General handicap info:
The purpose of handicaps are to enable golfers of all skill levels to compete on an equitable basis.
The fundamental assumptions of the USGA Handicap system are that:
1) A golfer will try to make the best score possible, on every hole, in every round played on any course.
2) A golfer will post the score for every acceptable round for peer review.
"Peer review" means that your fellow club members, the people with whom you have a regular opportunity to play together, not only can, but should look at your scoring record. They should also bring any errors or omissions to your attention - and if you don't correct them, to the attention of the handicap committee. You have the same responsibility to make sure your partners comply with the fundamental assumptions.
A Handicap Index is a portable number, expressed to one decimal point, representing the player's general skill level.
A Course Handicap is specific to the course and set of tees, and is expressed in whole strokes.
The Course Rating (for example, 68.9) is a measure of difficulty for a "scratch" or expert golfer - for example, a woman who could qualify for the U.S. Women's Amateur.
The Slope Rating (for example, 120) is a measure of difficulty for "bogey" or average golfer. According to the USGA a course of average difficulty is 113. The closer to 113 the slope, the closer the difference between what a scratch and bogey golfer would shoot, on average, the the difference in their handicap indices.
Both the course and slope ratings are specific to the set of tees.
A course handicap is calculated by multiplying the player's handicap index by the slope for women from those tees, divided by 113, and rounded to the nearest whole stroke.
For example, Mary, whose handicap Index is 29.5, would have a course handicap of 29 from the green tees (slope 112) at Longleaf: 29.5 X 112/113 = 29.24, rounded to 29. If she were playing from the gold tees there (slope 117), her course handicap would be 31 strokes: 29.5 X 117/113 = 30.54, rounded to 31. And she'll need those 2 extra strokes against a better player!
Link to the USGA Handicap Manual Online