Classifications and Handicaps

You can judge your progress in archery not just by all the medals you’re going to win, but also by your classification and your handicap. If you shoot more than one type of bow, you will have a separate classification and handicap for each type of bow that you shoot. You will also have a separate classification and handicap for the  indoor and outdoor seasons.


In order to gain a classification, you must submit three correctly filled in score cards signed and witnessed with the required scores for that classification to the club’s records officer. The three scores have to have been shot in one season. You must maintain your classification from year to year by continuing to submit scores.

The required scores for classifications are calculated from handicaps, but unlike handicaps they are bow, gender and age specific, so give a better indication of how skilful you are with your chosen bow type. Of course having a certain handicap is not the same as having that classification: only certain longer rounds qualify for the higher classifications, and you  have to shoot those rounds to qualify.

When a junior moves up an age group, their new classification is calculated from their best three qualifying scores in the twelve months prior to their birthday, treated as though they were shot in the new age group.

The indoor and outdoor seasons have completely different Classification systems. In both cases in order to achieve a particular classification you have to enter three correctly completed score sheets with the requisite scores, within a single season.

Indoor Classifications

The indoor classifications are single letters, A through H where A is the highest classification and H is the lowest.

Outdoor Classifications

The outdoor classifications from 2023 onwards are, from lowest to highest:

  • 3rd Class Archer
  • 2nd Class Archer
  • 1st Class Archer
  • 3rd Class Bowman
  • 2nd Class Bowman
  • 1st Class Bowmen
  • Master Bowman
  • Grand Master Bowmen
  • Elite Master Bowmen

These can be claimed for four bow styles, in 8 age groups for both men and women.


From the 2023 Outdoor season onward, handicaps range from 150 to 0 and scores for every round shot have an associated handicap. As you submit scores to the club records officer, your handicap should hopefully reduce as you become more proficient.

Handicaps are not bow, gender or age related. They are purely an indication of how accurate you are. In other words, any two archers with the same handicap should be capable of the same score for any given round, regardless of age, gender or bow type.

Your handicap is only used directly in handicap matches, to calculate an allowance which is added to your score. This means that if you shoot better than your handicap would suggest in a handicap match you have a good chance of winning.

How your Handicap is Calculated

Every score that you submit for a recognised round has a handicap rating. Whenever you enter a score with a lower (better) handicap rating than your current handicap, your new handicap is calculated as the average of your current handicap and that score’s handicap rating, rounded up to the nearest whole number. However, your first handicap is the average of the handicap ratings of your first three submitted scores.

End of season re-assessment

At the end of each season (January 1st for outdoor and July 1st for indoor) Your handicap is re-assessed as the average of your three best scores’ handicap ratings for the season, rounded up to the next whole number. If you only submitted one or two scores that season then your handicap will be the average of your previous season’s assessment and the ratings for those scores. If you submitted no scores in a season, your handicap remains at your last decided handicap until you do submit a score.