My Rising Handicap

The Governing Body of Golf In Canada.

The handicap is the golf’s measuring stick. Many casual players do not go through the effort to establish one because it has no bearing on their game. For more serious golfers, like me, establishing a handicap is important as it helps me gauge my play at any given time and provides a tangible goal to pursue. Additionally, it is important to establish a handicap through golf’s governing body if you want to play in tournaments at the local, provincial, or national level. And yet, establishing a handicap early in the season can be damaging to a golfer’s ego, so why go through the frustration?

The Canadian golf season is about 6 to 7 months long. Unless you live in warmer climes, most of us do not swing a golf club for 4-5 months. Therefore, when we return to golf with excitement and jubilance, our golf game is very rusty and the chances of picking up where we left off last season are very slim.

As a result of the long layoff, my handicap is now on the rise. As of this morning, it is 5.1. This is the highest factor I have had for many, many years. Looking at the number, I start to wonder what is wrong with my game. Do I have to revamp my entire swing? What needs fixing? Then I remember that I have broken my own rule of keeping my ego in check; never worry about my scores until mid-June!

That is right; I do not focus on my scores until about 6 weeks after playing regularly. It is unrealistic to think that my game is anywhere near ready to be tested on a day-to-day basis. I need to practice, physically train, and mentally prepare to play great golf. By not focusing on my scores, which in turn establishes my handicap, keeps my ego in check and my concern of a fluctuating handicap.

Every year I go through the same process and every year I have to take a breath, relax, and keep everything in perspective. After playing 30 holes last Wednesday, I understand that low golf scores are a result of preparation and focus. I shot my low round of the season, 77, for the first 18 holes and the last 12 were for Men’s night. The 77 was a good feeling and I was prepared to play well for 18 holes.

Unfortunately, in the last 12 holes, I did not fare as well. I was not prepared for the mental and physical challenges of playing that much golf. I apologized to my playing partners for playing so poorly and they advised me to take a cart for Men’s night next time instead of walking the entire 30 holes. I think that is great advice. Good thing the last 12 holes were not used in my handicap, however I did learn a valuable lesson about playing too much golf and what it does to my game.

Do you establish a handicap? If so, does it bother you when it rises early in your golfing season?

I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!


6 thoughts on “My Rising Handicap

  1. Hey Jim,

    Getting caught up on some reading here after being out of town on a golf adventure on Vancouver Island! Definitely wouldn’t worry about a rising handicap at the start of the season. You’re replacing mid-late season scores from last year when your game was at its best with rusty early season scores. I think this jump in handicap is something that happens to all of us. Sounds like you have the right attitude so that patience will pay off and it’ll be headed towards scratch in no time 🙂


    Liked by 1 person

  2. Jim, walking 30 holes? Wow. I am gassed and ready for a nap just reading about it. I think that’s where you need to put your ego on hold 🙂

    On the handicap, the numbers don’t lie and represent an accurate trend as your frequency of play rises. You play a lot so I wouldn’t ignore them. Look at how you were playing at the close of last season and how you’ve opened this year and try to be honest with yourself. If you need help, seek the assistance of your pro.

    Good luck, play well, and get a cart for that second 18!


    Liked by 1 person

    • Brian

      As always your sage advice is not falling on deaf ears. I have been looking at the differences and I have abandoned one thing, trying to gain an extra 20 yards off the tee. This process has not worked well for me and I think checking my ego in that regard is a very good idea. As far as walking 30 holes again, that will not happen again carrying golf clubs. I have switched back to a push cart and feel better already. Thanks for the advice.


      Liked by 1 person

      • Jim,
        I had no idea that you carried for those 30 holes, good lord!

        We are getting ready to embark on the 6-day marathon in Myrtle Beach starting Monday, May 29. I have realized that the entire trip is a physical drain when you play 36 a day even though we ride every hole. Just being out in the 80-degree heat for 11 hours drains you and I am making a few adjustments. Will start by hitting just a few warm-up balls every morning. A full bucket before playing exacerbates the fatigue which accumulates over the week. I’m also hopeful that the swing changes I’ve been working on with my instructor will conserve energy. When you get on a bad ball striking streak on one of these trips, it can be brutal until you catch a band-aid or the trip ends. Last pre-trip round coming today!



        Liked by 1 person

      • Brian

        It sounds like you are ready for your trip. You have been preparing for the fun and I expect all will go well. 36 a day is plenty of golf especially if you do not sleep well. Remember to hydrate with water and to eat healthy snacks when playing. This will help fight the fatigue factor. Good luck on your round today and I look forward to reading about your trip.


        Liked by 1 person

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