Most professional golfers on major tours don’t keep a real USGA handicap index.
If they do have a handicap index, it’s not much of a reflection of their career inside the ropes. That’s because almost no pro golfer enters their tournament scores.
For one reason, pros don’t need to do it — there’s not much point in them having a handicap reflecting their competitive play. Second, major professional tours, including the PGA Tour, aren’t providing their players with slope and rating numbers for their tournament setups, which aren’t typically rated or used by anyone else.
However, if pro golfers — specifically, PGA Tour players — did keep a golf handicap index, what would it be?
That’s a question Lou Stagner of Golf Stat Pro and DECADE Golf sought to answer recently. The results are fascinating. Stagner looked at rounds played by PGA Tour players from 2016-2020, with a minimum of 100 rounds played.
Have you ever wondered what the USGA index would be for a PGA Tour pro if they posted scores like we do?
Yeah, me too.
Shot out to my buddy Clay Ballard (@TopSpeedGolf) for the idea.
Index of avg tour pro:
Best index achieved:
▶️ Fowler +8.4 pic.twitter.com/krYodzF7GZ
— Lou Stagner (Golf Stat Pro) (@LouStagner) May 30, 2020
On average, Stagner found a PGA Tour player would carry an index of +5.4, meaning they would expect to beat a course rating by that many strokes in a given round.
Rickie Fowler would have had the best handicap index among PGA Tour players, carrying a +8.4 index at one point.
When looking at a player’s average index over the period, Dustin Johnson would have the lowest handicap among PGA Tour players, with an average handicap index of +6.5.
The bottom line is that the best golfers in the world routinely smash it against the most difficult courses and setups on the planet. There’s a reason they’re the best in the world — even above and beyond the definition of a scratch golfer!