I got my handicap index last week: 40.4. That's about as high as you can go. I'm not embarrassed, I'm a beginner.
On Monday this week I played with the beginner women's group at my local golf club. The woman I was paired up with was in my class when I took lessons in April, so we knew each other. I told her I was keeping score to go towards my handicap, and she made a comment, something about being a beginner and she wasn't ready to do that. I view getting a handicap as a record of improvement, along with my scores with putt count. If my handicap is 40.4 this June, then I'd like to break 35 by the fall. Some new golfers look at their scores and set a goal of breaking 100. If you play really easy courses, that is within reach a lot faster than if you play harder courses. So I think the index gives a better overall improvement picture.
One of the lessons taught in my class was held on course, a walking lesson where playing etiquette is discussed. The most important point being play "ready golf." On Monday we got paired up with another twosome who did not know how to play ready golf. One irritating moment was when I was putting, having the furthest ball away from the hole. The other three balls were closer and on my left. Their owners were on my right waiting for me to putt, not standing behind their ball, getting ready.
The long and short of the evening was it took 3:20 to play 9 holes. sheesh. But the good part was the last hole is a long par-5 hole, severe dogleg to the left. I shot a 6. In the dark, I might add.
15 hours ago