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The Golf Club | June 2, 2023

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The big feature in the, soon to be released, Feature Update 2 will be the Handicap System. It can seem a bit daunting to the uninitiated and as quite a few of you have never played with a handicap, we thought we’d give you a quick guide to how it works in The Golf Club.


What is a Handicap?

A handicap is a system that will bring competitiveness between players of all skill levels. It is weighted in a way that the better player will normally win but if they have an off round or weaker player has an exceptional day then the weaker player will win.

Dev Diary

The Handicap screen in the My Stats section.


How do I get one in The Golf Club?

To get a Handicap you will need to play 5 rounds at Handicap rated courses. The game will look at your scores on these rounds and calculate you a Handicap. After this point every round you have on a Handicap Rated course will adjust your handicap.


How does a course get Handicap Rated?

In The Golf Club, a course needs 200 plays to become Handicap Rated. Once it is played 200 times the game will be able to work out the course Slope Rating and the Stroke Index for each hole


What does my Handicap Mean?

The Handicap can be from 38 through to an infinite positive number (+8 is Tiger Woods’ handicap). Having a handicap between 1 and 38 means that you are allowed an extra shot on certain holes, depending on their Stroke Index. The harder the hole the more shots you’ll get. If you have a positive handicap, like Tiger, you’ll have less shots on easier holes on the course.


What is a Stroke Index?

Each hole on the course is rated on difficulty. A stroke index of 18 will be the easiest hole with 1 being the hardest.


An example scorecard with the handicap system in play.


What holes will I get my shots on?

In The Golf Club, the scorecard will indicate which holes you get shots taken away from or added to your score. These are indicated with a ‘.‘ if you get an extra shot to make par on that hole or a ‘+‘ if you need to take less shots to make a par. For example, if you have a ‘+’ symbol beside the par 4 5th hole on the scorecard then the par for you on that hole becomes 3. You will need to score a 3 on that hole to avoid dropping a shot. If you have a ‘.’ instead on the same hole then your par becomes 5.


Here’s an example

If I have a Handicap of 1, I am awarded an extra shot to reach par on the course and the only hole affected on the round will be the hardest hole on the course (Stroke Index 1). If this hole is a par 5 and I shoot a 6, it will still be classed as a 5 in my NET score, or 3 points in Stableford because I had an extra shot.

If I have +1 handicap the only hole affected will be the easiest hole on the course (Stroke Index 18), on that hole, a par 3 say, I’ll need to shoot a 2 to have my net score classed as a par, or my Stableford points to be 3 points.

In Tiger Woods’ case (he has a +8 handicap) he would need to birdie eight holes to get an even par for those holes and those holes he would need to birdie would be the eight easiest so the ones with a Stoke Index 18, 17, 16, 15, 14, 13, 12 and 11.

In the case of my Real Life Handicap 21, I get a to make a bogey on 15 holes and a double bogey on the holes with an SI of 1, 2 and 3.

A golfer with a Scratch Handicap, 0, will get no shots taken from or added to their scorecard.


Why does my Handicap fluctuate between courses?

On certain courses, easier ones, you’re handicap may adjust to make it a little harder. Little Brook Manor is likely to reduce your handicap by a shot or 2, for example.


Course Ratings Calculation

After an elligible (18 or 9 holes, >170 Yards/Hole on average) course has reached 200 plays, our system rates it. It uses scoring data from every round played up until the point it is rated, and the course scratch rating and bogey rating are taken using carefully chosen median values. Using these ratings the slope rating is calculated using the USGA formula ((Bogey Rating – Slope Rating) * 5.381). Stroke index is also calculated using scoring data; the holes are split by front and back nine and ordered by highest average score to lowest. We then determine the harder half by higher average total score and begin by giving the hardest hole on that half stroke index 1, then the hardest hole on the other half 2, then the second hardest hole on the first half 3, etc..


What does this mean for The Golf Club?

As little or as much as you want. You can look at the Net Score or the Total Score column. You can look at the Handicap Adjusted Leaderboards or the Normal Leaderboards. You can play or create tournaments with or without the handicap system being applied. It’s up to you really.