What Would You Shoot At The US Open? This Cool New USGA Tool Reveals Just That

The USGA's target score calculator shows how hard it is to break par at the notoriously difficult US Open

General view of a golf ball at Pinehurst No.2 for the 2024 US Open
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Ever wondered what you would shoot at the US Open? The USGA has a handy tool that shows golfers of any level their target score if they were teeing it up at Pinehurst No.2 this week – and most won’t even come close to breaking par.

The US Open is considered to be the most difficult of the four Majors and is widely billed as the ‘toughest test in golf’.

The USGA, which runs the US Open every year, is known for its brutal course setups, from narrow fairways and thick roughs, to tricky pin locations. 

Former USGA boss Mike David once said that the US Open aims to test “all aspects” of a players’ game.

“We are truly fixated on getting the most out of each golf hole to really challenge the players in every facet of the game,” he said.

So for most amateurs wondering if they could potentially hang with the pros at the US Open, the answer is almost universally no.

According to the USGA’s Championship Course Handicap Calculator, only golfers with a +7 handicap index or better can expect to break par at the par-70 Pinehurst No.2 during this week’s US Open.

The tool shows golfers their target score based on their handicap index. Target score is calculated by adding a golfer’s course handicap (the number of strokes needed to play to par from the tees played) and par of the course played.

The USGA says target score can “help you set a realistic goal for every round”.

It means even a scratch golfer (handicap index of zero) would still be given eight strokes at the US Open, with a target score of 78.

To have a target score that breaks 100, you would need to have a handicap index of 16 or better. If you were playing off the maximum handicap of 54, you would be expected to shoot a whopping 149.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Handicap Vs Target Score At The 2024 US Open
Handicap IndexCourse HandicapTarget Score
Joel Kulasingham
News Writer

Joel Kulasingham is freelance writer for Golf Monthly. He has worked as a sports reporter and editor in New Zealand for more than five years, covering a wide range of sports including golf, rugby and football. He moved to London in 2023 and writes for several publications in the UK and abroad. He is a life-long sports nut and has been obsessed with golf since first swinging a club at the age of 13. These days he spends most of his time watching, reading and writing about sports, and playing mediocre golf at courses around London.