A Comprehensive Guide: What Is My Golf Handicap If I Shoot 85?

Justin Sheparovich

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Golf Handicap If I Shoot 85

Navigating the world of golf handicaps can be as intricate as perfecting that swing. What does an 85 signify in this realm? This score isn’t just a number; it’s a gateway to understanding your potential in the game. 

Your golf handicap isn’t merely a reflection of scores but a calculated measure of your capability on the course. When you shoot an 85, it’s a moment of accomplishment, but it’s also a significant piece in the puzzle of determining your handicap. 

This blog will delve into the implications of an 85, how it factors into your overall golfing ability, and the considerations it brings to the forefront of calculating your handicap index. 

Let’s uncover the intricacies of this score and its influence on your golfing journey.

What Is My Golf Handicap If I Shoot 85?

In golf, a handicap is a measure of a player’s potential ability based on their past performance. If you shoot an 85, your handicap is determined by comparing it to the course rating and slope rating of the course you played on. 

The USGA Handicap System calculates this by subtracting the course rating from your score and then multiplying the result by 113 (a standard slope rating). The resulting number is then divided by the slope rating of the course.

For instance, if the course rating is 72 and the slope is 130, and you shot an 85, your handicap would be calculated as (85 – 72) * 113 / 130, which equals approximately 9.92. 

Therefore, your handicap would typically be rounded to the nearest whole number, resulting in a handicap of 10. This would mean that on an average course, you could be expected to shoot about 10 strokes above par.

What Is My Golf Handicap?

Determining your golf handicap requires information beyond just one score. Your handicap is a measure of your potential ability based on your recent scores and the difficulty of the courses you’ve played.

To establish a handicap, you need a minimum of five recent score differentials (your score compared to the course rating and slope). 

Once you have these differentials, the calculation involves averaging the differentials, multiplying by 0.96 (to provide a further adjustment), and then rounding to the nearest whole number. This resulting figure is your handicap.

If you don’t have a set of differentials, you’ll need to gather scores from multiple rounds on different courses to calculate your handicap accurately. 

It’s not solely based on one score but rather a reflection of your consistent performance over multiple rounds.

Shooting 85 in Golf: Implications for Your Handicap

Golf Handicap If I Shoot 85

Shooting an 85 in golf is a strong round that has implications for your handicap and overall game.

Potential Handicap Adjustment

An 85 is typically considered a good score. However, to determine your handicap, you need multiple rounds’ differentials. If this score is consistent with your recent performance, it could significantly impact your handicap.

Lowering Your Handicap

Scoring an 85 indicates a level of skill and consistency that could lead to a decrease in your handicap index. 

The USGA Handicap System adjusts your handicap based on the difference between your scores and the course rating and slope, helping reflect your potential ability.

Improving Your Golf Game

Consistently shooting 85 suggests proficiency in various aspects of the game—driving, approach shots, short game, and putting. 

It indicates good control over both distance and accuracy, a sign of a well-rounded golfer.

Course Difficulty Consideration

Handicaps are also adjusted based on the difficulty of the courses you play. If you consistently shoot 85 on harder courses, your handicap might reflect a higher skill level than the same score on easier courses.

Competitive Edge

With an 85, you’re likely to be competitive in various golfing environments, including club competitions and tournaments. Your game is strong and can potentially position you well against other players.

Remember, a single great score is an excellent achievement but consistent performance over multiple rounds is what truly shapes your handicap. 

With an 85, you’re showcasing a strong golf game, but the handicap considers your potential ability based on a collection of scores over time.

Golf Handicap Average Score 85: Explanation

Handicap Average Score 85

The average golf handicap for a player who consistently shoots 85 is typically around 11. It’s important to understand the relationship between handicap and average score.

Average Score and Handicap

  • Handicap System: The handicap system is designed to reflect a player’s potential ability, not their average score. A player’s handicap is calculated based on the best differentials from their recent rounds.
  • Scoring Consistency: Shooting an average score of 85 indicates a certain level of skill and consistency. It’s a solid performance that suggests the ability to negotiate the course effectively across various holes.
  • Handicap Implications: An average score of 85 might lead to a handicap of around 11 because the handicap system accounts for the difficulty of the courses played. If a player consistently shoots around 85 on more challenging courses, their handicap might reflect a higher skill level.
  • Competitive Performance: With this average score, a player can be competitive in various settings, especially in club competitions. It signifies a level of competence that positions them well against players with similar or slightly higher handicaps.
  • Improvement Potential: While an 11 handicap is respectable, there’s always room for improvement. Even players consistently shooting 85 can work on honing specific aspects of their game to potentially reduce their handicap further.

Further Considerations

  • Consistency Matters: Maintaining 85 golf score consistently across various courses is key to sustaining the handicap.
  • Continuous Play: Regular play ensures more opportunities to fine-tune skills and potentially lower the handicap further.
  • Challenges in Lowering Handicap: Lowering the handicap beyond a certain point becomes increasingly challenging as it requires even greater consistency and exceptional play.

The average score of 85 is a good indicator of skill and performance. It positions players in a strong range in terms of handicap, indicating a solid level of play and the ability to compete effectively on the course.

Factors Influencing Your Handicap

Factors Influencing Your Handicap

There are some factors that can determine the handicap. It can also help you understand whether is 85 a good golf score or not. 

