Handicaps and Classifications


An archery handicap is a number between 0 and 150, indicating your ability - the lower the number the better. These exist for both indoors and outdoors, and a different handicap is possible not only indoors and out, but also for different bowstyles.

Archery handicaps exist for numerous reasons including:

  • Allowing you to compete with archers of differing abilities, or different bowstyles, on an even playing field.
  • Allowing you to track and guage your performance over the course of a year, even when shooting different rounds.

Archery GB produce a series of helpful tables which allow you to calculate your handicap for a particular round, and in turn the 'expected' score in other rounds. It is possible to use your handicap partake in a handicap adjusted shoot where an allowance is made to everyones score based on their handicap to produce an adjusted score, which can be compared across all participants evenly.

Calculating your handicap

Don't panic, your friendly club records officer will do all the work in calculating these - all you need to do is score and submit your score!

The process for calculating your handicap is undertaken in a couple of steps:

  1. Your initial assessment is undertaken using at least three rounds which must be shot and scored. From these the average handicap for each of these is taken, and the result rounded up. This becomes your initial handicap.
  2. From here each round you shoot and score has a handicap calculated, and the average of this and your existing handicap is calculated, again the result is rounded up. If this is lower than your current handicap then it'll become your new handicap moving forwards.
  3. At the end of each season, 1 January for outdoors, 1 July for indoors, all handicaps are reassesed. The best three handicaps from the previous season are taken, and the result averaged and rounded up. This becomes the handicap you'll take moving forwards.

Handicap tables can be found on the Archery GB website:

It is important to note that 'complete' rounds are required for handicaps. Unfortuantly it is not possible to use Castles League scores to calculate a handicap.


Classifications are a progressive scale requiring you to shoot at or above specific scores based on your age, gender and bowstyle. While you can achieve the lower classifications at shorter distances, the higher classifications require you to shoot further away. Unlike handicaps, classifications are calculated based on the number of arrows shot, with the higher levels of classification requiring more arrows to be shot.

Both indoors and outdoors use named classifications - working though tiers, starting with the Archer tier, before progressing to the semi-competitive Bowman tier, and finally onto the Master Bowman tier which can only be achieved at Record Status competitions.

Archer Tier

Archer Tier is designed to be achievable by new archers within their first year or two of archery, and is achieved by shooting a total of 120 arrows indoors, and 144 arrows outdoors across complete rounds. This could be a Portsmouth and WA18, or two Portsmouths, or any other combination totalling 120 arrows indoors, and 144 outdoors. Once you have shot enough rounds above the required threshold you'll have achieved an Archer Tier classification.

There are three Archer Tier classifications - (Indoor) Archer 3rd Class / (Indoor) Archer 2nd Class / (Indoor) Archer 1st Class.

  • Arrows: 120 Indoors · 144 Outdoors
  • Event Level: Any

Bowman Tier

Bowman Tier is the next level up, and is aimed at archers regularly taking part in compeitive events, from club level upto national level. The required number of arrows, and the required scores increase from the Archer Tier - with 180 arrows indoors, and 216 arrows outdoors.

It doesn’t need to be too formal, but as a guideline it should be an event organised in advance, with multiple people taking part and with rules around practice and scoring being followed as if it were a competition.

Prestige Rounds (Outdoors)

Three prestigious categories of rounds play a crucial role in the awarding of outdoor Bowman Tier classifications. These rounds, each tailored to specific bowstyles, genders, and ages, involve distinct distances, target sizes, and arrow counts.

The first category, aligned with World Archery standards, includes international competition rounds such as the WA 70m for Recurve/Longbow, the WA 50m for Barebow, and the WA 50m for Compound. These rounds are significant as they represent the global standard for archery competitions, demanding precision and technique across multiple distances.

The second category, formerly known as FITAs and now known as 1440 rounds or Archery GB Metric rounds, spans a series of distances from 90m to 30m for men and 70m to 30m for women.

The third category features traditional Archery GB rounds like the York and Hereford, shot at the first Grand National Archery Meeting in 1844. These rounds challenge archers to maintain high performance across a series of long imperial distances, reflecting the sport's traditional practices.

These prestige rounds allow archers to earn recognition and classification across all levels, ensuring that their abilities are tested against the highest standards of archery competition.

There are three Bowman Tier classifications - (Indoor) Bowman 3rd Class / (Indoor) Bowman 2nd Class / (Indoor) Bowman 1st Class.

  • Arrows: 180 Indoors · 216 Outdoors
  • Event Level: Competitive

Master Bowman Tier

Master Bowman Tier classifications are the highest level of classification, and break away from the 3rd / 2nd / 1st Class naming of the previous tiers - being replaced by (Indoor) Master Bowman / (Indoor) Grand Master Bowman and Elite Master Bowman (outdoors only.)

The scores required for these classifications represent an increased challenge, with the scores required for Elite Master Bowman being that which would be considered competitive at international events. Only the relevant prestige rounds are eligable for Master Bowman Tier classifications.

Outdoors this tier of classifications is administered by Archery GB, with claims being ratified, and badges supplied, by them.

Those achieving these classifications outdoors gain priority entry to the UK Masters competition hosted by Archery GB at Lilleshall National Sports Centre

  • Arrows: 180 Indoors · 432 Outdoors
  • Event Level: Record Status

Classification Tables


David, the club records officer will be able to answer any questions you have regarding these, although in essence all you need to do is shoot, score and give your scoresheet to David.

It is possible to see your current handicap and classification on Scorepad.