The Importance of Handicaps

It’s the start of another golf season here on Cape Cod and the amateur men’s and ladies’ leagues are shaking off the dust from their clubs and teeing up their golf balls for another competitive season. It’s time to sign up for an official GHIN handicap. Guest writer and PGA Head Pro explains why it’s important to maintain an honest golf handicap.

couple in golf cart

There are countless reasons why golf is the greatest game in the world: the beauty of the courses, the ever changing conditions, and the camaraderie enjoyed by those who play together, to name a few.  In my mind, however, the absolute number one reason is the existence of handicaps. 

You could never challenge Lebron James to a game of one-on-one.  Nor could you have a fair match against Roger Federer.  Golf, however, is a different animal.  You could not only play a fair match against the likes of, say, Dustin Johnson, you could actually win!  How?  By utilizing a great equalizer – the handicap system.

It is extremely important that you utilize the system honestly and accurately.  We’ve all heard the word “sandbagger”, and what it really means in absolutely no uncertain terms is CHEATER.  Those who knowingly manipulate their handicaps either by posting artificially high scores, and/or conveniently “forgetting” to post their good scores are deliberately cheating those they call friends. 

Not all those who manipulate their handicaps are sandbaggers.  Although less common, some people have what we call a “vanity handicap”.  These people post only their good scores, seemingly so they can brag about their low handicap.  You might think these people are only hurting themselves, but seeing as how a large percentage of golf is played in a team setting, I’d beg to differ. 

I’d urge all golfers to maintain (honestly & accurately) an official GHIN handicap.  In addition to being a great motivating tool, it keeps things equitable among players of all ability levels, and is just one more thing that makes golf the greatest game.

Guest Post from Jesse Schechtman, PGA, Head Professional, Hyannis Golf Course (2019 New England PGA Merchandiser of the Year)

FAQ How to get an official Golf handicap