Most experienced golfers know what a handicap is, but few people understand or can explain all of the intricate calculations of the handicap. So like most people, let’s just accept the fact that a handicap does exist and go with the flow.
The term “Handicap” is a numerical representation of a golfer’s playing ability compared to a very experienced amateur golfer’s playing ability. The handicap is basically a tool used to try to level the playing field for all golfers. Typically, the lower a golfer’s handicap, the better the golfer is.
If you are new to golf or have been playing awhile and have not established a handicap yet, don’t worry! Handicaps are not a requirement to play golf and you have plenty of time to establish one. However, I must give you a heads up. When looking to play for business, some people may want to know your handicap to determine if they want to play with you or not.
If your handicap is high and your potential playing partner’s handicap is low, depending on the level of competitiveness of the potential partner, they may want to forego the golf round and meet over lunch or drinks to prevent any ill feelings that could potentially arise during the round.
On the flip side, if neither you nor your potential playing partner have an established handicap, then that may make for a great round of business golf for the both of you.
So, are handicaps necessary to play golf? Absolutely not.
But if you are considering competing in tournaments where handicaps will be a factor, go ahead and think about establishing one. Don’t worry if the number is super high. The higher your handicap, the more forgiving the round will be to you. Especially since mulligans are either not allowed or have to be purchased. 🙂
You can read more about handicaps on the USGA website here: http://www.usga.org/Handicapping/handicap-manual.html#!rule-14367