Last Updated on February 4, 2024 by Matt Greene
Nearly half of all the golfers who keep a handicap, are mid handicappers.
Let's take a quick look at what it takes to be a mid handicapper and what your game looks like compared to a mid handicapper, low handicapper and high handicapper.
What is a Mid Handicapper?
A mid handicapper is a golfer who has a handicap index between 10 and 20. Because the handicap index considers only your best 8 differentials out of the last 20 rounds, a mid handicap is a reflection of your potential rather than your average score.
Handicap index is a measure of a golfer's potential playing ability, with a lower number indicating a better player.
Average golfer handicap
The average handicap in the USA for those who keep handicaps, is 14 .
What score does a mid handicapper shoot
The average 14 handicap golfer will shoot an average score of 90. The average score does not reflect your handicap index though. Your handicap index is calculated using only your best 8 differentials out of your last 20 rounds.
The lower mid handicapper will shoot scores between 84 and 85 as a 9 handicapper. A higher mid handicapper will average scores between 93 and 95. We can estimate the score of a mid handicapper is between 84 and 95.
Type of mid handicap
Low to Mid Handicap
Lower mid handicaps have handicaps between 9 to 12. What is considered lower mid handicap is a golfer who scores between 80 and 90. Sometimes the lower mid handicapper breaks 80, but 9 our of 10 scores will be above 80.
Mid Mid Handicap
Handicap 13 to 16 make up the mid mid handicap range. Average scores here are always above 80, sometimes below 90 with most scores around the 90 to 95 range.
Mid to High Handicap
What is considered a higher mid handicapper is a golfer who scores above 90. Rarely, this golfer will break 90. Average score in the higher mid handicap is between 92 and 100 and a handicap level of 17 to 18.
How does a mid handicapper play on the course?
- A mid handicapper hits around 3-4 greens in regulation per 18 holes.
- Mid handicappers swing slightly faster with more confidence than a high handicapper.
- Mid handicappers three-putt 2 or 3 times per round.
- Mid handicap golfers remain mid handicap golfers because they struggle with 2 out of 3 aspects of the game every round: either 1) tee ball, 2) approach shots or 3) short game.
Areas of focus for you if you are a mid handicapper to lower your scores into the 70s:
- Practice the game inside 100 yards 3 times as much time as the long game
- Become very good at putting inside 5 feet by practicing 1 foot putts only
- Hit a tee ball into a position from the tee that allows a second shot without penalty - very often not the driver
- Understand the true distance you hit the golf ball, not the 1 in 10 distance.
Mid handicap off the tee
Mid handicappers either rely on their driver because nothing else works off the tee, or the driver breaks their games.
You don't need to hit a driver if it kills your game. You can play to a mid handicap without a driver. I would not suggest a 3 wood either though! They often perform even worse than a driver.
If you have issues with a driver, try a 5 wood or a mini driver. These 2 clubs will get the ball in play safely and that can save you 6 to 10 shots a round because no OB and no water balls.
Get the ball in play to allow for a stress-free second shot. You will make golf so much more fun like that.
Greens in Regulation for a mid handicapper
Mid handicappers hit only 3-5 greens per round - not bad at all.
You can increase your GIR, by solving one of these two issues: either your drive flies to short or you place yourself in bad position off the tee to approach with comfort.
The key is to GO FOR THE GREEN WHEN YOU CAN, and HANG BACK IF YOU CAN'T.
If you're out of range of your comfortable longest club, then you must lay back to your preferred pitch or approach shot. If you attempt to wreck the ball off the grass, thinking that you can add another 20 yards to your shot, you'll fudge it up.
I guarantee, if you just get the ball close to your favorite distance if you're in trouble, you'll drop your score.
How do you position yourself better?
Understand the hole. If the hole looks tough, just add one to the par of the hole and change your strategy.
If you can attack the hole, attack it. But never overpower a golf ball to 'try' attack it. Attack it well within the bounds of your ability.
The approach shot distances are too long to allow for easy approach shots. Most often, mid handicap golfers will be hitting a 5 or 6 iron into the green and even a professional golfer only hits the green is 50% of the time with a 6 iron in hand.
Getting up and down as a mid handicapper
Mid handicaps can slash their handicap by getting really good inside 100 yards.
The average mid handicap player spends hours raking and smashing golf balls on the range with a driver but never touch the short game area.
But you're not average are you? You're reading Golf Sidekick so how the hell can you be average? You are a baus.
Mid handicapper Mental Game
Mid handicappers BIGGEST hurdle to better scoring is the mental game. It's purely about belief.
Mid handicap is where you're not a hacker anymore, but you're not lighting up the golf course. You're in limbo.
Biggest errors I help mid handicappers to correct that you can use now:
- Stop and think for 10 seconds before your shot.
- Hit the club from the tee that will get you in play, no hazards, no penalty...even if that is a 6 iron on one hole.
- Play back form the hole by imagining what your next shot will leave you into the hole. Try set up your favorite shots.
- Play easy, stress free shots in the moment, whatever they are.
- When you encounter a hero shot, understand: there are not hero shots, only stupid shot. Change your shot - you are not Tiger.
- Wait for the rattle on your putts inside 10 feet. Don't even look up. Just wait for the sound of the ball hitting the bottom of the cup.
- Play to the fat. Always play to the fat side of the fairway, the fat side of the green, the fat side of the lay up. Don't take on narrow shots with trouble all around. You're not a pro. Chill my boy.
Players with a handicap between 10 and 20, shoot between 84 and 95 but can have the ability to break 80 on a very good day are mid handicappers.
You can learn more about breaking 80 in my guide or check out some irons for 10-15 handicappers, drivers for a 10 handicap, wedges for the average golfer and even some new golf balls for the intermediate golfer.