Image credit: Suhaimi Abdullah/SportSG
An all-inclusive game, golf is a sport that has a handicap system in place in order to allow players across all skill and experience levels to compete on equal footing. The calculation of each golfer’s handicap provides a rough estimate of his or her playing potential, and is a major factor in the determination of final scores following a game.
No official tests are required for a golfer to obtain a handicap - most usually just record their scores and present them to the course or club committee for calculation. Hence, every golfer should play with integrity, to the best of his or her abilities, in order to get as accurate a number as possible.
The Singapore Golf Association (SGA) adheres to the handicap calculation system that the United States Golf Association (USGA) has established. Golfers must play at courses that have a USGA-approved Course Rating and Slope Rating, and a Handicap Index will be generated for them based on their scores.
This Handicap Index may then be converted to a Course Handicap that will permit them to play on courses. Golfers need not calculate this on their own either - there are Course Handicap Tables at golf clubs and courses in Singapore that one may consult. This Course Handicap is also the figure that each golfer must enter on his or her score card when competing.
Some scores may not be accepted for handicap calculation. Players will then need to resubmit a new score that complies with the regulations. Such a scenario occurs under the following circumstances:
● Not enough holes have been played. Players must play at least seven holes in order to determine their handicap.
● The length of the course that they have played on is too short - an 18-hole course should measure at least 2,700 metres and a 9-hole one should not be shorter than 1,350 metres.
● The course that they have played on does not a have a USGA Course Rating and Slope Rating, making it impossible to calculate the Handicap Index.