Knowing your handicap index is not only a great way to track your progress as a golfer, but it also is vital in helping golfers compare themselves to other golfers. Comparing the handicap index of several players in a single group or tournament makes fair and equitable competitions possible.
But what is the average handicap index of golfers in the United States? We turned to the USGA and their data from the World Handicap System to help us answer that question.
All told, there are just a bit more than 2.4 million American golfers who have a recognized handicap index. According to the USGA, the average handicap index among golfers in the United States is 16.4.
Among those 2.4 million golfers with an index, approximately 40,000 of them are scratch or plus, meaning their have a handicap index of 0.0 or a plus handicap.
Men vs. women
The average handicap index breaks down differently by gender. The average handicap index for men is 13.7 and 27.3 for women. One potential factor in the disparity is how many men and women carry a handicap index.
Of the 2.4 million American golfers with a handicap index, slightly more than 1.9 million are men, while just shy of 500,000 women have a handicap index.
While approximately 10 percent of American golfers carry a recognized handicap index, knowing the average handicap index for the total population and by gender helps golfers get a good idea of where they stand in the bigger pool of golfers in the United States.