What Handicap Are LPGA Tour Players?

Do professional golfers ever keep a handicap and, if so, what do they play off?

LPGA player Esther Henseleit had the lowest recorded handicap in Europe, +7.1, before turning professional
(Image credit: Getty Images)

It’s an interesting discussion, one that plenty of club golfers will have had at some point – what would the world’s best professional golfers play off? ‘Would’ is the key word, because in professional golf there is no handicap system; no shots are given, the best gross score wins.

Some professional players do keep a handicap at their home clubs; they’re not official, because of their professional status, but it allows them to retain a record and gives them a guide of how many shots they need to give should they ever have a match against an amateur, perhaps a game against a friend.

Tour professionals are often asked what their handicap was before they turned professional, and some are surprising. Not every golfer reaches +4 or better before turning professional. Many a player will make decision to turn professional long before getting to that level.

Of course, this doesn't mean they immediately become Tour professionals – there's a big difference between a professional and a Tour professional. 

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Some players are happy to remain amateur players and witness their handicaps come tumbling down before giving up their amateur status. Germany's Esther Henseleit, for example, had the lowest recorded handicap in Europe, +7.1, before turning professional in 2019.

Based on this, we can safely assume that the likes of LPGA Tour stars Nelly Korda, Jin Young Ko and 2023 AIG Women’s Open champion, Lilia Vu, would have had a handicap around the same number.

The handicaps belonging to the best female amateurs in the world also reveal a lot about the standard we’re talking about, and gives you an idea of what kind of handicap LPGA Tour professionals females might have.

For example, Lottie Woad (Farnham Golf Club), the number 15 in the World Amateur Golf Rankings (WAGR), is off +6.5, and Charlotte Heath (Huddersfield Golf Club), ranked number nine in the WAGR, is off +5.8.

Michael Weston
Contributing editor

Michael has been with Golf Monthly since 2008. As a multimedia journalist, he has also worked for The Football Association, where he created content to support the men's European Championships, The FA Cup, London 2012, and FA Women's Super League. As content editor at Foremost Golf, Michael worked closely with golf's biggest equipment manufacturers, and has developed an in-depth knowledge of this side of the industry. He's now a regular contributor, covering instruction, equipment and feature content. Michael has interviewed many of the game's biggest stars, including six world number ones, and has attended and reported on many Major Championships and Ryder Cups. He's a member of Formby Golf Club.