Handicap Strokes in Match Play

In stroke play, the idea of handicap is rather clear. The playing handicap of the player indicates how many handicap strokes this player gets against the field.

handicap strokes and handicap index in match play

In match play the situation is a bit different. The player with the lowest playing handicap doesn’t get any handicap strokes and plays at scratch. The other players receive the difference between their own playing handicap and that of the player with the lowest playing handicap.

Naturally, the playing handicaps of competitors (players or sides) must be calculated in advance on the basis of the handicap allowance, CR, SR and par for the course on which the match is played.

The handicap strokes are awarded per holes² depending on the Stroke Index (abbreviation on scorecards: Index, SI, HCP or HDCP) of a particular hole.
see the example of Stroke Indexes…

See net score page for more information about the allocation of handicap strokes.


In WHS for UK and Ireland a player competing from a set of tees with a different CR/par than other players receives more or fewer strokes for the round, depending on the difference between the CRs/pars. Therefore, for golfers competing in GB&I there is a separate calculator with the appropriate adjustment in the Playing Handicap calculation .




back to: Handicap

update: July 2021