It is estimated that roughly 10 percent of all golfers in the U.S. maintain a handicap. With a total golfing population approaching 25 million, that means we’re really looking at a pool of about 2.5 million golfers.

It’s not surprising that most golfers don’t have a registered handicap. The vast majority play recreationally, may (or may not) keep score and kinda/sorta follow the Rules of Golf.

All that aside, here are a couple of nuggets you might find interesting.

Citing the most recent USGA data, the average index for men is 16.4. For women, it’s 27.3.

Fewer than 2% of all male golfers are scratch (0.0 index) or better. For female golfers, that number drops to 0.7%.

A single-digit index is often used as an informal line of demarcation to help define “better” golfers. If you’re a single-digit male golfer,  you’re in the top 29.33 percent of the golfing population. Single-digit female golfers rank in the top 4.46 percent of the database.

Again, this is only accurate for the 10 percent of golfers with an official index. It’s reasonable to surmise that if we included data from all golfers, the average indexes for both males and females would likely be higher. Additionally, we’d expect to see a smaller percentage of golfers in the lowest index ranges.


In terms of quantitative information, TheGrint functions as a subset of the USGA handicap system. This is because TheGrint’s handicap platform interfaces directly with the USGA handicap system. But not all of the 2.4 million or so golfers who maintain a USGA handicap are affiliated with TheGrint.

Make sense?

Regardless, we wanted to see how TheGrint members stacked up against the larger pool of golfers with a registered USGA index. For this comparison, we only used data for TheGrint golfers with at least 2o posted rounds in the last two years. Additionally, only scores from 2020 and 2021 factored into the averages. We organized the data by state.

How does your state stack up?


  • On balance, members of TheGrint have lower indexes than the general USGA population.
  • The total range of the data set is roughly six strokes.
  • The highest average handicap of TheGrint users is close to the USGA database average. Put differently, the least skilled “Grinters” are still as good, or slightly better than, the average golfer.