Can You Have A Negative Handicap In Golf?

I suppose it depends on how you look at handicaps. The vast majority of golfers could be said to have negative handicaps already since they are subtracting strokes from their gross score to get their nett score.

However, if you consistently score below par then eventually your handicap index will go below zero and this means you have a plus handicap which is added to your gross score rather than taken away!

On the computer systems used to calculate handicaps, this would be stored as a negative number because in mathematics subtracting a negative number results in addition.

For example:

A golfer with a handicap of 10 takes 82 strokes. This means the score will be 82-10 = 72.

A golfer with a handicap of +3 takes 70 strokes. This means he will score 70-(-3)=73.

If they were playing in the same handicap competition then the 10 handicapper would finish higher than the +3 handicapper.

Can You Have A Negative Handicap In Golf

What Is A Golf Handicap?

The World Handicap System was recently introduced (2020) in an attempt to standardize handicaps around the world. For a more detailed look check out my guide to golf handicaps.

If you want to know how to calculate a golf handicap then click here.

What Is The Lowest Handicap You Can Have In Golf?

While the World Handicap System sets an upper limit of 54 there is no limit to how low your handicap could go. However, realistically even if you managed to shoot 60 every time you went out then you would only be looking at a handicap index of +12!

In the West of England Open at my home club of Saunton, there were players with handicaps as low as +7!

In the video below James Robinson discusses entry to the Scottish Amateur where players had handicaps of +8 or +9 with Matthew Evans whose handicap has been as low as +7.4!

Matthew Evans on WHS handicaps!

Can You Have A Negative Handicap In Golf: Conclusion

Now you know there’s no limit to how low you can get your handicap what’s stopping you! Seriously you have to play some very good golf to even get to a scratch handicap much less to play off a plus handicap!

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