An Introduction to the Polo Handicap System

Polo Handicap System pic

Polo Handicap System

Lisa M. Nousek has practiced complex civil litigation as a partner at Boies, Schiller and Flexner, LLP, in Armonk, New York, since 2006. Away from her professional activities, Lisa M. Nousek enjoys staying active through polo.

The sport of polo makes use of a handicap system similar to the handicap system used in golf. Handicaps in polo are represented by numbers ranging from minus two to 10. Players competing with sub-zero handicaps are regarded as novices, while a 10 goal handicap is also known as a perfect handicap. Only a dozen or so 10 goal players exist around the world. More than 60 percent of polo players in the United States play with a handicap of two goals or less. Any player with a handicap of three or above is generally capable of competing at the professional level.

The handicap for each player is determined by a national competition committee. The system is the same for both men and women. Though handicaps are referred to as a three-goal or six-goal handicap, the number does not represent the total number of goals a player is expected to score in a single match, but rather the overall value a player brings to his or her team.