Classification & Handicap Calculator

Archery GB over many years have used a set of tables to determine archer handicaps and classifications – these are due to change soon we are told and will in future be produced on line to download. However until this happens -archers can establish (for their own benefit) their current classification or handicap by clicking on the link below. Please remember that to obtain a classification a set number of arrows must be shot. The Club’s Golden Records Online scoring system (access found elsewhere on the website) will also provide the current classification for the archer.

Similarly archer handicaps can be calculated using the same link below. As with classifications the initial handicap is calculated from 3 x rounds, then from that handicap future ones can be compared – members who are not familiar with the process please contact Coaches or Committee members for further explanation

The process of handicapping enables archers in the first instance to gauge their current archery skill and ability level, and provides a means for them to observe a base to improve upon during any year, as handicaps only go down or stay the same during any season. It is also a means to allow archers to compete against others of different abilities or using different bow types. It is based on how well they perform compared to their best performances and allows different rounds to be compared. It also allows each archer to gauge how they are performing over the course of the year. Each score an archer achieves in any round will have a handicap value assigned to it, ranging between 0 and 100. The better the score, the lower the handicap. Handicaps when used in a competition or tournament to allow archers of all bow disciplines to compete together the standard raw score has a handicap allowance added to it to provide a level playing field, and is always assessed against a level of 1440 as an adjusted score. Archers scoring 1440 will be shooting to “par” a higher score they are shooting better than normal, less than 1440, they are not shooting as well.

The handicap system has three stages:

Initial assessment – For an initial handicap to be obtained, an archer must first shoot three complete rounds. An average is taken of the handicap rating of each score, rounded up to the next larger whole number.

Ongoing assessment – The process of handicap calculation is continuous and it can be reduced every time an archer shoots a round that is better than their current handicap. An average of the current handicap and the handicap of the round shot is taken and rounded up as before. If this handicap rating is lower, then this will be the new handicap, otherwise it will remain the same. For a handicap to improve, an archer must shoot a round with a handicap rating at least 2 better than their current handicap.

Annual reassessment of handicaps – At the beginning of each season (1st Jan for outdoors; 1st July for indoors) all handicaps are reassessed. The best three handicaps achieved over the previous season are added and the average taken. This is the handicap rating that will be carried over into the new season.

Handicaps for different bow disciplines (recurve, longbow, compound, barebow) are calculated in the same way, but if you shoot more than one discipline you can obtain a handicap for each.

Handicap shoots – Many competitions have a handicap adjusted element. This is where novice and experienced archers are put on an equal level. Each score will have an allowance added to it according to the archer’s handicap to give a handicap adjusted score. Novices often win the handicap adjusted medals as they will most likely beat their handicap scores by a larger margin.


The classification scheme is a progressive grading scale that requires archers to achieve different levels of score, depending on gender, age-group, and bow-style. The higher the class, the further distance you have to shoot to achieve that class. Classes are as follows:

* Unclassified
* Third Class Archer
* Second Class Archer
* First Class Archer *Third Class Bowman * Second Class Bowman * First Class Bowman
* Master Bowman
* Grand Master Bowman * Elite Master Bowman

Classifications in The KPAC are also graded the same way as above for infoor, but currently have a change over period from the existing H up to A grouping.

Your handicap and classification can be improved at any time on the club field, not just at competitions, as long as you shoot a complete round and submit your scores to the club’s Records Officer via our Golden Records Scoring system.

How To Obtain Classifications and Handicaps

In target archery formal shooting takes the form of rounds, where a round comprises a number of arrows shot over stated distances. There are many different types of round, for example a Western round involves shooting 4 dozen arrows at 60 yards followed by 4 dozen arrows at 50 yards.

When a member shoots one of these rounds, either at the club or in competition elsewhere, they should submit their score to the Records Officer who will then calculate the handicap value and classification for that score and round.

A handicap is given after three scores have been submitted and an average of the three handicap values has been calculated. You can improve your handicap over the course of the year as detailed above.