According to the USGA handicapping statistics, more mid handicapped male golfers exist than in any other segment. Accounting for 45% of handicapped players. So, what is a mid handicap, and where do you fit in?
In this post, we will go over the scores a mid-handicapper will shoot, the equipment they use, and provide tips on how you can become one.
What Is A Mid Handicap Golfer?
The average handicap of all US amateur male golfers is 14.2. This is as a result of the 45% of players playing off mid handicaps. While you have probably heard your golf buddies throw the term around, the question is, what is a mid handicap golfer?
Mid handicappers who play on a par 72 course will tend to shoot scores from the low 80s to early 90s, meaning they play off anything from a 9 to an 18.
Mid Handicap Categories
Lower Mid Handicap
Lower mid handicaps play off a 10 to 12, and while they tend to shoot low 80s, they will break into 70s on a good day. If you fit into this category, it is worth reading a post I wrote about low handicaps. It gives you guidance on how to break into the single digits.
Players in this segment regularly score in the mid to high 80s. If you play off of a 13 to 16, this is your community.
These are golfers who graduated from the beginner ranks and are starting to gain more consistency in their game. If you play off of a 16 to 18, then this is your place. Higher mid-handicap golfers shoot in the high 80s to mid-90s.
What Equipment Does A Mid Handicap Play With?
As we lower our handicaps, we become more confident in our striking ability. When we gain confidence, we want to try new shots and increase our distance and spin.
However, as a mid handicap, we are not perfect and still have the odd mishit. Therefore, players in this handicap category should use equipment that offers performance and forgiveness.
Drivers come down to personal preference. I recommend that if you are a mid handicapper, you use a driver with 10.5 degrees or more of loft. Trying to keep the ball on the fairway is hard enough as is you don’t need to be worrying about the launch and carry distance.
As a mid handicap player, it is not recommended to play with blades at this point. You should be using equipment that offers forgiveness and consistent distance.
Lower mid handicappers may feel ready to add players distance irons to the bag, based on their look, feel, and all-around performance. If this is the route you want to take, make sure you get fitted and choose the irons offering the topmost forgiveness.
I recommend that mid-handicappers stick to game improvement irons and cavity back irons. Having an enhanced sweet spot on the clubface delivers consistent distance even on mishits.
Like drivers, wedges are a personal preference. However, higher mid-handicappers may prefer a wedge with an optimized center of gravity to help you get under the ball on shots from up to 50 yards out.
Golfers have a variety of styles of putters from which to choose. As a mid handicap, I would stay clear of blade putters, as they were designed for superior players who can drain a putt on any green.
Mid to low handicap golfers may be attracted to the idea of peripheral weighted putters. These were built for the better putter, who still needs an element of forgiveness on the green.
Higher mid handicappers should keep a mallet putter in the bag. I understand that they are chunky in appearance. But the forgiving design will aid your efforts to reduce dreaded three-putts.
At this stage of your golfing career, it may be best to stick with forgiving balls. While balls like the Titleist Pro V1 and Taylormade TP5x are incredible to strike. The enhanced spin rpm of the ball can result in nasty hooks and slices. Those shots often result in lost balls, which is costly at $4 a ball.
If you are looking for forgiveness off the tee and something that will save you some loot, I recommend balls with ionomer covers.
How Do Mid Handicaps Perform?
Mid handicappers tend to drop strokes in and around the green. Their consistency has improved with their wood and iron shots, but they are let down with the odd duffed chip, toothed bunker shot, or three-putt.
This is how mid handicappers perform from tee to green.
Fairways In Regulation (F.I.R)
Mid handicappers have a positive average when it comes to fairways in regulation. However, in challenging conditions, the ball can fly in all directions. To lower your handicap, you need to learn how to scramble, and mid-handicap players are skilled in this art.
Greens In Regulation (G.I.R)
Accuracy is a challenge for mid-handicap golfers, often resulting in wayward approach shots. This forces a player to scramble for par rather than lining up a simple birdie putt.
Accuracy and more birdie chances are the best way for mid handicappers to lower their scores and knock on the door of the lower handicap category.
Distance control is still a work in progress for mid handicappers. They do not yet have the confidence that each club will go the same distance on every occasion.
This results in challenging birdie putts when you hit a green in regulation, leaving you at risk of under or overcooking your strike. Giving you a tester for par. This is how three-putts happen.
If you are serious about improving your distance control, I recommend investing in a launch monitor that gives you insight into your distance with each club. That will improve your muscle memory and give you the ability to hit the same length every time.
Up and Downs
Mid handicaps do not get up and down as much as they should, and as a result, drop a few strokes every round. This is where you should be spending more of your time practicing.
Putts Per Round
This is another area where mid handicaps drop unnecessary shots. The adrenaline of sticking your approach shot close, drives the average mid handicapper to aggressively knock their birdie putt to the hole. This leaves you with a tricky par putt and can quickly turn into a bogey.
In the words of Bobby Locke, “you drive for show but putt for dough.” That is why you need to spend more time on your putting game than anything else.
In answer to our question of what is a mid handicap? We see that they are players with handicaps between 10 and 18, who shoot scores between the low 80s and low 90s.
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.