The Golf Handicap Formula

You all know that to calculator your golf handicap you need a golf club and a golf handicap tracker, however, we are frequently asked about the formula for the Golf Handicap. So we tried to put it in one simple formula. Here is our best attempt:

Golf HAndicap formula and calculation

So, how do you read it. Here it goes:

  1. First you need to find your last 20 scores and calculate the Handicap Differentials of each one. You do so by applying the formula between the red brackets for each score.
  2. Once you have done that, identify the lowest 10 handicap differentials of those 20 and obtain the average by adding them up and dividing by 10
  3. Then multiply the result by 96%, and there you go.
There of course things we left out here:
What happens if I don’t have a records of 20 scores?
In that case you would have to follow the below table to see how many differentials to consider.
What about cleaning my scores? What if I made an 8 on a par 3?
The handicap formula also considers what is called ESC. It depends on the player’s handicap. Here is how:
Golf Handicap Calculator
If I use this formula would my golf handicap be good?
Well not really, because while this is the formula it is not as simple as a formula. The USGA Handicap System relies heavily on “peer review”. Peer review is golfers watching other golfers to make sure all scores are input correctly.
Also, the handicap revision happens every 15 days, so keeping track and re-calculating can be a pain. I recommend you use a free golf handicap tracker like to keep track and calculate the handicap for you. That’s why we made it 😉 and it does not cost you a dime.
Quick golf handicap formula summary
Identify your last scores, calculate the handicap differentials for each, find the lowest ones, average them, multiply by 96%. That’s it!
Enjoy your Golf!
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  1. Dave Brasher

    Today is the 1st and I noticed that my HC has not changed and would of thought there would have been a slight change? Dave

    • Hello Dave,
      I took a look at your scores. Your Handicap stayed the same, it doesn’t happen that often but in your case it did not change because the additional rounds that you played resulted in the same number.
      You can see more detail of how your handicap moved at the “Trends” section. Look at the “Handicap” graph and point your cursor to the green line, you will see how the handicap is trending.
      Hope that helps!

  2. Patrick Kennedy

    I just entered my last 20 scores from an excel tracking file that has the correct HC formula / slopes / ratings, etc, and my handicap on your site appears to set me at 14.2, while the Excel calculation has me at 16.0. The Excel file has been confirmed with the correct HC formula. Can you look at my 20 scores entered and see if the calculation at 14.2 is correct? Thank you.

    • Hello Patrick,
      Thanks for your message. We keep a database of 17,000+ golf courses, it is tough to keep it up to date, it may have happened that we don’t have the latest course and slope ratings. We would be happy to verify it for you, Could you send us this request to with a screen shot of the excel file? that way we can verify the course and slope ratings.
      I can guarantee that our algorithm also follows the USGA formula and has also been verified 😉

  3. maillot Casillas enfant

    maillot Casillas enfant…

    Wow, this post is good, my younger sister is analyzing such things, therefore I am going to tell her….

  4. Wayne Brasington

    Please explain why an individual playing from let’s say the white tees (CR 62.3; Slope 94) would have a higher handicap than an individual playing the blue tees (CR 66.1, Slope 106) when both shoot 20 identical scores. Assumption is that the blue tees are roughly (say) 600 to 800 yards back from the white tees.

    • Hi Wayne. What makes the difference is actually the ESC Score for each player. So probably the player playing from the Blue tees is shooting a lower ESC Score than the player playing from the Whites.
      Blue Tees = Score of 87 | ESC = 87 ; Handicap Differential: 22.2
      White Tees = Score 87 | ESC 86 ; Handicap Differential: 28.4
      Most likely the player playing from the white tees, has higher Handicap differentials out of his last 20 scores, therefore, his Handicap will be higher.
      The Handicap Differential is: (ESC Score – Course Rating ) *113 / Slope Rating

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