South West Montana Junior Golf Tour

Handicap Index

Did You Know?

How To Convert Your Handicap Index to A Course Handicap

First off... The SWMJGT does not flight you by your handicap.  Tour Players are assigned to Divisions by your age, three divisions for the boys and three divisions for the girls.  However, as one plays this great game, there is a need to understand exactly what a Handicap Index is and how it translates from one set of tees to another, one course to another.  Here is some helpful information on how it all works!
There are several easy ways to convert your Handicap Index to a Course Handicap? First, let’s review what the difference is between a Handicap Index and a Course Handicap, and the meaning of each. 

A Handicap Index indicates a measurement of a player’s potential ability on a course of standard playing difficulty. It is expressed as a number taken to one decimal place (like 10.4). This is your “raw” number at each revision, and you never actually play with your Index. Instead, you must convert it to a whole number to get your Course Handicap, using the Slope Rating of the specific set of tees you are playing. Don’t just drop the tenths off your Index! You will not have an equitable game. 

It’s crucial to change your Index to a Course Handicap, because this step takes the difficulty of the tees into consideration. A Course Handicap represents the number of strokes you need to play to the level of the scratch golfer, which is denoted by the Course Rating – again, on that particular set of tees you are playing. On a set of tees with a Slope Rating under 113 (USGA’s ‘standard slope’ course) you’ll get fewer strokes than your Index. On a set of tees with a Slope Rating over 113, you’ll get more strokes. 

Remember to do the conversion every time! There are various ways to accomplish this: 

1) Use the Conversion (or Slope) charts supplied by the MSGA and located at the golf course where you are playing your round.

2) Refer to your handy USGA Handicap System Reference Guide – it has slope charts in the back. This is a great booklet to keep in your golf bag. Purchase one from or the MSGA office. 

3) Use a Course Handicap Calculator, which allows you to plug in your current Index and the Slope Rating of the tees being played, to display the proper Course Handicap  

4) Or, have fun with some simple math! Take your Handicap Index, multiply it by the Slope Rating of the tees played, then divide by 113. The answer will be your Course Handicap (round to the nearest whole number; .4 rounds down, .5 rounds up)

Example: 10.4 Handicap Index x 125 Slope Rating / 113 Standard Slope Rating = 11.5. This is then rounded to a 12 Course Handicap