What Percentage of Golfers Play To A Single Digit Handicap?

What percentage of golfers play to a single digit handicap? The USGA says that it’s 1 percent.

If that’s the case why does it seem as though every other golfer I meet claims to be a single digit player?

5 Responses to “What Percentage of Golfers Play To A Single Digit Handicap?”

  1. martin on

    This has to do with frequency of play just as in the post last week on breaking 100.  Just under a third of my golf group is single digit, but they also are playing over 100 rounds a year, some of them every day.  But the 99% that are not single digit handicappers probably include a bunch of people who haven’t been seen at any course this year.  So you are more likely to meet people who play in the 70s or 80s because they are at the courses much more regularly. 

    I was thinking about this again yesterday, and what I would really like to see is the percentage of rounds played daily in the 70s, in the 80s, and in the 90s, and not breaking 100. 

    The USGA does not want to release that statistic (even if they know it) – because it would discourage high handicappers a great deal, make mid and low handicappers less satisfied with their achievement and probably negatively impact rounds played.  By giving this 5% break 100, 1% are single digit – etc- it makes people in the 80s feel great, and that they are almost in the top 1%.  Hell, I should get ready for the tour with my 12.5. 

    Another useless golf statistic- a tree is 90% air.  I am a consistent top 10% peformer in finding the targets in a tree.

  2. bkuehn1952 on

    I tend to agree with Martin’s analysis that one runs into more single digit handicappers because they play more often.  Also, since most of the male population claims to drive a ball 250 yards when the real number is 200, one should probably discount some of the handicap estimates one hears.

    According to the USGA, 25.1 percent of golfers with a handicap have an index of 10.0 or better. Of course, the vast majority of casual golfers do not have a USGA handicap index so the USGA results are probably based on a more skilled group of golfers than the general population.

    According to Leela (more on her in a minute), looking at the entire world of golf, only 4 percent of golfers have a single digit handicap.  A full 40 percent of golfers have no handicap or a handicap over 30.

    In my “club” there are 190 members and 56 have an index of 10.0 or less (29.5%).  All are male and 50 years old or higher.  All regularly participate in our tournaments.  Probably 1/3 of the 10.0 or less handicappers sport an index that verges on being a “vanity handicap”.  That is one of the reasons I like to get in the “A” flight.  Half the guys who say they are a 5.0 never break 80.

    Leela states she is interested in golf statistics and I came across her little dissertation during a search [ http://www.online-golf-lesson-and-more.com/golf-statistics.html ]  I am paranoid enough to NOT enter my information into her data base and I give no assurances as to what will happen if you input the information.  Perhaps get a solicitation from “BuyChinaGolfEquipment.Com”?

    Still her data seems more in line with reality than the USGA as respects all golfers.

  3. Mark on

    I too am very sceptical about this figure. But I suppose it perpetuates the market for the manufacturers of the latest whizz bang club “guaranteed” to slash shots from your score. If that 99% aspire to single figures there’s a lot of golfers to aim their $399 drivers at.


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