The Handicap in Golf
In golf, the term handicap has nothing to do with health or anything in that direction. In fact it is quite the contrary: golfers love to tell everybody about their handicap. For non-golfers and newcomer this behaviour can raise many questions.
WHAT IS A HANDICAP IN GOLF?
A handicap indicates a golfer’s potential. In Germany you also use the german word for „specification“ for handicap and this expression describes the meaning quite well, too. Normally, a golf course is designed for playing a round, so 18 holes, in 72 shots – in case a golfer’s personal handicap is 0 he is able to play the 18 holes within 72 shots. The golf round is then referred to have „par 72“. Thus the expression: „The less, the better“ fits for handicaps: The less the handicap number is, the better is the golfer.
WHY IS THERE A HANDICAP?
In order to gain a handicap, a golfer needs to fulfill some criteria. For example by getting the licence to play golf courses, golf players prove some knowledge and skills about playing in this sports. It is significant to be aware of the rules on a golf course and the manners that count in there. In addition it is essential to know the own handicap to compete in challenges – for example in a matchplay. Due to the fact that if the golf player knows his own handicap and the one of his opponent, he can play against someone with the same handicap or someone with a different one – because the key point is, that different ones get compensated, thus every player has fair chances of winning the round.
INTERNATIONALLY GOLF-BEGINNERS OBTAIN A -36 HANDICAP, IN GERMANY ONE OF -54
If a golf player fulfills the requirement of getting the licence to play golf courses, and concurrently becomes member of a golf course, he has reached a handicap of -54 in Germany. Internationally seen, a golfer only gets his personal handicap when he is able to play a round with 108 shots, so reached a handicap of -36. The Number of the personal handicap and the ideal 72 shots get summed up, so with a handicap of -54 you are skilled of playing a round with 126 shots.
If a golfer is able to play a 72 par golf with less than 72 shots, he has reached a new level of handicap: The handicap-number gets positive than!
HOW CAN A GOLF-PLAYER IMPROVE HIS INDIVIDUAL HANDICAP?
There are two possibilities for improving the personal handicap. On one handside the golfer in Germany can play Extra Day Score Rounds (ESD-Rounds). Those are private games that need to be announced in the secretariat of the golf club. Furthermore the person who notes the score, needs to have at least a handicap of -36, but is not allowed to be a golf-pro. From handicap -4,5 until -26,4 a golfer is not allowed to play more ESD-rounds than tournaments. Hereby we reached the other opportunity of improving the handicap: Within golf-tournaments it can also get upgraded.