Several factors influence a golfer’s handicap, shaping their potential ability and reflecting their performance over a series of rounds. These factors include:

1. Recent Scores

The most influential factor is a player’s recent scores. The better or worse a player performs in recent rounds, the more the handicap adjusts to reflect this performance.

2. Course Rating and Slope

The difficulty of the courses a player competes on affects their handicap. A more challenging course results in a more significant impact on the handicap when shooting above or below the course rating.

3. Playing Conditions

Weather, course conditions, and even the time of day can affect a player’s performance, thus impacting their scores and consequently, their handicap.

4. Consistency

Consistency in performance is crucial. If a player consistently shoots around a specific score, it contributes to stabilizing and accurately reflecting their handicap.

5. Improvement Over Time

As a player’s game improves or declines over time, it affects their handicap. Consistent improvement can lower the handicap, while a decline in performance can raise it.

6. Variability of Scores

Wild fluctuations in scores, such as a low score followed by a high score, can create inconsistencies in the handicap.

The system aims for a fair reflection of a player’s skill, so wide variations can lead to fluctuations in the handicap index.

7. Adjusted Gross Scores

Any modifications made to scores (like adjusting for a hole where a player might have played exceptionally well or poorly) influence the handicap calculation.

8. Number of Scores Available

The more scores a player has in their handicap record, the more accurate the representation of their playing ability.

These factors collectively shape a golfer’s handicap, which is designed to offer a fair reflection of their potential playing ability. It’s a dynamic measure that changes as a player’s game improves, stabilizes, or faces challenges over time.

How to Calculate Your Golf Handicap?

How to Calculate Your Golf Handicap?

Calculating your golf handicap involves a few steps, primarily focused on collecting and analyzing your recent scores and the course ratings of the courses you’ve played. Here’s a step-by-step guide:

1. Gather Scores

Collect a minimum of five recent 18-hole scores. The more scores you have, the more accurate your handicap will be.

2. Adjust Scores

If you haven’t played a full 18 holes or have incomplete rounds, you’ll need to adjust these scores to represent a full round. This can involve using Equitable Stroke Control (ESC) to adjust exceptionally high scores on a hole.

3. Find Differentials

For each score, subtract the course rating from your score, then multiply the result by 113 (a standard slope rating). Finally, divide this figure by the slope rating of the course. This provides you with a differential for each score.

4. Select Best Differentials

From the pool of differentials, choose the best differentials—generally, the lowest differentials, which often represent your best performances.

5. Average Differentials

If you have more than five differentials, take the lowest differentials (typically the lowest 10 of the last 20 scores) and average them. The USGA Handicap System provides a formula for averaging these differentials.

6. Multiply and Round

Once you have the average of your differentials, multiply this by 0.96. This step accounts for the best 10 of the last 20 differentials and adjusts the handicap. After this adjustment, round the result to the nearest whole number.

7. Apply the Handicap

The rounded figure is your handicap index, reflecting your potential ability. You can now use this handicap to determine your playing handicap for specific courses using the course rating and slope.

Remember, this is a simplified guide. The USGA Handicap System uses a more intricate formula that considers many factors. There are also online calculators and apps available to streamline this process. 

It’s important to understand the rules and procedures of the handicap system, as it constantly updates and adjusts to ensure fairness in the game.


What handicap is an 85 golfer?

In golf, your handicap is a measure of your playing ability. Shooting an 85 typically indicates a player with a solid skill level. Handicap-wise, an 85 would likely translate to a low single-digit handicap, possibly between 0 to 5.

Is shooting an 85 in golf good?

Shooting an 85 in golf is a strong performance. It reflects a skilled player, likely capable of consistent ball-striking and good course management. 

Scoring in the mid-80s suggests a high level of competence and places you among proficient golfers.

Is 85 a good score in golf?

An 85 in golf is certainly a commendable score. It falls below the typical average score for amateur golfers and demonstrates a strong grasp of the game’s technical and strategic aspects. It’s a score that many golfers strive to achieve.

What percentage of golfers can break 85?

Breaking 85 in golf places you among a minority of players. Roughly 20-25% of golfers manage to consistently shoot below 85. 

Achieving this score consistently indicates a player with a considerable level of skill and understanding of the game.

What’s my handicap if I shoot 85?

If you consistently shoot around 85, your handicap would likely fall in the low single digits, potentially between 0 to 5. 

Your golf handicap serves as a standardized measure of your skill level and helps make the game fair when playing against others with varying abilities.

Wrapping Up

Shooting an 85 in golf is not just a score; it’s a pivot point in understanding your potential in the game. 

Your handicap is a dynamic representation of your ability on the course, shaped by consistent performances and adjustments for course difficulty. 

An 85 signifies a commendable level of skill and consistency, but its true impact lies in how it influences your handicap. 

It’s a moment of achievement but also a marker of your ongoing golfing journey. This score isn’t merely a number; it’s a critical piece in the intricate puzzle of calculating your handicap index. 

As you navigate the realms of golf, understanding the implications of an 85 empowers you to decipher the broader tapestry of your golfing potential and the nuanced calculations that shape your handicap.

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Justin Sheparovich

I have always loved sports and I have played golf since I was a little kid. I was a very talented golfer in high school but I decided to go to college for basketball. I graduated from UC Santa Barbara playing Division 1 golf and got my degree in business administration. After college, I continued to work on my golf game by playing tournaments all over the world. LinkedIn

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