I started playing golf in 2017. Before that, I had hacked my way through about 12 rounds in high school, college, and grad school. Last summer, I played over 150 rounds, mostly at the local course where I am a member. Its a 9-hole par 3 course where an unlimited membership costs $300/year. I consistently shoot 67-70 for 18 holes (6-9 over par). I play Mizuno blades, a couple of hybrids, and do not own a driver.
Yesterday, I shot 87 (15 over par) at one of nicer public courses in this part of Montana, Northern Pines GC in Kalispell. It was raining, windy, 42 degF, and that was my first time playing there. In perfect conditions, I might have scrubbed 3 shots off the total. At Bandon this past winter, I shot 92, 92, 89 in good conditions.
Over the past year, I've tried to play as many different courses as I can in order to both improve my course management skills and establish a Golf Handicap. In the table below, I used scores from thirteen courses I recently played in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Montana to calculate my "Handicap Index", which is 3.6. However, Handicap Index is not Handicap. It is used in this equation to determine Handicap on a specific day for a specific course:
Slope Rating / 113 x 3.6, rounded up to nearest whole number
For example, if I play...
Bandon Dunes (Slope Rating = 133) 133/113 = 1.78 x 3.6 = 7 <-- My handicap for Bandon Dunes
Bandon Trails (Slope Rating = 129) 129/113 = 1.14 x 3.6 = 5 <-- My handicap for Bandon Trails
Shuksan (Slope Rating = 131) 131/113 = 1.16 x 3.6 = 5 <-- My handicap for Shuksan
North Bellingham (Slope Rating = 112) 112/113 = 0.99 x 3.6 = 4 <-- My handicap for North B'ham
Silver Fox (Slope Rating = 58.1) 58.1/113 = 0.51 x 3.6 = 2 <-- My handicap for Silver Fox
I'm still not sure what my Handicap is, but I know its above 7 and probably less than 12.
There's no way I could shoot better than about 85 at Bandon. Certainly not consistently. I think the calculations overestimate my golfing skills. For example, on May 23, 2020 I shot an 84 (12 over par) at the Polson Bay Championship Course (slope=119, rating=69.3, par 72). Its probably the best round I've played to date on a full-length, professionally-designed course. I could not have cut more than 3 shots off my score due to avoided mis-hits or better course management decisions. 10 is a reasonable handicap for me right now. A driver fitting and an upgrade to cavity back irons might lower that number by a couple points.