By Brent Kelley. Golf Expert
Brent Kelley is a sports journalist who has covered golf for more than two decades, at newspapers, magazines and online.
But not all golf courses are created equal; some are easy, some are tough, and some are in the middle. What happens if your handicap index was earned playing a very easy course, but now you're about to play a very tough course? Handicap index alone doesn't account for that, so a second calculation is needed.
That second calculation is course handicap, which adjusts your handicap index up or down depending on the degree of difficulty of the specific course you're about to play.
The average slope rating is 113. So course handicap takes into account your handicap index, the average slope rating of 113, and the slope rating of the course you're preparing to play. The calculation
is this: Your Handicap Index multiplied by Slope Rating of Tees Played divided by 113.
For example: Player A's handicap index is 14.6 and he's playing a course with a slope of 127.
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The formula is: 14.6 x 127 / 113. The answer to this example is 16.4. Player A's course handicap is therefore 16 (round up or down).
Did you catch the adjustment made? Because the slope of the course in this example was higher than the average slope of 113 (meaning this course is more difficult than the average course), Player A given extra strokes. Player A's handicap index of 14.6 was increased to a course handicap of 16.
And that figure is the one used to determine how many strokes Player A gets to take off his net score when playing this specific golf course.