By Sam Weinman
How many times has this happened to you? You're on the first tee negotiating strokes and someone in your group -- it could even be you -- doesn't have a handicap.
Enter Golf Digest Handicap, a new tool on GolfDigest.com that allows golfers a quick and easy way to get their own handicap. You don't have to be a member of a club, and you don't have to pay a dime. Instead, all you need to know is where you played and what you shot, and you can have a handicap that lets you monitor your progress and compete fairly against golfers of all levels.
Related: Check out our Golf Digest Handicap tool[#image: /photos/55ad76b3b01eefe207f6c77e]|||blog-handicap-470.jpeg|||"Out of the millions of golfers in the U.S., only 20 percent maintain a handicap index," says Golf Digest Editor-in-Chief Jerry Tarde. "Handicapping is one of the advantages golf has over other sports because it allows people of different skill levels to play together."
The formula for Golf Digest Handicap was created by Golf Digest Contributing Editor Dean Knuth, former Senior Director of the United States Golf Association Handicap Department, who is widely known as "the Pope of Slope." Knuth, the primary developer of the USGA Course Rating and Slope Ratings systems, developed a unique Golf Digest course-rating formula that is unrelated to the USGA handicap system, but still tracks skill and can be used in competitions between golfers.
In addition to providing a snapshot of your scoring history, Golf Digest Handicap also directs you to Golf Digest instruction from leading teachers and players that is appropriate for your level of play.
We're biased, of course, but we think it's pretty cool. If nothing else, it should help eliminate debate on the first tee.