A golfer will only play to their handicap about 20-25% of the time. Forget your average, or what you believe your current ability is. The USGA Handicap System is based on your potential ability; your peak performance. So what would your best round be on a certain set of tees, given your current Handicap Index? It’s easy and fun to figure out, and it’s called your Target Score.
Target Score equals the Course Rating (CR) PLUS Course Handicap (CH)
Here’s a sample: A player with a Handicap Index of 16.5 is playing the red tees, which have a USGA Course & Slope Rating of 68.9/117. The player converts their 16.5 to a 117 slope – now their Course Handicap is 17.
Course Rating 68.9 Plus Course Handicap + 17 Total 85.9 Rounded, equals Target Score of 86
In this example, an average score for this player would be between an 88 and a 90, since this will usually be 2 to 4 strokes higher than the target score.
The Target Score illustrates:
The importance of posting all rounds to get an accurate USGA Handicap Index (potential ability).
The purpose of Slope, and it’s relativity to Course Rating. Slope gives the player enough Course Handicap to “play down” to the Course Rating – the level of scratch on that set of tees.