This article is from the Golf FAQ, by marcelo@nntpserver.Princeton.EDU (Marcelo A. Gallardo) with numerous contributions by others.
The USGA has developed a simple, but relatively effective estimator of
a player's ability called "QRA" for "Quick Reference Allowance." QRA is
not a substitute for the USGA Handicap System, but can produce fairly
equitable results and is the best system for handicapping the otherwise
To create a player's QRA, the tournament committee simply asks each
un-handicapped player to submit his three best scores made on a
regulation course (with par of 68 or more) in the last 12 months.
Combine these scores with any previous scores that the player has made
in a tournament in the past two years.
The player's QRA is the second best score minus 70 for men or 73 for