Do I Need A Handicap To Play Golf In Portugal?

Do I need a handicap to play golf in Portugal

Playing golf in sunny Portugal is an unforgettable experience however, as a beginner you might be interested in finding out the answer to a very common question, do you need a handicap to play golf in Portugal? Most golf courses in Portugal require a golf handicap certificate however, not every golf course will ask you to produce your certificate/card. Bear in mind that all courses have a handicap requirement.

However, you might not be required to produce it upon check-in but bring it anyway just in case you are asked to produce it. Usually, you will be asked to produce your handicap card when there is a complaint or problem associated with the game you are playing.

Are There Any Exceptions To Having To Show My Handicap?

There are a number of high-end exclusive golf courses in Portugal that have specific handicap requirements, you will always be asked to produce your handicap card at these golf courses:

-Penina Champion

-Victoria Vilamoura

-Old Course Vilamoura

-Monte Rei



What is Golf Handicap Anyway? 

Seasoned golf enthusiasts will be fully well versed on golf handicaps however, beginners will certainly want to develop an understanding of exactly what golf handicaps are. Simply put, a golf handicap measures a golfer’s potential ability numerically. For example, it is often used to work out the net score from the number of strokes played. This allows players of various skill levels to play against each other on proportionate terms. 

Remember this: Different countries have different guidelines for calculating a player’s golf handicap. In the United Kingdom, the Council Of National Golf Unions (Congu) sets the rules and guidelines calculating golf handicaps. In Portugal, the Portuguese Golf Federation (PGF)is responsible for this.

How Do You Calculate Your Golf Handicap? 

Now you know what a golf handicap actually is, let’s explain how to actually calculate your golf handicap. 

Before you can calculate your golf handicap, you need to play some rounds of golf. Collect some information from these rounds to calculate your handicap. You need to play a sufficient number of rounds to accurately calculate your handicap, 5-20 is a decent amount. Before you begin collecting data, you will need to know the course rating and slope of the golf course you are playing on.

To calculate your handicap, subtract the course rating from your score and multiply it by 113. Now divide the answer by the slope to find out your handicap.


Score= 100

Course Rating 74.2

Slope + 114

= 25.35

Score-Course Rating X 112 /Slope Rating (divided by slope rating)

What Is the Importance of The Course Rating and Slope?  

Course rating and slope both serve an important purpose in calculating golf handicap because they highlight the difficulty level of the golf course. Difficulty level is important because it helps to determine how skilled you are as a golfer.

I am a beginner, where can I play?

There are a few courses that provide beginners with the opportunity to test their skills. These are:


-Penina Academy

-Vale do Milho


I want to bring my children along, they are 10 and 13 years old, is this possible?

Most of the beginner courses allow children, they do not need a handicap to play. However, most courses have a minimum age requirement of 12 years old.

I do not have a handicap card, but I do have a society letter, is this sufficient evidence?

Some courses will accept society letters as proof of handicap however, it is best to check with the course when booking your visit.

Where do I find official information about Portuguese handicap guidelines?

Contact the Portuguese Golf Federation, they can provide you with official information pertaining to golf handicap requirements in Portugal. You should also contact the clubs or courses you wish to play at to find out more information. 

How do I get a golf handicap?

As mentioned above the regulatory body for golf handicaps in the United Kingdom is The Council of National Golf Unions (CONGU) To be assigned a CONGU handicap you are required to be a member of a golf club or organisation that is connected to an official union or association. Once you become a member, you are required to hand in a number of cards completing 54 holes. The cards need to be signed by a reliable staff member or organisation official. You will be allocated a handicap based on the average of the cards submitted.   

Will my CONGU handicap card be accepted in Portugal?

Yes, CONGU handicap certificates are accepted as globally recognised proof of golf handicaps. Check with individual clubs in Portugal to find out their handicap requirements. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Why do I need a golf handicap?

If you are serious about playing golf on professional golf courses, you will need a golf handicap. The golf handicap system was designed to make it easier for golfers with different skill levels to compete equally.

Do I need to be a club member to get a golf handicap?

The short answer to this question is yes. Being a member of golf club is the most reliable way of getting an official handicap certificate.

What about online golf handicap certificates?

Many golf courses will not accept online golf certificates. Therefore, it is best to join an official golf club and work towards acquiring a globally recognized official golf handicap certificate.

Will my CONGU handicap card/certificate be recognised as an official handicap certificate in Portugal?

Your CONGU handicap card is a globally established handicap card/certificate. Therefore, it will be accepted. The rules and regulations are slightly different from country to country however, official cards like the CONGU card will be recognised in Portugal and most other countries.

Will I always get asked to produce my handicap card?

Most golf courses will ask you to produce your card if there is a problem. However, you will not always be required to produce your card upon check in. However, there are a number of courses in Portugal and other countries that have strict handicap rules. Therefore, at these courses you will be asked to present your card before you will be permitted to play.

To Conclude

To answer the initial question, do you need a golf handicap to play golf in Portugal?  A golf handicap is not compulsory, but it is advisable to carry a golf handicap certificate if you want to play on certain courses. Mostly, you will not be required to present an official golf handicap card or certificate when you check in to play at one of the many golf courses in Portugal. However, bear in mind that if there is a complaint or problem, you might be asked to present your handicap card. Therefore, it is best to have one.

Final Tips

-Book in advance during high season

-Always check if a handicap card is required prior to booking

-If you want to obtain a golf handicap card, join a club and start playing