What is Considered a High Handicap in Golf

By Bob Williams

August 4, 2023

The game of golf requires a certain level of skill and focus to be successful, but simply having those abilities isn’t enough. Knowing your Handicap Index is an important part of playing the game because it helps you understand which areas of the course require extra attention.

So, what is considered a ‘high’ handicap in golf?  To better understand this concept, let’s take a look at the basics and explore some tips on how to improve your own handicap index!

Defining Handicap in Golf and How it is Calculated

Golf is a sport that involves skill, strategy, and precision. Handicap, in this context, is used to level the playing field for golfers with different skill levels. It is calculated based on a formula that takes into account a golfer’s past performance, the difficulty of the course, and the number of holes played.

Essentially, a handicap allows golfers of all levels to compete on an equal footing. It takes into account the variations in skill levels across the game and provides a way for players to measure their improvement over time. Understanding how handicap is defined and calculated is an essential part of playing golf.

Differentiating between High Handicaps and Low Handicaps

In the world of golf, handicaps play a crucial role in determining a player’s skill level. A handicap is a number that represents the number of strokes the player takes to complete a round above par.

The lower the handicap, the better the player is considered. High handicaps, on the other hand, indicate that a player needs more strokes to complete a round, making them less skilled.

Differentiating between high handicaps and low handicaps can be challenging, but it’s an essential aspect of the game. The distinction is necessary when it comes to handicapping systems, which allow golfers of different skill levels to compete on an even playing field. It’s a way to ensure fair play and make the game enjoyable for everyone involved.

Benefits of a High Handicap for Beginners

As a beginner golfer, having a high handicap can actually be quite beneficial. It can provide you with more shots to work with and allow you to focus on improving one aspect of your game at a time.

A higher handicap can also provide a more realistic expectation of your abilities, allowing you to enjoy the game without constant frustration. Additionally, it can give you the opportunity to play on more challenging courses with higher handicaps, providing a greater sense of accomplishment when you successfully complete a difficult hole.

While eventually lowering your handicap should be a goal, starting with a high handicap can make the learning process more enjoyable and less daunting for new golfers.

Common Challenges for Players with High Handicaps

Playing golf can be challenging for anyone, but players with high handicaps face unique obstacles on the course. One common challenge is hitting consistent shots and avoiding slices or hooks. This leads to difficulty with accuracy, resulting in longer rounds and higher scores.

Another challenge is managing emotions on the course. It’s easy to get frustrated when shots don’t go as planned and this can negatively affect the entire round. Players with high handicaps may also struggle with distance, making it difficult to reach greens in regulation and putting more pressure on their short game.

Despite these challenges, however, players with high handicaps can still enjoy the game by focusing on improving their fundamentals and finding ways to manage their emotions on the course.

Strategies to Improve Your Handicap Score

Golf can be frustrating, especially when certain obstacles prevent you from achieving your ideal handicap score. Fortunately, there are strategies you can use to improve your score and become a better golfer overall.

One of the most important tactics is to practice regularly, whether that means hitting balls at a driving range or playing rounds of golf with friends. Additionally, paying attention to your swing and technique can make a huge difference, so consider taking lessons or practicing your form. Finally, learn the ins and outs of the courses you play on, becoming familiar with their terrain and challenges so you can plan your shots accordingly.

With these techniques in your arsenal, you’ll be on your way to improving your handicap score in no time.

Tips for Maintaining a Low or Moderate Handicap Score

For avid golfers, maintaining a low to moderate handicap score is a challenging and worthwhile pursuit. While there may not be any guaranteed tricks for success, there are a few tips that can help improve your game and keep your handicap score within the range you desire. One important aspect is consistency.

This includes consistency in your swing, your pre-shot routine, and your approach to practice. It’s also a good idea to work on your short game, as this is where many strokes can easily be lost or gained.

Additionally, tracking your progress and setting achievable goals can offer motivation and direction for improvement. By following these tips and staying dedicated, you can work towards maintaining a desirable handicap score and find plenty of satisfaction along the way.


We’ve explored the topic of golf handicaps in detail here. It’s clear that understanding and using this metric can be a powerful tool for any player, regardless of experience or ability level.

A high handicap or a low handicap both have their benefits and challenges. Beginners should recognize the advantages that come with having a higher handicap but also appreciate the need to practice as much as possible and increase their skills to lower their scores.

Players with lower handicaps must take every measure they can to make sure that they remain consistent on the golf course while playing above-average rounds. Golfers should always strive to improve, and by following the tips presented here, they can help ensure that their handicap index is consistently working in their favor, no matter how experienced they are as players.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Q. What is considered a high handicap in golf?

A. A high handicap in golf is defined as a number that represents the number of strokes the player takes to complete a round above par. Generally, players with higher handicaps are less skilled than those with lower ones.

Q. How can I improve my handicap?

A. The best way to improve your handicap is to practice regularly, pay attention to your swing and technique, learn the ins and outs of golf courses you play on, work on your short game, track your progress, and set achievable goals. By following these tips, you can make great strides in bringing down your handicap score.

Q. What are the benefits of having a high handicap?

A. Having a higher handicap as a beginner golfer can be beneficial because it provides more shots to work with and allows you to focus on improving one aspect of your game at a time. A higher handicap also gives you the opportunity to play on more challenging courses with higher handicaps and provides a greater sense of accomplishment when you successfully complete a difficult hole.

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