The term mid handicapper is common in golf, but which golfers does it actually refer to?
Mid handicappers literally fit in the middle of the handicap range. This typically means having a handicap index ranging from 9 to 18. There is actually no specific definition of a mid handicap golfer though, so depending where you look it might vary slightly.
The mid handicap golfer makes up by far the largest portion of male golfers. According to data published by the USGA, male golfers with handicappers between 9 and 18 make up approximately 40% of the golfing population of the USA.
In comparison, only approximately 11% of female golfers fit into this mid handicap range. The majority of female golfers instead fit within the high handicapper range, with over 50% of female golfers having a handicap index of above 28.
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What scores does a mid handicapper shoot?
It is important to remember that your handicap index is not an exact representation of all the scores you shoot.
A handicap index, simply speaking, is an average of your best 8 from your last 20 scores. This discounts your worst scores, so the representation is closer to how you typically perform on your better days.
Most of the time mid handicappers are likely to shoot scores ranging from low 80s to mid 90s.
Mid handicappers have possibly the widest span of scores in their records. Many golfers in this handicap range have the ability for ‘good’ golf, but lack consistency due to the erratic nature of their golf. On their very best day a mid handicapper could shoot in the high 70s, but mid handicappers will definitely also have the occasional 100+ score thrown into the mix.
What golf clubs does a mid handicapper use?
Mid handicappers are still likely to mishit the golf ball a relatively large amount of the time compared with a low handicapper. The mishits may not be quite as severe or regular as high handicappers, but forgiveness should still be a core component of the clubs they choose.
The specific clubs a mid handicapper is best suited for will be a combination of their swing characteristics and personal preference. Modern game improvement technology has widened the market for mid handicappers and golf manufacturers are releasing multiple versions of the same clubs. There are definitely plenty of viable options, but a fitting is the only way to accurately determine the specific clubs most suited to any golfer.
Driver, fairway woods and hybrids
When it comes to the longest clubs in your bag, mid handicappers should generally avoid the low spinning models. These clubs are designed for maximizing distance, but they place the CG further forward in the clubhead. This makes them less forgiving than the higher spinning and launching driver models.
Muscleback irons should be avoided at all costs. These irons require consistent precise ball striking, but there is a reason that even most Professionals stay clear of these irons. Any slight mishit will be severely punished.
The most suitable type of irons for the majority of mid handicappers will be players’ distance irons. They have additional forgiveness and distance performance compared to the smaller more compact players’ irons, but offer better feel and playability than super game improvement alternatives.
Choosing wedges is a personal choice, but many mid handicappers would benefit from using specialized cavity back wedges. These wedges offer more support for heavy contacts and mishits than bladed wedges, but have improved spin control compared to a standard iron set wedge. The Callaway Mack Daddy CB is a perfect example of this type of wedge and is one of the best on the market.
Similar to selecting wedges, a putter is all about confidence and feel, so it is about finding what works for you. That being said, mallet style putters offer the most forgiveness, so this style is best suited for putters that do not always strike the ball perfectly in the center. Blade putters are the opposite and should generally be avoided by mid handicappers.
What type of mid handicapper are you?
As the middling handicap range, mid handicappers cover such a broad range of golfers. In order to better understand what clubs you should be using and scores to expect, it is worth considering some other factors.
Handicaps of 9 to 18 covers quite a wide range, so the first thing to consider is where you fall on this scale. Golfers with a handicap index of 9 will clearly have a little more consistency and expect to shoot lower scores than an 18 handicapper.
The next thing to consider is whether you are an improving, plateaued or declining golfer.
Improving golfers are seeing their handicap come down and might be moving towards becoming a low handicapper before too long. These golfers are likely spending more time working on their game. This means they have higher expectations and could consider slightly less forgiving options when buying new clubs.
Plateaued golfers have probably been mid handicappers for several years. They probably do not spend too much time practising, but understand their shots are going to be as inconsistent as their scores. With plenty of mishits, clubs with plenty of support are a good choice.
Declining golfers may have been low handicappers previously, but nowadays they either play very infrequently or age is starting to catch up with them. Switching to more forgiving clubs might help reduce the downward curve.
Hopefully we have helped you understand more about a mid handicapper. In a nutshell, they are golfers with handicap indexes between 9 and 18.
Mid handicappers are often unpredictable golfers with the potential for both good and terrible scores. They understand the fundamentals of the game, but lack the overall consistency required to shoot under 80 on a regular basis.