Sometimes higher scores are being used to calculate a golfer's handicap. Why?

Handicaps are based on your BEST handicap differentials...not lowest scores.

For example,

If a golfer had the following scores...

72 shot on course with 60.0 rating 113 slope
81 shot on course with 74.0 rating 113 slope

Which is the BEST score?
The 81 is by far the BEST score.
Why?

Rating and slopes are used to take into account the difficulty of the course.  A 74 rated course is much more difficult than a 60 rated course.

The equation for calculating a score's handicap differential:

diff = (score - rating) x 113 / slope

diff = (72 - 60) x 113/113
diff = 12

diff = (81 - 74) x 113/113
diff = 7

Thus the 81 is the best score (lowest handicap differential)

To quickly see a golfer's handicap differentials:

  1. Go to Reports menu
  2. Select Standard Reports
  3. Select Report #5. Handicap Sheet - Individual
To see complete details about how USGA calculates handicaps, go to usga.org.