HANDICAP ADVICE: IS IT PLUS OR MINUS?
Why are Handicap Indexes that are better than 0 referred to as being "plus," when in fact, they are represented with a "minus" numerical value? Simply put, a golfer with a "plus" Index has to add—not subtract—strokes to his gross score to determine a net score. For example: Say a golfer with a minus-2 course handicap (-2.0) shot 72. In a stroke-play competition involving handicaps, his gross socre would be 72, but his net score would be 74 (72 plus the two extra strokes for having a course handicap better than 0).
Golf Digest Contributing Editor DEAN KNUTH is a former director of Handicapping for the USGA.
From Golf Digest January 2014, page 50