What Is A Low Handicap? When Can You Consider Yourself One?

The opinions on who fits in where on the golf handicap spectrum differ vastly among golfers. Generally, you can separate players by low, middle, and high handicaps.

In this article, we look at what is a low handicap? This will help you understand at what point you can call yourself a low handicapped golfer.

What Is A Low Handicap Golfer?

Unlike many sports, lower is best when it comes to golf. Therefore a golfer with a low handicap knows how to navigate from tee to green. I am often asked, what is a low handicap?

The simple answer is 9 and lower. However, it can be broken down further into higher, mid, and lower single-digit handicaps.

Low Handicap Categories

Higher Single Digit Handicap

These are the golfers with a handicap rating of 7 to 9, shooting high 70s and low 80s. At this point in your golfing journey, the aim is to consistently break 80 and move into the mid-single-digit range.

Mid Single Digit Handicap

Mid-single-digit players have handicaps between 4 and 6. They consistently shoot rounds between 76 to 79.

Lower Single Digit Handicap

Lower single-digit golfers tend to play off a handicap of 1 to 3. Their scorecards generally show gross scores of between 73-75. If you fit into this category, your aim is to shoot under-par rounds to lower your handicap to scratch.

What Equipment Does A Low Handicap Play With?

Equipment designed for better players is often less forgiving but looks and feels incredible. Here are some items commonly found in a low handicap golfers bag.


Lower handicappers with faster swing speeds may be comfortable smashing a 9 or 10-degree driver. However, if you have a slower swing speed, your best bet is 10.5 degrees plus. The additional loft will assist you in getting your ball airborne, increasing your carry and total distance.

Unless your name is Cameron Champ, and your swing speed with a driver averages 127 mph, I advise purchasing some loft.


If you are a higher single-digit handicapper, you may hit players’ distance or game improvement irons. While you have demonstrated that you can play, you still require an element of forgiveness from your tools.

Mid to low single-digit handicap golfers prefer to use blades, because of their workability, feel, and the crisp acoustics experienced on shots out of the middle. Blade irons are less forgiving when you catch the ball in the heel or toe.

Lower handicap golfers strike the ball sweeter than the rest of us. As a result, they are not as concerned about forgiveness as much as a higher handicapper.


It depends on the players’ personal preference. However, most lower handicap players prefer balls that offer increased spin around the green and lower spin on longer shots. That is why balls with urethane covers and ionomer casing are popular among this caliber of golfer.


Depending on the strength of their putting games, low handicaps may consider a blade putter. The design favors putters with a soft touch and straight stroke.

Higher single-digit handicaps may want forgiveness from their putter. However, they disapprove of the oversize appearance of a mallet head. As a result, these golfers may opt for a Peripheral-weighted putter.

These are longer blades that are delicate like a blade design but forgiving like a mallet head.

How Do Low Handicaps Perform?

Errors from tee to green must be minimized if you are to be considered a low handicap golfer. If it is your goal to reach this point, here are some areas to focus on.

Fairways in Regulation (F.I.R)

Every shot counts. Misjudging your aim by a few inches could result in a bogey or worse. Low handicap players understand this and have a higher average of fairways hit.

More tee shots onto the fairway set you up for a simple approach to the target. This gives you more opportunities to drain makeable birdie putts and lower your handicap.

If you are a mid to higher handicap, it is advisable to plan your hole from the tee box. This gives you more chance of landing the ball in a position to attack the dancefloor, rather than scrambling. You will begin to see results one lower score at a time.

Greens in Regulation (G.I.R)

The G.I.R record of lower handicap players is exceptional. To consistently score low, they need to attack the flag and pick up strokes when the opportunity arises.

The next time you are on the course with a low handicap player, take note of their greens in regulation stats. That’s how they keep their scores down.

Distance Control

The distance control of low handicaps is consistently accurate. This gives them the confidence to hit a golf club the same distance time and time again.

Distance control enables players to stick it close from all angles of the course, giving themselves a chance to score.

Up and Downs

When lower handicappers miss the dancefloor from time to time, they can simply recover with an accurate chip, leaving them with a tap in. The ability to recover in your short game prevents catastrophic bogey’s.

Putts Per Round

The green is where it falls apart for most of us, but not for the low handicaps. This is where they thrive. Three putts very seldom happen, and they drain their fair share of one-putts. One putts bring birdies and eagles.

Final Thoughts

Now that you know what is a low handicap, do you feel that you fit into this category? As we have discovered, low handicaps are better golfers who shoot between 73 and 82 on a par 72 course. If you play off of a 1 to 9, you have earned the title of a low handicapper.

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Nick Lomas is the founder of GolfSpan, an avid golfer, not quite a pro but has over 15-years of experience playing and coaching golfers from all over the world. His mission is to bring the golfing community a better experience then it comes to choosing the right golf gear, and finding the right set up for your game.

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