What is a High Golf Handicap?

So you’ve been playing some golf and you keep hearing people talk about handicaps. If you’ve asked “what is a high golf handicap?” then you likely have one (as do I).

But not to worry, having a high handicap in golf just means that you have a ton of room for improvement and you’re a likely candidate as a tournament partner.

The idea of playing golf with a handicap is to provide everyone with an equal playing field. With a golf handicap system, any two players can have a fair match and enjoy the game simultaneously.

Golf handicaps are designed to measure a golfer’s potential. Depending on how difficult the course they are playing, their assigned golf handicap will tell them an estimate of what they will shoot.

However, you might have heard about having a high golf handicap or high handicap as well. A high handicap golfer is someone who plays off of a score of 19 and above. This is the widest range of handicaps in golf since it encompasses players with a score reaching as high as 54.

A high golf handicap is broad and has several categories where one can be assigned.

What Are the Different High Golf Handicap Categories?

The following are the three types of high golf handicap categories to consider:

Lower High Golf Handicap

A golfer who is assigned in the lower high golf handicap range has a handicap score of around 19 to 29. These are individuals who shoot around the low 90s or 100s. They may also have scored a few rounds in the high 80s but will have a hard time consistently trying to accomplish such a feat.

For golfers with a lower high golf handicap of 20 and above, it’s crucial to prioritize surpassing the 100 barriers to get to the next level.

Mid-High Golf Handicap

The mid-high golf handicap category is considered the higher range, as golfers assigned here can have anywhere between 30 and 40 handicaps. Mid-high golf handicappers tend to have an average score of around 100 to 110.

To reach the 20s handicap range, you’ll need to start reaching a score of 90 regularly. This is especially true if you have a handicap in the low to mid 30. Meanwhile, those with a handicap in the higher 30s or lower 40s can aim to reach a 110 score consistently.

Higher High Golf Handicap

For players assigned within the higher high golf handicap range, they can have a handicap of 41 to 54. This means that they are finishing rounds of about 113 up to 120. Most golfers in this range aim to eliminate the number of triple bogeys they accumulate on their scorecards.

Players who are assigned within the 40 handicap range should focus on reaching 110 regularly. On the other hand, those with a handicap of 45 and above should avoid triple bogeys as much as possible. They should also aim to score less than 120 strokes in each round.

Common Equipment Used by High Handicap Players

If you’ve been assigned a high handicap golf player, you need to have the right equipment to ensure you can make the most of your matches. These are the most common items you’ll see high-handicappers use in the field:


High golf handicap players might find it beneficial to them if they included some large wedges and irons in their bags. This is because the bigger clubs provide sufficient leeway in case of toe and heel strikes that can provide handicapped golfers with the distance they need.

Additionally, choosing irons that provide a better center of gravity than other choices is a must for high handicap golfers. Such clubs allow their sides to work their way through smoothly and hit the ball. Good handicap irons provide players with better distance, carry, and loft.

You might want to consider adding graphite shafts to your irons if you have difficulty gaining enough swing speed. This should also help if you run out of distance and carry in your shots.

High golf handicappers with a regular swing speed should use regular flex, while those slower should consider taking advantage of a lady’s or senior flex shaft.


For high handicap golfers, it’s best to choose a driver with less than 10.5 degrees of loft as much as possible. The main reason is that most players with a high golf handicap aren’t yet experienced in correctly hitting the golf ball. Using the proper drivers can help get their ball airborne, particularly on longer shots.

This is where drivers with a high degree of loft come in. It’s also essential to consider installing a graphite shaft so you can get extra flex when going on your backswing.


As a high golf handicap player, you want to minimize losing golf balls as much as possible within the 18 holes allocated. Unfortunately, this is a common occurrence in such golfers, so try to buy balls that are as cheap as you can.

This should allow you to enjoy playing a match without worrying about the cost you’ve spent along the way.


When it comes to wedges, you want to choose options that allow you to quickly go through the surface and under the ball. Selecting the right ones as a high handicap golfer will let you minimize duffs immediately.

These wedges will also let you land your ball softly most of the time and increase the chances of improving your record in the green.


Finally, you’ll want to choose the mallet-type putters as they will serve you best as a high handicap golfer. These putters are meant to provide users with a better center of gravity that will be more lenient even if their strokes are off-center.

Make sure you use mallet putters in your bag, as these are among the top pieces of equipment that will benefit high golf handicappers.

Final Tips for High Handicap Golf Players

High golf handicap players will initially find it challenging to excel in their matches. However, the aim is to continue practicing while being patient so you can find ways to improve as you move forward.

Here are some tips to consider:

  • Greens In Regulation (GIR): Another weakness of a high golf handicap player is the GIR, and you’ll often miss the green. The best step to follow here is to choose safer green areas. You need to get in there as quickly as you can.
  • Fairways In Regulation (FIR): High handicap players will usually be on the lower end for their FIR due to inconsistent aim and setup. You want to be easy with your driver so that you’re not forcing your swing. If the driver isn’t providing the results you want, choose a fairway wood or long iron instead.
  • Putts per round: Many high golf handicappers find it challenging to excel once they get their balls on the green. Most would end up with a double or triple bogey at this point. Make sure to quickly improve your putting skill to minimize the strokes you need per round.
  • Up and downs: High handicappers will also find short matches difficult. In most cases, they will have a hard time making their shots around the green. Rather than trying to reach further, you should practice being better with your chipping skill since this will give you the confidence you need in the green.

Wrapping Up

As you can see, the concept behind assigning high golf handicap scores to players is to provide everyone with an equal playing field when having a match. Such a system can allow two or more players with varying skill levels to compete against each other fairly.

A person with a high handicap can score anywhere from 19 to 54 and will most likely be shooting around the low 90s and high 120s.

If you believe you’re a high handicap golfer, you should follow the tips we’ve provided above to improve. In addition, you must learn to keep calm and experiment with the equipment mentioned earlier to improve your skills and lower your handicap score as much as possible.

You can learn more about playing as a high golf handicapper on our website with updated content weekly.

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