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All About Handicaps

Golf League Tracker has a number of settings available to help you customize the handicap calculation to your liking. When a score is entered, edited, or deleted, handicaps are recalcuated for that group automatically (note, Automatic Handicap Calculation can be turned off if you want to control when the handicaps are updated). The basic flow of the handicap calulation is listed below.


Handicap Index - If your league uses the course rating and slope to calculate handicaps a player's handicap is called their "Handicap Index". This "index" has been calculated using the difficulty of the course and tee box for that player in it's calculation, and requires further adjustment when playing a round, in order to convert it to the "Course Handicap".

Course Handicap - The course handicap is the handicap the player uses when playing their match. If your league uses the course rating/slope in its calculation, the Course Handicap is computed using the player's handicap index as noted above.

How it Calculates

  1. The system takes a specific number of most recent rounds for the player, set by your league administrator. The default setting in Golf League Tracker is 6 most recent rounds.
  2. The score is "adjusted" for any maximum scores on a hole you have set (i.e. "Equitable Stroke Control"). Other limits are such as how many strokes above the player's current handicap, or maximum score which the system will count.
  3. If your league is set up to use the course rating and slope, it calculates the difference, (known as the "differential"), using the USGA Formula:
    Differential = (Score-Rating) * 113 / Slope.
    otherwise the "differential" is calculated from Score - Par.
  4. It takes this list of differentials and multiplies each by a percentage that your league is set up for. For example, a typical league is set to 90%. This percentage is used to give a bit of a "bonus" to lower handicapped players.
  5. Then it sorts those differentials from low to high.
  6. Some leagues toss out a certain number of high or low differentials. For example, you might take the last 6 differentials, and toss the two highest. This prevent someone's handicap from being raised by an occasional high round.

Handicap Padding

If your league is set with Handicap Padding Count greater than 0 rounds, the system will fill the score list with a list of differentials whcih are representative of the player's Starting Handicap, up to whatever number of Handicap Padding scores you have this set to. For example, if you have your league set to take the most recent 5 scores, and Handicap Padding is set to 3, and a player has actual score in the system, Golf League Tracker will create 3 more differentials to get the player's score history up to 4 rounds (3 padding scores +1 actual round). When the player plays a second round, the player will have 3 padding scores +2 actual rounds. When the player plays his 3rd round, he will have 2 padding scores (1 rolled off) +3 actual rounds, because we have Golf League Tracker set to take the most recent 5 rounds.

The purpose of this padding is to prevent a player's handicap from fluctuating wildly at the start of the year or if the player is new to your league and has no score history. Note that you can also enter "historical scores" for a player (generally from the end of the previous season) if your league is new to Golf League Tracker, or if a player is new to your league.

Click here to see an example of a handicap calculation with and without padding.

Minimum Rounds Required

One of the settings in Golf League Tracker is the "Minimum Rounds Required" setting which will prevent a handicap from being calculated until the player has this many rounds in the system, UNLESS the player has a starting handicap entered.

Starting Handicap vs. Current Handicap

The current handicap is the value which is used to determine the player's Course Handicap for the next round.

The starting handicap is used for two purposes:  To calculate a Padding Differential if that option is turned on for the league, and to tell the system to calculate handicaps for that player if he doesn't have the minimum number of rounds entered.

If you have any further questions about handicaps are calculated, please contact support.

Handicapping FAQ

How can I see a player's handicap calculation?

You can see the details of a player's handicap calculation by clicking on the player current handicap in the player list.

Why doesn't a player have a handicap?

A player won't have a handicap if he doesn't have the required minimum number of rounds based on your league settings, AND he doesn't have a starting handicap entered.

Why can't I record points for a group?

You can't record points because one or more players for the foursome doesn't have an established handicap. You have to wait until all players in a group have handicaps established, and then go back to previous rounds to Record Points.

Why doesn't the handicap on the scorecard or schedule match the handicap on the player list?

If your league is set up to use the course rating and slope in the handicap calculation, the Handicap Index in the player list is converted to a Course Handicap, which can be higher or lower depending on the slope of the course. In addition, if your league uses multiple tee-boxes, additional adjustments per the USGA are necessary.

See Handicap Calculations for details on how the handicaps are calculated for course rating/slope and multiple tee boxes.

How should I handle a new sub in my league without a handicap?

If you have your league set to require more than 1 round to establish a handicap, then a new sub will not have a handicap, and Golf League Tracker will treat that player as absent, because it has no way to know if that sub will ever play again. But what if you want that sub's score to count?

In order for a new sub's score to count in this circumstance, you need to manually calculate the sub's handicap based on that one round (or with some other method), and enter the sub's handicap into their info when adding them to the system, or you can click the "Edit Handicap" checkbox when entering their score, and you can manually set their handicap for that round.

What happens once a player establishes a handicap?

Once the player has the minimum number of rounds required, the system will go in and do the following: