How to get a GHIN number

Article explaining how to get a GHIN numberKnowing how to get a GHIN number is undoubtedly useful. First though, you need to know what a GHIN number is.

Golf is a game that is super saturated with rules, tradition, and strategies to learn. In other words, there is a lot to know before you can consider yourself an expert.

With all that is out there to discover not every piece of pertinent information is immediately accumulated or digested which for the most part is ok. You definitely don’t need to know everything all at once. However, there are some pieces of information that are more important than others.

The GHIN number is a golf tidbit that is very important (especially to the struggling player that wants to remain competitive) but not necessarily well understood.

If you want to play tournament golf at a competitive level than you are going to need one. Read on to find out how to get a GHIN number and also exactly what it is!

First, what is a GHIN number?

Good question. To start, GHIN stands for golf handicap index network.

Why is that important?

Your GHIN number is a personalized piece of account information that gives you access to the ever-important handicap.

The natural next question then is, “What is a handicap, and why do I need one?”

Like a lot of things in golf, a handicap is in many ways overly complicated but the essence of the system is relatively simple to explain. The handicap is essentially the only provision that the USGA (golf’s governing body) extends towards the struggling beginner.

Here’s how it works. To get your handicap all you have to do is log your scores through a sanctioned data base, which will then help determine the average amount of strokes you shoot over par.

For example, if you typically shoot 100, you will most likely have something in the neighborhood of a 30 handicap. Determining your handicap essentially allows you to play the game to the standards of your own capabilities rather than that of the sport’s best players.

The average par for a course is 72 but the truth of the matter is that very few people are good enough to shoot anything even close to that number. With a handicap, you can strive to play better than your usual instead of trying to shoot par.

Your handicap can also be applied to specific courses so that you will be “given” strokes on the more difficult holes. In other words, if you shoot a seven on a par five, your adjusted score could still be par.

During a typical round, the distinction is arbitrary. If you are just playing by yourself it doesn’t really matter what your adjusted score on a hole is, but if you are playing against a friend with a higher skill level than you, you will definitely want to know, and that is exactly what makes the GHIN number so valuable.

Ok, so how do I get a GHIN number?

In order to get your GHIN number, the first thing that you will have to do is join a participating club that follows the USGA’s handicap regulations. The word club in golf can sometimes have a pretty expensive connotation but don’t worry, in this case we, do not mean a “country club.”

A golf club, in this case, is something that you can join online or through some of the courses that you frequent. A lot of time there is an annual fee attached to your club – usually somewhere in the range of thirty dollars depending on the type of services that they offer. However, if you are willing to do some sleuthing you can probably also find a service that is available for free.

Once you join your club the next step is going to be fun! Play golf! To get your GHIN number you are going to need to log five eighteen hole rounds. Remember that in order to get a legitimate handicap you are going to need to play a completely honest round. That means no mulligans, no picking up putts, no fluffing your lie.

While all common and relatively harmless practices when you are playing by yourself, the above-listed rules deviations are only going to hurt you in this situation. While a low handicap can be a point of pride, and certainly something to brag about as you sip drinks with your playing companions at the nineteenth hole, it is also a hindrance if you don’t have the skills to back it up.

Remember that your handicap is how you get strokes, so if the reality is that you shoot thirty over par, you want a handicap that reflects that. It will help you out the next time that you play in a tournament, or just want to compete against your buddy who is a scratch golfer.

Just remember that your GHIN number is a highly personalized piece of information. Obviously, it isn’t as important as say, a credit card number, but it is a lot like an email password. Consider your GHIN number to be the login information for your golf game.

In order to make sure that your handicap information is current and accurate, keep track of your GHIN number and be sure not to share it with anyone else.


I’m aware of the fact that the GHIN number is not the most exciting concept in golf but it is without question or debate useful. Getting a handicap can very literally change the way that you play the game. Getting a handicap will help you improve your game and help you stay competitive so there really is no excuse not to get one.

Now you know how to get a GHIN number, don’t hesitate. Join a club, get your number, and start using your handicap to win some money.

Good luck on the course!