Handicap Index

Establishing A Handicap Index

Sample GHIN Handicap Card

One of the many benefits of an FWGA/NCGA membership is being issued an official GHIN Number.  When the GHIN Number is initially created, the handicap index is NH (No Handicap). The GHIN system will generate an initial handicap index number after three 18-hole rounds (or six 9-hole rounds combined to form three 18s) have been posted.

The handicap index number represents your potential scoring ability.  It is an average number of strokes above par. The index itself is computed as a composite of your scores combined with the difficulty of the courses you played. Difficulty is determined by the Course Rating and Slope Rating of the course as set by the NCGA.

World Handicap Index Maximum Index Number
Which Tees to Play From? What is a Course Handicap?
A general rule of thumb to determine which tee box is right for you is if you hit your driver under 200 yards, play from the closest tee (forward tees). If you hit from 200-225 the next farthest tee, and so on. When you are hitting 275+ accurately you should be playing the farthest tees back (the tips).
The handicap index and the different levels of tee boxes enable any player to play on an even scale with other golfers with different levels of ability.
What is Net Double Bogey? Acceptable Scores to Post
Golfers can only post their maximum for each hole (also called Net Double Bogey).
The maximum is computed as PAR+2+Pops. Click to watch a video that illustrates how to find the course handicap, pop a scorecard and find your max for each hole.
Where Do I Post My Score? Where is My HOME Course?

  • Post using the GHIN kiosk at all golf courses
  • Through the USGA GHIN mobile app
  • Or, post online at GHIN.com
For handicap purposes, the “home” course is where you play and post most of your scores. You can only have one home course. Your home course is not necessarily where you live.
Daily Index Calculated Using BEst 8 out of 20 scores Index Updated Daily
Do Not Post The Following Scores: Playing Conditions Calculation
  • If you played fewer than 13 holes. (You can post a 9-Hole score)
  • When you play in a competition limiting the types of clubs used.
  • When an 18-hole course is less than 3,000 yards long.
  • A score from a “scramble.”
  • “Inactive season” scores.
  • Playing two or more balls as practice.
Incomplete Holes – Most Likely Score
For Pace-of-Play considerations, sometimes we need to “Pick-Up” or “X-Out”. Use the table at the right to estimate the number of strokes to add after the “Pick-Up”.
Handicap Index Softcap & Hard Cap ESR – Exceptional Score Reduction