How often should I play to my handicap?

Don’t play to your handicap as often as you’d like? Join the club. But just how often SHOULD you be getting in the buffer zone?

Judging by the way most golfers behave, you’d think anything less than 90 per cent of the time is unacceptable.

Most of us are guilty of throwing a paddy if we don’t can that six-footer on the 18th to get into the buffer zone, but maybe we shouldn’t be so hard on ourselves.

The boffins at HowDidiDo (HDID) told TG that of the 3,601,169 scores posted in strokeplay competitions in 2017, just 26% were in the buffer zone. That figure spiked to 31% from 3,818,527 Stableford comps.

HDID then broke down the scores for us into handicap categories so you can see how you compare against the national average. As you’ll see, it transpires a big majority of the UK’s golfers struggle to play to the number they put down in the handicap box on a scorecard.


Strokeplay Comps: 26%
Total scores: 3,601,169
In buffer zone: 939,53

Stableford Comps: 36%
Total scores: 3,818,527
In buffer zone: 1,184,003 

Par/Bogey Comps: 44%
Total scores: 142,621
In buffer zone: 63,432

Category 1 (5 Handicap or less): 36%
Total scores: 508,796
In buffer zone: 183,799

Category 2 (6-12 Handicap): 32%
Total scores: 2,195,673
In buffer zone: 707,330 

Category 3 (13-20 Handicap): 29%
Total scores: 3,179,357
In buffer zone: 924,869

Category 4 (21-28 Handicap): 26%
Total scores: 1,559,542
In buffer zone: 400,839

Category 5 (29 & above Handicap): 19%
Total scores: 316,674
In buffer zone: 61,705 

July 2017 Statistics

➤Rounds of golf: 963,094
➤Hole-in-ones: 430
➤Eagles or better: 7,155
➤Birdies: 408, 058
➤Pars: 3,674,590

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