Golf's 90% handicap allowance and more... a ready reckoner

From 1st January 2016, CONGU switched to a 90% handicap allowance in fourball betterball. Here we offer a quick-look table, and a little more detail...

Want to know how many shots? This ready reckoner will help...

From 1st January 2016, CONGU switched to a 90% handicap allowance in fourball betterball. Here we offer a quick-look table, and a little more detail...

Once you stray away from straightforward individual Medal play where it's simply a matter of adding up your score and deducting your playing handicap, it's important to know which players gets how many shots in both matchplay and strokeplay events.

Fourball betterball, foursomes and other less common formats all apply different percentages, with the Utopian aim being that everyone playing in an event should, in theory, have an equal chance regardless of ability.

However, things changed a little at the beginning of this year, with the 2016 CONGU revisions stipulating that in fourball betterball it would be increased from three-quarters to 90% handicap allowance. In strokeplay it is 90% of each individual's handicap; in matchplay it is 90% of the difference between each individual's handicap and that of the low man or woman in the quartet.

Since we are working in tenths here, the maths is pretty straightforward, but for anyone not quite sure, the table below serves as a handy ready reckoner. Normal rounding rules still apply (halves and above are rounded up) which means any difference of five shots or less will effectively equate to full allowance. Foursomes allowances remain at half combined.

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Here's a quick summary of how it works with golf's most common formats in first matchplay, and then strokeplay.

Golf handicaps in matchplay

Individual Full difference between the handicaps of the players.

Fourball betterball Lowest handicapper to concede strokes to the other three players based on 90% of the difference between their full handicaps.

Foursomes Half the difference between the combined handicaps of each side.

Golf handicaps in strokeplay, bogey or par competitions

Individual

Full handicap is deducted from the total score.

Foursomes

Half the combined handicap of both players is deducted from the total score.

Fourball betterball

Each player receives 90% of his full individual handicap taken against Stroke Index. Better net score to count on each hole.

Individual Stableford

Full handicap with strokes taken according to the Stroke Index of each hole.

Foursomes Stableford

Half the combined handicap of both players, with strokes taken against the Stroke Index of each hole

Fourball betterball Stableford

Each player receives 90% of his full individual handicap taken against Stroke Index. Better Stableford score to count on each hole.

Jeremy Ellwood
Contributing Editor

Jeremy Ellwood has worked in the golf industry since 1993 and for Golf Monthly since 2002 when he started out as equipment editor. He is now a freelance journalist writing mainly for Golf Monthly across the whole spectrum from courses and Rules to equipment and instruction. He also edits The Golf Club Secretary Newsletter, a highly regarded trade publication for golf club secretaries and managers, and has authored or co-authored three books and written for a number of national papers including The Telegraph and The Independent. He is a senior panelist for Golf Monthly's Top 100 UK & Ireland Course Rankings and has played all of the Top 100 plus 91 of the Next 100, making him well-qualified when it comes to assessing and comparing our premier golf courses. He has now played well over 950 golf courses worldwide in 35 countries, right across the spectrum from the humblest of nine-holers in the Scottish Highlands to the very grandest of international golf resorts, but put him on a links course anywhere and he will be blissfully content.

Jezz can be contacted via Twitter - @JezzEllwoodGolf


Jeremy is currently playing...

Driver: Ping G425 LST 10.5˚ (draw setting), Mitsubishi Tensei AV Orange 55 S shaft

3 wood: Ping G425 Max 15˚ (set to flat +1), Mitsubishi Tensei AV Orange 65 S shaft

Hybrid: Ping G425 17˚, Mitsubishi Tensei CK Pro Orange 80 S shaft

Irons 3-PW: Ping i525, True Temper Dynamic Gold 105 R300 shafts

Wedges: Ping Glide 4.0 50˚ and 54˚, 12˚ bounce, True Temper Dynamic Gold 105 R300 shafts

Putter: Ping Fetch 2021 model, 33in shaft (set flat 2)

Ball: Varies but mostly now TaylorMade Tour Response