Handicapping, as in horse racing, allows players of differing abilities to compete on an equitable basis with each other. Each player is assigned a handicap index that results from the scores recorded for that player, is revised over time, and moves up or down as the player submits scores and his game changes. The handicap index is calculated to one decimal place so your index may look like this: 13.4. You will also have a course handicap for your home course, which will usually be a different number of 1 or 2 digits, e.g., 15 if you propose to play competitively on another course. The important number that you must carry is your handicap index. There is no minimum handicap index, but the USGA recommends a maximum index of 36.4 for men and 40.4 for women. Clubs may stipulate a maximum course handicap for competitions. The mass of players have a positive number handicap, as above, but better players may have a negative number handicap, such as minus 2, which is stated as +2, so that in a handicap competition, such players must add their handicap to their gross score to arrive at their net score. If each course has a course rating and a slope rating, a player can play competitively on any of those courses, through the use of a conversion table which translates the player’s handicap index at his home course to a course handicap for the other course. If you propose to play on a different course, you must therefore know what your handicap index is, and you will usually be requested to have it certified by your club before you are allowed to play in a handicap competition at another course. Each course will also have the different tees rated, and there will be a different course rating and slope rating for each tee. This is important for converting handicaps of players against each other from different tees.