What Does the Term “Duffer” Mean in Golf and Where Did the Word “Handicap” Come From?

The word duffer was once used to describe a counterfeit coin.

Its use evolved to include a worthless person, who, like the counterfeit coin, was only taking up space, such as a duffer on a golf course.

Because they are inferior, duffers need a handicap, or help, which is really a penalty against the superior players.

The word handicap came from drawing of lots for positions in a horse race, which literally required putting a hand in a cap.

A “duffer” often needs a “handicap” because they suck at golf.

About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist. Born in New York, her work has appeared in the Examiner, Yahoo News, Buzzfeed, among others.

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