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How to Calculate Your Handicap Index in Golf

As practice leader for the Energy and Marine Division at the Birmingham, Alabama-based McGriff, Seibels & Williams, Inc., Scott G. Sink oversees a staff of 60 employees responsible for servicing property-and-casualty insurance programs for merchant power companies and gas and electric utilities. Outside of his professional endeavors, Scott G. Sink is an avid golfer who boasts a Handicap Index of 7.

The Handicap Index was established in 1911 as a means of allowing golfers of differing abilities to play together in a relatively competitive setting. In order to determine your Handicap Index, you need to first find your Adjusted Gross Score (AGS), which is calculated from your recorded scores during the past five to 20 rounds of golf. This number can then be used to determine your Handicap Differential by the following equation: (AGS - Course Rating) x 113/Slope Rating. Most courses make both the Course and Slope Rating available at the clubhouse or on the website.

Knowing your Handicap Differential can help you calculate your Handicap Index, as the equation for the latter is the sum of differentials divided by the number of differentials used, with the resulting figure being multiplied by 0.96. If using scores from seven or eight rounds, use your lowest two differentials.
Finally, you can use this number to determine your course-specific handicap. According to the United States Golf Association, the most common Handicap Index among male golfers is between 12.0 and 12.9 (5.72 percent).

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