Common Abbreviations Used in Golf Handicapping

The introduction of the world handicap system has added a few more abbreviations to the long list already used in golf! Here are some of the more important golf handicap abbreviations and what they mean.


Course rating. A calculation of the playing difficulty of the course for a scratch golfer under normal course and weather conditions. It takes into account yardage and other obstacles to the extent that they would affect a scratch player. The figure is expressed as strokes taken to 1 decimal place.


Playing conditions calculation. A statistical calculation to determine if the conditions on the day of play would have significantly impacted players’ performance.

A calculation will only be made if there are at least eight acceptable scores by players with handicap indexes of 36 or less. It will also exclude scores scaled up to 9 or 18 holes. Once computed the calculation may make an adjustment of -1, 0, +1, +2 or +3. This is then applied in the calculation for score differentials of players.

For those of you familiar with the CONGU Handicap system this appears to be a direct replacement for the Competition scratch score (CSS) calculation.


Slope rating. A measure of the relative difficulty of a golf course for a bogey golfer in comparison with a scratch golfer.


Withdrawn. If a handicap committee has reason to believe a player is failing to meet the responsibilities of the world handicap system then they can withdraw that player’s handicap.


Used to flag competition rounds on your handicap record.


Used to identify rounds where 2 9-hole scores have been combined.


Handicap Index. The figure you use to work out your course handicap from. The course handicap is how many shots you receive for a round on a specific course. Your handicap index is a number calculated from the best rounds you have played recently to give a reflection of your golfing ability.


Away. Denotes that the player has an away handicap. If you play in an event at another course you will see an A against your name or score to denote your handicap index is not processed by that club.


Penalty. Failure to post an acceptable score could mean the club imposing a penalty score to your index equal to the highest or lowest differential on your record.

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