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How Good Is A 15 Handicap In Golf?

If you are still new to playing golf, you may wonder how you rank compared to other players. You have heard other golfers say that they have a handicap of 15, but you don’t know if that is good or not. Understanding how golf handicaps work can even your playing field. 

Generally, if a golfer has a handicap of 15, they are considered to be a good player. A golfer considered an average player usually has a handicap of 15 – 20. Lower handicaps mean a player is more skilled. Handicaps allow players of any skill level to compete with each other.

You’re in the right place if you want to learn more about a 15 handicap in golf and ways to improve your game. Let’s begin!

How Good Is 15 Handicap In Golf?

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Understanding How Golf Handicaps Work

You may have a basic idea of what a golf handicap is, but you may not know why they exist and how a player’s handicap is determined. 

Simply put, a golf handicap measures a player’s average potential; it lets other golfers know how skilled you are. This system helps to create a more even playing field.

A handicap evens the board to give each player a fair chance of winning. Generally, golfers will try to play with others of similar handicaps though people of all handicaps can play together as the scores are adjusted according to each player’s handicap.

When playing an 18-hole game of golf, an average golfer with a handicap of 15 will have a score in the low nineties. If a golfer has a handicap between 5 and 10, they are considered to be a very good player. A handicap between one and four is regarded as professional level.

It is not common, but if a golfer has a true handicap of zero, they are considered a scratch golfer. That is the ultimate goal; el golfista perfecto! So now you know the purpose of a golf handicap, but how are they determined?

See Where You Rank

There are two ways to determine your handicap; this section will explain how they work.

Generic Handicap

This method is a simple way to get a generalized idea of your skill level; however, it is not as accurate as the following method. Nonetheless, this method is probably sufficient if you are a casual player who is not trying to win a PGA tournament.

To determine your handicap with the generic method, you will subtract the suggested par for the course from the number of strokes it took you to complete 18 holes. For example, if it took 100 strokes to complete a 75-par course, your handicap would be 25.

Golfer Putting

The Official Handicap

If you are serious about improving your golf game and want to know your true handicap, then the official handicap method is the way to go. The United States Golf Association started this method.

For your handicap to be correctly determined with the official method, you must play 12 rounds of golf within a certain period.

At the end of the 12th round, your scores will be averaged, and other considerations will be taken. Other considerations may include the slope and difficulty rating of the courses that were played.

How Is A 15 Handicap Calculated?

As mentioned above, handicaps are calculated by taking the average score over the last 20 rounds played and factoring in the course rating to achieve the handicap index. To achieve this, a 15-handicapped player would have shot an average of 15 over par on their last 20 rounds.

For a par 72 course, that score would have been 87, and for a par 71 course, the score would be 86, and so on. As a golfer, you would, for example, make par scores on 3 out of eighteen holes and bogeying the rest.

What Percentage Of Golfers Play Off A 15 Handicap?

According to the USGA, the average male golfer plays off a 14. Therefore a 15-handicap is only slightly inferior in its ability to the average.

Still, in terms of competition, the golfers can play as equals.

Here are some more cool stats!

As a 15 handicap golfer, you would be in a small group of golfers in the USA that play at this level as according to USGA handicap index stats, only 5.20% of male golfers in the USA play off a 15-15.9 handicap. Overall only 56% of golfers in the USA play at 15 handicap or lower.

That percentage is even smaller for women, with just 1.75% of female golfers playing off 15 handicap and just 10% of all women golfers playing off a 15 handicap or lower. So if you are a 15 handicap golfer, you are right up there!

Being in the top 10% of players in the USA as a lady or in the top 56% as a male puts you in a very decent group indeed and one that many golfers strive to become a member of.

Read more: What’s The Average Golf Handicap In The US?

Ways to Improve Your Golf Game

Now that you understand how golf handicaps are determined, you can work on ways to improve your game and get your handicap down to a number you are proud to brag about.

First Things First – Don’t Skip the Fundamentals

In life, it does not matter which game you are playing or the type of job you are doing; if you don’t learn the fundamental aspects, you will only progress to a certain point before becoming stagnant.

Simply put, learn the basics of golf. If possible, do learn from a golf professional who knows what they are talking about. Taking golf lessons can prevent a lot of bad habits from forming and improve your game.

Even if you are an experienced golfer, an occasional lesson can help get your game on track, correct any bad habits you may have acquired along the way, and ultimately improve your handicap.

It’s also not a process that you can rush, as golf takes time. Learn more here, How Long Does It Take To Learn Golf?

Gearing Up Properly

Playing any sport correctly and well helps if you have the right clothing and equipment. When golfing, you want to wear clothing that allows you to freely swing your arms. You want to be comfortable and wear breathable materials, including knowing what to wear to the driving range.

It can get pretty hot when you’re out on the course, especially if you have to carry your clubs. Even more important than clothing is your choice of clubs. This is where it helps to consult a professional golfer who can advise you on which clubs and brands are best for you and your current skill level.

Or you can check out this article, 5 Best Golf Irons For 15 Handicap Players.

Ian Poulter Bay Hill 2013
Photo of Ian Poulter I took at Arnold Palmer Invitational, Bay Hill 2013

Hit the Range – Practice Frequently

It may be a cliché, but practice truly does make perfect, or as close to perfect as possible. The more time you spend at the driving range and on the course, the more your game will improve.

Keep Your Eye On The Fairway

The main objective of golf is to get your ball in the hole with the least amount of strokes possible; however, trying to hit your ball as far as possible each time can be counterproductive and cost more strokes in the end.

When it is your turn to give the ball a whack, focus more on the fairway rather than the green. Often, people shoot for the green only to end up in the rough.

By focusing more on the fairway, you have a better chance of getting the ball to its final resting point than if you try to Happy Gilmore it every time you are at the tee. This tip is beneficial if you are still learning the game. It was also one of the first things I was told as a beginner.

A Handicap of 15 Ain’t Too Shabby for an Average Joe

At the end of the day, if you have a handicap of 15, you should pat yourself on the back. You have enough skill to play a good round of golf and give others a run for their money. The great thing about golf is anyone can learn at any age, so get out there and get that ace!

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