We all think that we should beat our handicaps in every round, but how often do we actually manage it?

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How Often Should Golfers Play To Their Handicap?

Most, if not all, golfers set out on a round of golf to beat their handicap – but how often do we actually achieve the feat?

We’re led to believe that getting 36 points is a once-a-month thing or perhaps only three or four times a year, but that doesn’t really account for competition and social play.

Most golfers will score much better in social play as oppose to competitions simply due to the pressure, so shooting your handicap most weeks in the roll up probably isn’t an exact representation of your game.

With a scorecard in hand and no gimmes, competition play is a completely different beast to a friendly knock with your pals.

With that in mind, we put out a tweet asking golfers how often they expect to play to their handicap, and the results were interesting…

From the replies we got, with people giving us competition/handicap data, we saw a slight pattern…

  • Around 50% of competition rounds are above buffer zone
  • Around 25% of competition rounds are in buffer zone
  • Around 25% of competition rounds are below handicap

That equates to half of rounds above buffer zone and half of rounds being in the buffer zone or below handicap.

You could work the averages differently, perhaps every 1/3 rounds you get cut, 1/3 you make buffer and 1/3 you go up .1, however, largely speaking, most competitions rounds see golfers miss buffer and go up 0.1.

From a personal standpoint, here are my results from 13 competitions so far this year…

  • 9/13 rounds over buffer zone
  • 2/13 rounds in buffer zone
  • 1/13 rounds under handicap

That works out to 39% of rounds in buffer or below, and 61% of rounds over buffer zone.

Those figures do not make for great reading and are below the average we found with our Twitter audience and probably well below the actual averages.

However, most of my good rounds have come outside of competitions like most golfers, as I struggle to play under the pressure of a competition.

Below, see a number of Tweets with our audience’s results so far this season…

How often do you play to your handicap? And do you tend to play to it more often in social play than competitions?

Have your say on the Golf Monthly Facebook and Twitter pages