Tour pros play a game that is both foreign and familiar.
On the one hand, they follow the same rules and use the same equipment as we do (at least for now, although the possibility of golf ball rollback is still being discussed).
On the other hand, it excels in every performance category. They hit the ball farther and straighter. Improves chip and putt accuracy.
How much better are they than us average duffers?
Unlike many sports, in golf you can quantify the difference between the pros and the Joes.
The World Handicap System, devised by the governing body, works just as well for players like Jon Rahm and Scottie Scheffler as it does for weekend foursomes.
If you surf the USGA’s handicap management site GHIN, you’ll see that pros take advantage of this system. A significant number of them hold handicaps. The problem is that it’s not always kept up to date. Take Max Homa for example. He is listed as a plus-9 on GHIN and plays at the Plantation, a private club in the Palm Springs, California, area. But the last time he posted a score was in January, and we know he’s been playing a lot of golf since then.
What would happen if Homa’s handicap index remained as it is? What about Rahm and Scheffler? And what about the game’s elite members like Brooks Koepka, Collin Morikawa, and Cameron Smith?
we wanted to know.
So we collected scoring data from 10 of the men’s professional game’s greatest stars (the top nine in the Official World Golf Rankings, plus Brooks Koepka, who has been on a tear at recent majors), and we’ve collected score data from our friends at the USGA. I asked them. Please help us calculate the numbers. To determine the handicaps of Rahm, Scheffler, Koepka et al., the USGA used the same method it applies to all of us. The best 8 of the last 20 rounds for each player based on score difference (score difference is the score) relative to course difficulty, measured by slope and course rating, calculates the average difference.
Please note that all 20 rounds were played in the tournament. The calculations did not take into account scores from other rounds that the 10 golfers might have played during the same time period, since the scores were not made public. Augusta National also does not have a course or slope rating, so 2023 Masters scores are not included.
Another note: Calculations are based on course and slope ratings from each venue’s championship distance, but do not take into account course setup. Because specific evaluations of those setups are also not available. In the case of the Mexico Open, because the tournament setting played longer than the course’s longest rated yardage, the USGA used a procedure known as Appendix G that takes that difference into account.
In an ideal world, the more data the better. “We always want people to post all their scores,” says Lee Rainwater, the USGA’s director of handicapping, education and assistance. “And as a handicapper, I’m especially interested in knowing all the scores that tour pros are recording, including rounds played with friends at their home club.”
Still, Rainwater said these additional scores are unlikely to significantly change the tour pros’ handicaps because their scores are already so low and “it’s hard to imagine them getting even lower.”
You can check the handicap below. Meanwhile, if you want another way to compare yourself to the best players in the world, the USGA created this fun tool. This tool calculates what you’ll hit this week at Los Angeles Country Club, home of the U.S. Open, based on your handicap and estimated score. Slope and course evaluation for championship setup.
tour pro handicap
Through the commemorative meeting (June 4th)
(1*) Scotty Scheffler: +8.4
(2) Jon Rahm: +7.7
(3) Rory McIlroy: +6.3
(4) Patrick Cantlay: +7.4
(5) Viktor Hovland: +7.5
(6) Xander Schauffele: +7.8
(7) Max Homa: +6.5
(8) Matthew Fitzpatrick: +6.6
(9) Cameron Smith: +7.6
(13) Brooks Koepka: +8.2