down. It was epic. I asked his buddy later what happened and he lost it over the fear of his GHIN going up. His ego, value was tied to his GHIN. Sad. Only if he knew how it really works…
If you play golf for your handicap, then you are setting yourself up for this kind of disappointment. You don’t need to keep a handicap or even keep score while you play. But if there is a little bit of competitiveness in you, it can be a fun pursuit if you realize that it’s just a number and does not indicate your enjoyment/satisfaction level from the game.
Trust me, I know. I used to be so obsessed with my scores that it robbed me of all enjoyment of the game. Let’s call that time my “impractical golf” days!
For most people a “good Handicap” is one better than, their Own!
About 3 years ago I’d been playing hurt and fell into that trap. I was chatting with Andy Johnson and he suggested to stop keeping score. Go out, play golf, have fun, enjoy the architecture. So I did it for the entire year of 2018 and it helped me rekindle my love for the game and oddly started to play some of the best golf of my life.
Yep - trying to learn about and work on those things, too! Thx
Oh, about handicaps and the calculation:
I was surprised that only 8 rounds are used! I don’t keep a handicap and wasn’t fully informed on how they work, but previously I thought the Highest and Lowest rounds were discarded and the rest … ie. 18 scores … were used. Interesting
Or in my case… many small differences!
Been taking a series of lessons, and practicing in between, and that’s really been helping. A quick aside: one not so small thing that’s helped me hit better is actually less hip turn going into impact but more what my instructor calls “sway to target”.
Hi as I said what works for me might not work for you. I get to the top, let the hands drop open my hips and swing hard to the right hitting draws/hooks. I have taught myself from reading about how to hit draws on the net. Good luck with your quest to break 90. Also last year I shot 107 and feeling like I couldn’t play anymore. Finished and walked straight back to the first tee and shot 83. You never know what the next round might hold. Another point, I used to have good rounds going and then blow up on the 15th hole. I’m sure it was all in my head.
…and that’s what keeps us going.
I really enjoyed this read.
Growing up I was always told, if you could break 90 you were a good golfer. Someone use to say that’s top 10%. Well that’s not entirely true, but I still think if you can break 90 consistently, then you’ve got something good and the potential to do more.
From a personal standpoint, I’ve always felt “good” is whatever level is just better than me. However, through Jon’s work and a few of my buddies telling me I’m good, I’ve begun to embrace that even though there are a lot of players who are better than me, my handicap is good.
My handicap is 3.1 right now. I average 3.89 over par at my home course (which is easier) and 6.66 over par at all other courses.
I stress this a lot with people on Twitter. Handicap is a measure of your best golf, not your average golf.
Golf is a bit like swimming up stream. You have to keep practicing and playing some just to stay where you are, and it takes a lot of effort to get better, and occasionally you go backwards and have to work just to get back to where you were.
I started the year at a 0.5 and I’m at +1.6 now and my scoring average is a 74.0, but I am losing a 65 (-5.4 differential) in my next 2 rounds so it will be going up unless I can go low again soon. I have an 81 and an 80 in my last 20 (the 80 was last weekend with a 45 on the front 9 which had me on the verge of not being a good golfer ) and just a couple under par rounds. One of my goals going into the next season is to get 20 rounds in row in the 70’s or better. Even at scratch that will be hard to do.
If I compare myself to the average weekend warrior, then yeah I’m pretty good. If I compare myself to the club champ, I’m a little worse, and if I compare myself to the pro’s, then I’m a long way off. But I prefer to compare myself to myself from yesterday or last year, and if I’m improving, then I’m good.
Same here but I’ll substitute “happy” instead of “good”!
Anyone here a Toby Keith fan?
@CoryO loved the article and all of the work that went into it. Thanks for tracking down multiple data sources. As a person that works for a data analytics company…I really appreciated multiple sources/samples. One area you tried to address that I still think really skews the data (to lower handicaps) is that most folks who don’t keep a handicap - are also very unlikely to be on shotscope or other devices that track strokes…they just go out and swing…sometimes keeping score, sometimes not…and likely never keeping a correct score. I think with that in mind, if you took the entire golfing population and actually had them keep score (and keep it correctly instead of mulligan-golf)… the handicaps would actually be much higher than the data shows.
Super interesting article though and really well presented. Thank you!
“Several nice golf shots” will eventually lead to breaking 90… keep hitting em!
…coupled with fewer mistakes (one can dream)…
My estimate would be a 30-35 handicap in that situation with the average score around 110.