Are you curious about what a plus handicap in golf means? Let me break it down for you. A plus handicap is a numerical representation of a golfer’s exceptional skill and consistency on the course. Unlike a regular or “negative” handicap, which suggests a player will play above par, a plus handicap means the golfer consistently shoots below par.

The handicap system in golf is designed to ensure fair competition among players of different skill levels. It allows golfers to compete on an even playing field and showcases the exceptional abilities of those with a plus handicap.

So, what does having a plus handicap really mean? It means that a golfer is better than the course standard and has the potential to play at an elite level. If you’re interested in learning more about the golf handicap system and how a plus handicap is achieved, keep reading!

Key Takeaways:

  • A plus handicap in golf indicates exceptional skill and consistency on the course.
  • A golfer with a plus handicap consistently shoots below par.
  • The handicap system in golf ensures fair competition among players of different skill levels.
  • Having a plus handicap means the golfer is better than the course standard and has the potential to play at an elite level.
  • To achieve a plus handicap, golfers need to focus on improving their ball striking, course management, and mental strength.

Understanding the Golf Handicap System

The golf handicap system plays a crucial role in leveling the playing field and ensuring fair competition among golfers of different skill levels. By providing a numerical measure of a player’s potential ability, the handicap system enables golfers to compete on an equal footing.

So, how does a plus handicap work in golf? A plus handicap is a designation given to golfers who consistently play better than the standard course difficulty. In other words, they shoot below par on a regular basis. A plus handicap is a mark of exceptional skill and consistency, signifying that the golfer is an above-average player.

The calculation of a plus handicap involves taking into account the player’s most recent 20 scores and the difficulty of the courses they played. This formula ensures that the handicap accurately reflects the golfer’s ability based on their recent performances. A golfer with a plus handicap is expected to consistently shoot below par, demonstrating their superior skills on the course.

With a plus handicap, a golfer gains a significant advantage in competitive play. They are given strokes to adjust their score relative to the course standard, resulting in a fairer and more balanced competition. Having a plus handicap is a testament to a golfer’s skill and can open doors to higher-level tournaments and recognition in the golfing community.

To further illustrate the concept of a plus handicap, consider the following table:


As shown in the table, John, Sarah, and David have plus handicaps ranging from +1.8 to +3.2. This indicates that they consistently shoot below par and possess high levels of golfing skill and ability. Their plus handicaps make them formidable competitors in any golfing event, challenging the course standard and pushing their limits.

In conclusion, understanding the golf handicap system is crucial for players looking to compete at different skill levels. A plus handicap signifies superior skill and consistency, allowing golfers to excel in competitive play. By calculating a golfer’s potential ability based on past performances, the handicap system promotes fair competition and recognizes exceptional golfing talents.

Course Rating and Slope Rating

In the world of golf handicaps, Course Rating and Slope Rating are essential components that play a crucial role in determining a player’s handicap for a specific golf course. Let’s take a closer look at what these ratings entail and how they contribute to the golf handicap system.

Course Rating is a numerical representation of the difficulty level of a golf course for a scratch golfer, which is a golfer who plays at or around par. It is expressed as a number and represents the expected score that a scratch golfer would achieve when playing the course. A lower Course Rating indicates an easier course, while a higher rating suggests a more challenging one.

Slope Rating, on the other hand, measures the relative difficulty of the course for a bogey golfer compared to a scratch golfer. It is also expressed as a number and provides an indication of how much harder the course is for a bogey golfer. A higher Slope Rating implies a greater challenge for the bogey golfer, while a lower rating signifies a comparatively easier course.

When determining a golfer’s handicap for a specific course, both the Course Rating and Slope Rating are taken into account. These ratings, along with the golfer’s recent scores on other courses, are used in a formula to calculate the handicap. This ensures that each golfer’s handicap reflects the level of challenge they are likely to face on a particular course, making the handicap system fair and equitable for all players.

Course Rating and Slope Rating provide valuable insights into the difficulty of a golf course, allowing golfers to assess and compare courses based on their skill level. They are essential tools in the golf handicap system, enabling fair competition and enhancing the overall golfing experience.

Achieving a Plus Handicap

Achieving a plus handicap in golf requires a combination of skill, consistency, and mental strength. To become a plus handicap golfer, there are several key tips that you can follow:

  1. Focus on improving ball striking: Developing a consistent and accurate swing is crucial for achieving a plus handicap. Practice your technique, work on your fundamentals, and strive for solid contact with the ball on every shot.
  2. Hone your course management skills: Understanding the layout of the course, knowing when to take risks or play conservatively, and making smart decisions based on your abilities are essential for consistently scoring below par.
  3. Eliminate big misses: Minimizing costly mistakes, such as hitting into hazards or out-of-bounds areas, can significantly impact your score. Focus on accuracy and consistency to avoid unnecessary strokes.
  4. Hit a high percentage of greens in regulation: The ability to consistently hit greens in regulation puts you in position for birdie opportunities. Develop your iron play and aim to hit a high percentage of greens to score below par consistently.
  5. Develop a reliable short game: The short game, including chipping, pitching, and putting, contributes to a significant portion of your overall score. Practice these skills extensively to save crucial strokes around the green.
  6. Embrace the concept of playing a “boring” game: While golf can be an exciting and challenging sport, embracing the idea of playing a safe and conservative game can help you avoid blow-up holes and maintain consistency throughout your round.
  7. Quickly recover from mistakes: Even the best golfers make mistakes. The key is to recover quickly and move on from bad shots or bad holes. Stay mentally strong and focus on the next shot rather than dwelling on past errors.

