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.

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.


In 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 .


The handicap strokes are awarded per holes² depending on the Stroke Index (abbreviation on scorecards: SI, HCP or HDCP) of a particular hole. The Stroke Index of each golf hole is defined as the difficulty of one hole in comparison to other holes on the same course. They are numbered from 1 to 18 (9 for 9-hole courses). Stroke Index 1 is the hardest hole and Stroke Index 18 is the easiest hole.
see the example of Stroke Indexes…


back to: Handicap

update: January 2021