Updated on November 12th, 2021 at 04:20 pm

A golf handicap is not just a great tool for using in a match; it is also a way to measure up against other players. When golfers find out that an acquaintance of theirs plays the game, the next question is almost always, “What’s your handicap?”

This concept of the golf handicap index as being the way to judge how a golfer goes about the game has been around for many years. The United States Golf Association closely monitors the handicap system to ensure it remains fair for all players.

If you have been wondering if your handicap is low enough to be considered good, you are in the right place.

What Is A Good Golf Handicap?

A good golf handicap is ten or less. With a handicap index of ten or less, you will generally shoot somewhere around 82. Shooing in the low 80s is better than average but certainly not good enough to be considered a scratch player. With a handicap of less than ten, you have to be able to play well at all types of courses, not just your home course.

Players with a handicap index of less than ten will occasionally shoot in the 70s and likely play in a few tournaments from time to time. At this level, you will most likely make a few bogeys and may have one or two bad holes per round.

Outside of that, your game should be rather consistent. Certainly, when playing against a field of all beginners, showing in the low 80s will look quite impressive.

Handicap Classifications- High, Mid, and Low

When classifying handicaps, we tend to use the high, mid, and low categories. Those that are high handicaps are somethings considered to be beginners, but this is not always the case. Here are some of the general parameters for classifying a player as a high, mid, or low handicap.

There is no specific rule or documentation from the USGA that states what the handicap levels are; however, golfers have sort of unofficially determined these ranges.

High Handicapper (18 and Above)

Have you heard the term bogey golfers? These players can make a bogey on all 18 holes and generally end up with a number right around 90 for their day on the course. This is considered to be about an average golfer. If you are hanging right on this line, you are considered average or mid handicap. However, any move above this line of bogey golf is considered part of the high handicapper range.

Many players in the high handicapper range have not been in the game that long, and they are still working on how to get their scores down.

Some people in the high handicap range play golf twice a year, and their golf game is not a priority. Others have been playing their entire life, and the thought of shooting par is only a pipe dream.

Most high handicappers need to work on both accuracy and short game. The accuracy of their shots is essential to stay in play. To avoid double and triple bogey holes, it is essential to make sure that you hit the ball in the fairway.

High handicappers that start to pay more attention to their short game generally see a significant decrease in scores. We recently finished this guide to help Ladies short game


Mid Handicapper (8 to 17)

Mid handicappers are the average golfers. These are the players that work on their game, want the new equipment and all of the best educational swingmid handicapper - AEC Info equipment, yet they can’t break 80. Mid handicappers tend to be rather good at making par but struggle to make enough birdies to make up for their bogeys.

The mid handicapper tends to have a weakness in their game somewhere. This could be a fear of skulling a chip shot, long irons that barely leave the ground, or a slice that comes out every third hole. Regardless of the weakness, it keeps the player’s scores above that 80 mark for most rounds.

Knowing when to hit a chip shot vs a pitch shot can be the difference between a few strokes a round.  Other issues such as struggling with Green reading or a nagging golf injury may be reasons you stay in the mid handicap range. 

Low Handicapper (7 and Below)

Low handicappers are the player’s golfers that have the game slightly figured out. Although most of these players are not going to make it on the PGA Tour, they have a pretty good handle on how to get around their home course.

If you watch a low handicap or scratch golfer play the game, you will notice that it is played very cleanly. Players don’t make many big mistakes, and they often can make up for them within a hole or two. These are the golfers that make a bogey and then follow it up with a birdie on the next hole.

They know how to recover, and it will certainly impact their score.

Low handicap golfers tend to play from a further tee which will impact the course rating and slope. They are essential to playing a harder golf course than the rest of us. This leaves room for an extra bogey or two while still keeping the handicap in the low zone.

One of the biggest differences you see between the scratch golfer and the golfer with a 22 handicap is time. Most scratch golfers will tell you that they have had to invest a lot of time in the game, including working on their game at home or at the office, along with following a Golf workout plan.

Talk to a low handicapper and odds are he has a Putting mat in his office, and a variety of golf training aids in his home.  Most of the low handicapper spent quite a few years at the average handicap range before learning how to lower their strokes.

How Can I Lower My Handicap?

Almost anyone who knows the golf game will tell you that if you want to eliminate handicap strokes, you will need to work on your short game. The answer to lowering your scores is in the green. The quicker you can learn to get the ball in the hole, the lower your handicap number will be.

Spend a bit of time each day playing some putting games of varying difficulty. Learn to be comfortable with these short game clubs, and everything else will fall into place. So much golf is about confidence; it certainly matters more than worrying about the Slope rating or course handicap ranking.

Why Is My Handicap Different At Different Golf Courses

The USGA issues golfers a handicap index. This is a number that can then be used to determine your course handicap at other courses. Not all golf courses have the same slope and rating. This essentially means that golf courses have varying rates of difficulty. If you want a low handicap, you will have to play well at a tough golf club. This will help bring your handicap index down.

Each golf course will have a USGA rating, and you can use your handicap index number to figure out the course handicap for each place you play. You may find that certain courses set up better for your game and can have a larger impact on your golf handicap.

The Handicap system is a bit complicated, but the USGA does the best it can to keep golf handicaps fair all across the board.

What Is The Average Golf Handicap?

The average golf handicap is about 15. This is based on research that survey participants did; however, based on what we have seen in the game and our years of involvement, the average should be a bit higher than this. There are plenty of people that do not follow the handicap system properly and forget to enter some of their scores.

To find a true national average, it would take 100% honesty on the part of the golfer. As golfers, we all know that this is not always the case. Truly the average handicap for players is probably a bit closer to an 18 than a 15. Nevertheless, both would fall into that mid handicaps range.

Conclusion- A Good Golf Handicap

Having a good golf handicap is not always the same thing as being a good golfer. Some great golfers are men or women that are a bit older and can’t hit the ball quite as far. These players struggle to keep these strokes quite as low, yet they play impeccable golf.

Golfers should challenge themselves to make better swings and roll in more putts. These two things are without a doubt going to produce some lower numbers and allow you to have more fun on the course.

Use your golf handicap to ensure you are getting the proper number of strokes on the course, but don’t let it define who you are as a golfer.