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The handicap of a doubles pair is calculated by adding an adjustment factor based on the difference between the two players to the handicap of the better player.
It is recommended that pairs in a tournament are handicapped exactly (to one decimal place) and when the handicap of the opposing pair is subtracted, the difference is rounded to the nearest whole number (0.5 upwards) and the T & R A handicap calculator is used in the normal way.
When a player has a separate doubles handicap, this only applies when his singles handicap is higher than that of his partner.
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A 32-handicap is partnering a 45-handicap against a 38-handicap and a 55-handicap.
For the first pair the difference in handicap is 13 and so the adjustment factor is 3.8; added to the better player this becomes 35.8.
For the second pair the difference in handicap is 17 and the corresponding adjustment factor is 4.6. Added to the better player this becomes 42.6.
The difference is 42.6 – 35.8 = 6.8 which, when rounded up, becomes 7.John Trapp Chair of Tennis & Racquets Association Handicaps and Rankings sub-committee 12th April 2002