I don’t need a handicap, I…
“…don’t play tournaments, or I can’t play tournaments because I work weekends.”
Many people are intimidated by the word “tournament” because it draws to mind the high-profile events such as the Colorado Open and the CGA Match Play Championship. The percentage of Golf Association members who play in these events is actually very small. There are hundreds of tournaments run every season by the Golf Associations of Colorado and individual clubs that include some relaxing and fun formats for individuals as well as teams. Many of these events are held during the week so weekends aren’t a factor. You never know when your co-workers, friends, or in-laws might ask you to play in a corporate outing or a charity event, and a handicap gives you the option of saying “I’d love to!”
“…am not good enough, my Handicap Index would be too high.”
Did you know that if you occasionally break 120 you would still have a Handicap Index under the maximum that can be issued? And golf clubs can even issue a local handicap that exceeds the maximum. Remember, one of the purposes of a Handicap Index is to “even the playing field” for golfers of all abilities to compete equitably. A Handicap Index replaces phrases like “not good enough” and “can’t compete” with terms like “teammate” and “contributor”. Imagine you are playing a team best-ball event and you manage to bogey a par 4 that all of your teammates bogey also. Let’s say your high Handicap Index gives you two strokes on the hole, so your net score becomes a birdie. It’s “high-fives” all around! You’re a hero!
“…don’t play enough to have a Handicap Index.”
Do you play at least five times a year? Of course you do! Did you know that you only need five scores to have an official USGA Handicap Index calculated? Eventually, it will be based on the last twenty scores in your score history, but five is the minimum to get started.
“…can average my own scores, so why should I pay the CGA to do it?”
A Handicap Index is a tool that measures your potential golfing ability. It is not an average of your scores. If you average 90 on a short, less difficult course, and your friend averages 90 on a long, more difficult course (say, Castle Pines Golf Club), are you both equal in playing ability? Of course not. Your friend would likely average an 85 or less on your course, and you would likely average a 95 or higher on their course. A Handicap Index is accurate because it is based on your scores and the difficulty level of the courses you achieve them on. And don’t forget that your Handicap Index is portable. Take it with you everywhere you play because it adjusts each course to your potential ability, rather than you trying to adjust your ability to each course!
“…want to wait until I play better to worry about getting a Handicap Index.”
Actually this is the perfect time to get a Handicap Index. Imagine a man who decides to lose weight and goes on a diet. The first thing he would purchase is a scale in order to monitor his progress and help him in setting goals. The golfer’s Handicap Index is the equivalent to the dieter’s scale. Your Handicap Index is the only true gauge by which to measure your progress as your golfing ability improves. By using it to set and achieve short-term goals each time you play, you are working toward your long-term goal of improving, which is demonstrated by a decrease in your Handicap Index. When the dieter hops on the scale and sees his weight drop, he will feel the same sense of self-accomplishment that you will when you see your Handicap Index drop.
“…don’t play the same course all the time.”
The USGA Handicap System is in place throughout Colorado (and the U.S.) so you can post scores from virtually every course in Colorado as well as from your “business” trips out-of-state. Your USGA Index is portable, so if you like to break up the monotony and play new courses, feel free!
“…only compete against my friends and most of them don’t have one.”
Well how fair is that? You could have the round of your life and finish last. If you and your friends have a Handicap Index you could level the playing field and make the competition a lot more interesting. Taking their “word for it” or playing them scratch could result in the loss of many games, wagers, beverages, etc.
“…can’t afford a Handicap Index.”
You can take advantage of the USGA Handicap System all year for what one day of golf might cost you. Not only is it affordable, it’s a steal!