What is a Low Handicap in Golf? (And Tips To Improve!)

By Chris Moore •  Updated on 02/25/22

Most amateur golfers might not establish handicaps or know what they are, but handicaps are used to create fair matches and are typically needed for tournament play.

In this article, we’ll cover what a handicap is, what defines a low handicap golfer, and how you can improve your score!

What is a Handicap in Golf?

A golf handicap is a score used to level the playing field for players of varying skill levels to compete fairly.

It involves a few different factors, such as course rating, slope rating, and your scores.

The lower the handicap you have, the better the golfer you are; the higher the handicap you have, the worse the golfer you are.

Previously, there were six handicap systems used across the world, but they recently combined to form the World Handicap System in 2020.

Before the WHS was formed, the following limitations were set for golfers:

Since the WHS was formed, the handicap limit is now 54 for both men and women.

What’s Considered a Low Handicap in Golf?

While low handicap is subjective, a golfer with a single-digit handicap generally falls into that category.

This would mean you’re typically shooting in the high 70s or low 80s on most courses.

Improving as a low handicap golfer takes a lot of work since you’re typically talented, understand the game well already, and have the proper equipment to score well.

But, there are a few things you can focus on to score better and more consistently.

How to Improve as a Low Handicap Golfer

Fairways in Regulation (FIR)

Hitting fairways in regulation is one of the best ways to improve your scores, giving yourself a much better approach shot than if you were to miss the fairway.

If you hit your tee shot onto the fairway, you hit the fairway in regulation.

Greens in Regulation (GIR)

After hitting the fairway in regulation, hitting greens in regulation are crucial.

It will help you improve your score since you can two-putt, and still score a par.

Putts per round

Decreasing the number of putts you take per round will help you drastically improve your score.

I’m sure you’ve heard the famous quote “drive for show, putt for dough” – it’s the truth, a good short game is often the difference between low handicappers and scratch golfers.

Up and downs & Sand saves

If you find yourself in a bad situation where you didn’t hit the fairway or green in regulation, you’ll need to hit an up and down or sand save.

To do this, you hit your approach close and one putt it, “saving” your score on the hole.

Scratch golfers save a ton of strokes, while low handicappers struggle more in this aspect.

Final thoughts

Being a low handicap golfer is a huge feat that most golfers will never achieve!

While some golfers simply play casually, others don’t have the time or commitment to get there.

It’s hard work and requires a lot of dedication, but if you put in the effort it’ll pay off and you’ll see your scores get lower and lower with time.

Maybe, you’ll even become a scratch golfer one day!

Chris Moore

Hi, I'm Chris Moore and I'm the guy behind As an avid golfer since 2010, I decided to create this blog to share everything I've learned over the years. Whether it's golf equipment, swing tips, or anything in-between, I want to make sure you have everything you need to become a better golfer.