Handicaps and Classifications

Every time you shoot a recognised round your score is assessed against Archery GB tables by the record officer to work out the handicap and classification shot and how that affects your current handicap and classification.


Handicaps are independent of gender, age group, and bow style.

Higher the score over a longer range lower the handicap. Each round shot is given a handicap. Your initial handicap is the average of your first 3 handicaps rounded up to a whole number.

round up( 65 + 68 + 66 / 3 ) = 67

Once you have a handicap it is improved by scoring a handicap lower than or equal to 2 lower. Your handicap is reduced by half the difference (improvement) between your current handicap and the round shot, rounded down to a whole number

Current 67, shoot a 64, new handicap = 67 – round down ( 67 – 64 / 2 ) = 66

At the end of the year, the next years starting handicap is assessed as the average of your best three handicaps rounded up to a whole number.

if your best three handicaps are 65, 64, 59, next year starts as = round up (65 + 64 + 59 / 3) = 63

Using the handicap system generates better and fairer competition in the club because archers of all ages, bow styles, gender and different rounds can compete together.


As well as a handicap your record officer will also lookup the classification of your score.

Classification achieved is dependent on score, gender, age group, bow style and round (distance). An archer gains a classification by shooting at that classification or higher three times in a year.

The classification achieved this year is carried over to the next.

The classifications are

  • Unclassified
  • Third Class
  • Second Class
  • First Class
  • Bowman
  • Master Bowman
  • Grand Master Bowman

For any archer who is interested in learning more about how the handicap system works in the club they can refer to this article written by Iris Major.