By following these tips and consistently practicing and improving your skills, you can work towards achieving a plus handicap and join the exclusive group of elite golfers who play at a level above par.

The Elite Plus Handicap Golfer

The elite plus handicap golfer represents the pinnacle of golfing excellence. These golfers possess a rare combination of skill, consistency, and mental strength. They have a deep understanding of the game, display exceptional shot-making abilities, precision in short games, and superior course management.

Less than 1.5% of registered golfers have a plus handicap, highlighting the rarity and skill level associated with achieving this level of proficiency.

Qualities of an Elite Plus Handicap Golfer
Deep understanding of the game
Exceptional shot-making abilities
Precision in short games
Superior course management

Statistics on Plus Handicap Golfers

  • Less than 1.5% of registered golfers have a plus handicap.
  • Plus handicap are more common among professional players.
  • Male and female golfers have a lower average handicap compared to plus handicap.

Putting and Course Management

When it comes to achieving a plus handicap in golf, ball striking is undeniably important. However, it’s crucial not to overlook the significance of putting and course management. Plus handicap golfers understand the value of being skilled at limiting and recovering from mistakes. They possess a solid putting game and recognize the importance of managing the course effectively.

Putting is a key aspect of a golfer’s game, and plus handicap golfers prioritize developing a consistent and reliable putting stroke. They understand that every stroke counts and that sinking putts can make a significant difference in their overall score. By focusing on improving their putting skills, plus handicap golfers can gain an advantage on the greens and maximize their scoring potential.

In addition to putting, course management is another area where plus handicap golfers excel. They make smart decisions on the course and avoid unnecessary risks. By strategically positioning themselves for the best possible scoring opportunities, they increase their chances of shooting below par consistently.

Awareness of the course’s challenges and hazards allows plus handicap golfers to plan their shots effectively and minimize mistakes. They understand that it’s not always about hitting the longest shot but rather about playing strategically and taking calculated risks when necessary.

Course management encompasses various elements such as club selection, shot placement, and having a strong mental game. Plus handicap golfers take into account factors like wind direction, the course’s layout, and their own abilities to make informed decisions. By utilizing their course management skills, they can navigate challenging holes with confidence and optimize their chances of shooting under par.

The Role of Course Management in Plus Handicap Golf

Course management is especially critical for plus handicap golfers because it allows them to play strategically and adapt to different conditions on the course. They focus on playing to their strengths and minimizing their weaknesses. By making sound decisions and avoiding unnecessary risks, plus handicap golfers can maintain control over their game and maximize their scoring potential.

Effective course management enables plus handicap golfers to:

  • Select the right clubs for different shots and distances
  • Identify and avoid potential hazards
  • Position themselves strategically for optimal approach shots
  • Utilize their strengths to gain an advantage
  • Maintain a consistent and controlled game

By combining solid putting skills with effective course management, plus handicap golfers can elevate their game to the next level. These two aspects work hand in hand to help golfers consistently shoot below par and achieve a plus handicap.

Rare Achievements and Statistics

Reaching a plus handicap level is a rare achievement in the world of golf. Less than 1.5% of registered golfers have a plus handicap, highlighting the exceptional skill and consistency required to achieve this level of proficiency. The average handicap for male and female golfers is significantly higher than a plus handicap, further emphasizing the rarity and skill level associated with reaching a plus handicap.

Plus handicap golfers are often found among professional players, showcasing their exceptional abilities and dedication to the sport. However, even within the ranks of professional players, achieving a high plus handicap is considered rare and indicative of being among the world’s top golfers.

To illustrate the rarity of achieving a plus handicap, the table below provides statistics comparing the percentage of registered golfers with plus handicaps for men and women:

CategoryPercentage of Registered Golfers with Plus Handicap
MenLess than 1%
WomenLess than 0.5%

This data clearly demonstrates the rarity of plus handicaps, particularly among registered male and female golfers. Achieving a plus handicap is a remarkable accomplishment that showcases a golfer’s exceptional skill, consistency, and dedication to the game.

Notable Plus Handicap Achievers

  • Tiger Woods
  • Dustin Johnson
  • Bryson DeChambeau
  • Brooks Koepka
  • Rory McIlroy

These golfers are just a few examples of professionals who have achieved a plus handicap, highlighting their exceptional talent and dedication to the game.


A plus handicap in golf represents exceptional skill, consistency, and mental strength. The journey to achieving a plus handicap may be challenging, but it is a rewarding and enjoyable pursuit.

One of the benefits of having a plus handicap is the ability to compete at a high level. Plus handicap golfers have honed their skills to the point where they can consistently shoot below par, showcasing their golfing excellence. The recognition that comes with having a plus handicap is a testament to their hard work and dedication.

Furthermore, achieving a plus handicap is a rare accomplishment that brings personal satisfaction. It demonstrates the golfer’s commitment to improving their game and reaching the highest level of proficiency. Regardless of whether the plus handicap is attained, the journey itself is fulfilling, as it allows golfers to continually challenge themselves and experience the joy of playing the game.

In conclusion, the journey towards achieving a plus handicap in golf is filled with benefits and rewards. It requires dedication, perseverance, and a love for the game. Whether you reach a plus handicap or not, the pursuit of improvement should always remain a priority, as it allows you to continually push your boundaries and enjoy the sport to its fullest.