What you need to do to pass Swiss Golf AP and obtain your handicap?

In our last Swiss AP article, we examined the somewhat unusual circumstances in Switzerland and a couple of other European countries where golfers who wish to play the game are required to have passed a qualifying course in order to earn themselves an “Authorisation Parcours” golf certificate to allow them to play the game freely. In this article, we looked at whether this would be a good, or bad thing to have in other countries, especially in the light of waning golf popularity across many European markets.

Now, in this follow up article, we look more closely at the Swiss AP golfing test, what is involved and what kinds of things you need to do to be given the green light to drive off alone on course.




The first thing to note is that the test for the golf AP certificate must adhere to the guidelines of the Swiss Golf Association (ASG). In addition, certificates can only be issued by accredited members of clubs in Switzerland, by an official arbitrator of the ASG or a PGA registered professional.  This is to ensure that all certificates issued are subject to the same criteria and that all candidates for a certificate receive a fair test.

In terms of the actual examination, there are two distinct parts to the examination. Theory and Practical.

Theoretical Exam

In  the theroetical examination the candidate will face a written or oral test of 30 questions which are based upon both the rules and also the ettiquette of golf.  The candidate is able to consult the rules of golf booklet during the course of the exam (it is, after all, not an examination, merely a test to ascertain understanding of key principles).

For a candidate to pass the theoretical section of the exam, they must get at least 22 out of the 30 questions correct.  Meaning that the pass mark is around 73.3 per cent.


Golf-cart-Gorilla-Golf-Blog golf clinic for swiss AP


Practical Exam

For most amateur golfers, the criteria against which they will be judged for AP certification sounds rather daunting. Initially, your examiner will investigate three crucial aspects of your game:

  1. Driving – Your examiner will want you to hit five drives what is termed ‘reasonably straight’. Women must also ensure that four of their drives travel more than 100 meters, while men must hit the ball over 120 meters.
  2. Approach Play – Your examiner will then want to test your skills on hitting approach shots. The qualification criteria here seems strict as the player must hit four approach shots within four metres of the hole, although the approaches in question range from five to 20 yards.
  3. Putting – Finally, the examiner will test your putting ability by asking you to make five putts of 10 feet or more. You must get at least three of the five putts to within two feet of the hole.




Having completed the skills element of the practical side, you then head out onto an approved testing course for nine holes of Stableford play. You and another one or two players then have less than 2 hours and 15 minutes to complete the nine holes and users must achieve nine Stableford points in order to pass. However, to facilitate this, each player is awarded the full base handicap of 36 for the round.

This may seem a tough task at first, but the handicap system does mean that achieving the nine points is not a particularly arduous task for most golfers. Over nine holes, a 36 handicap equates to the receipt of two shots per hole. (As we are only playing over 9 holes, the 18 hole handicap of 36 is halved to 18). Given the Stableford scoring system of 5 points for an Albatross, 4 for an Eagle, 3 for a Birdie, 2 for a Par, one for a bogey and nothing for any other score, a decent amateur should be able, with the benefit of two shots per hole, record at least a bogey score or better on each hole, while pars and even birdies would increase the total score quickly.




A good example would therefore be a player being tested shoots a seven at a par 5. With the handicap, that would equate to a score of five, meaning they would score par for that hole and score two Stableford points. If the golfer then manages to par the next hole, a par 3, with the handicap that equates to an eagle hole-in-one and they would then score four points. Meaning that they would now have six points in total from just two holes.

Provided the player passes both the skills test and the nine-hole test, in addition to the theory aspect of the course, then they would then be awarded the Swiss AP certification.


Getting a Swiss AP qualification

Getting a Golf Handicap in Switzerland

Now that you have your AP certification, you can now play on Swiss golf courses, right? Well, no. Not just yet anyway. Most of the 94 golf clubs in Switzerland will only allow players onto their courses who have a valid handicap certificate and so it is important that you get yours sorted quickly. You can do this by joining a local club and presenting three cards of rounds completed at their home club, or from another club affiliated to the ASG. Your handicap will be calculated based on the minimum score at each hole from each round.

The maximum applicable handicap given to new golfers is 36, though with the submission of cards, this handicap can soon be brought down.

And so, once you have your AP certification and a shiny new official handicap, you can now enjoy the magnificent fairways and spectacular views of most of the 94 Swiss golf courses.




And best of all, you’ll be well equipped both in terms of golfing skill, etiquette and understanding to do just that and whatsmore, you’ll have the certificate to prove it!


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If you enjoyed this post please leave us your comment below

Otis May 11, 2012

The program is amazing. This will really help those who aspire to pass the Swiss Golf AP. More power to those people who made this possible 😀


Tommy Priest May 30, 2012

It is a good system in as far as when a person gets out there, it can boost their confidence.


ciaran June 5, 2012

Hi there,

Thanks for the excellent article. Yes, having lived in Switzerland for 5 years (my wife is from there), things in there are rarely straightforward, always solidly done.

I am a regular golfer on and off for over 25 years, playing recreationally a once or twice a month in Ireland, and now I play more often in the winter time (2 or 3 times a month) as my work involves extended periods of time in Dubai. Having said that for whatever reason I never played during my time in Switzerland.

Whilst I do record my score, I have never had an official handicap – never needed it and this has never been a problem in either Dubai or Ireland. I will be in Switzerland this summer (start august) and will staying in the Bern area with my mother-in-law so will likely play on the MossePark Migros course near Bern, however, it seems that I need a handicap to even access courses in CH – and apparently they are very strict about it…

It seems there are a few services where I can quickly register some scores and then get an official handicap card (GolfShake http://www.golfshake.com/golfhandicap/, Golf Club of Great Britain https://secure.golfclubgb.co.uk/welcome-to-the-golf-club-great-britain ) – these are accepted in many courses in the UK, so I would hope that it would be valid also in CH.

Have you any idea of how things work – would such a card be accepted? Or how, as a visitor I would be able to play.

I know sometimes things can be quite unflexible in CH, I would be a little peeved if I join up for one of these handicap cards, bring my clubs and make plans to play only to be turned away…

thanks kindly in advance for any insight you may be able to give.



Tommy Priest July 11, 2012

Hi Claran,
Hope we have responded to your question


L. Black July 15, 2013

Hi Tom,
A delicate question for you… Signed up for a 4 ball tournament,
I was 3rd of 4. The club called to say my name had been rubbed out & 2 new people signed up……What do the rules say on this ….
Your views very welcome….Have since found out discretely that it was someone more or less untouchable in the club so need to tread carefully. All feedback very welcome Thanks so much


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