In a professional tournament, of course, there is no handicapping; the best (lowest) score wins. But among amateurs playing "socially," a comparison of handicaps sometimes comes into play.
Suppose you are a "scratch" (par) golfer, and my history suggests that I will go ten strokes over, "on average." Then, we might handicap the game so that I win if I hold my overage to nine or fewer strokes than yours.
Why are such handicaps given? Is it because informal bets are taken? Is it because it's a social way to give the weaker player an even chance to "win?"
And apparently there is a technique to handicapping; that is, the weaker player is expected to get a par score on some holes, and is given say, a one stroke handicap on others (in my case, ten holes). How does that work?