At Nextgengolf, we get a lot of questions from 18-34 year old golfers about the best options for getting a golf handicap. Although we do not offer handicaps and we do not use or require handicaps in any of our summer tournaments, below are a couple options you may want to consider if you are looking to start tracking your scores and keeping handicap. Each option has its own pros and cons, and the best fit varies depending on the golfer and expected use.
Traditional option – Traditionally handicapping is completed at your local golf course and administered by the local State Golf Association in your area. GHIN is a company affiliated with the USGA who handles handicapping nationally through State Golf Associations.
- PROS- This handicap typically allows you to play in local club events, state golf association events and USGA events. If your handicap is official through a State Association, you will not get questioned whether it is real or not. This is the best option for a traditional golfer.
- CONS-If you get a handicap at your local golf course, the cost ranges from $25-$60 depending how much your club wants to charge. Online functionality can often be poor and slow. Online and mobile access varies depending on the State Association and golf course affiliation. Lack of data tracking and analytics beyond just putting in your scores and keeping a handicap.
To get an official GHIN handicap, you can visit your local club directly or use the GHIN website to find a club that offers handicaps in your area.
Online option– There are a number of websites out there which offer handicapping for free or a small fee for users. Typically these websites have a free option and provide a premium option if you want to use all the bells and whistles. Online handicaps are the future, but be careful about the service you are using when establishing an online handicap.
- PROS – Most online handicaps are free. For many people, keeping a handicap is just a number and they do not see the value of paying a $25-60 for the traditional route. Most online handicaps are run by technology companies that provide fast online/mobile access, additional stat tracking/analytics and premium services such as GPS and scorecard picture importing.
- CONS- Some online handicaps are not “official” and not USGA compliant. This means if you are looking to play in competitive tournaments, many of the events will not accept the handicap since it is not from a legitimate source. Some online handicapping services are just looking for your information to sell to a 3rd party. We will not mention names, but beware of some of the services which are too good to be true. You need to be careful about the online handicapping service you are using.
There are many options for establishing an online handicap, but we have done some research and tested a number of the services. In our opinion, a service called TheGrint is the best option for online handicaps. Their service is free, USGA compliant, and offers a number of cool premium features such as taking a picture of your scorecard to import a score and a free GPS. To learn more about TheGrint, check out their website.
**Kris Hart is the CEO of Nextgengolf. Do you have a golf handicap? Let me know on Twitter @nextgolfer.