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Handicaps are always a topic of discussion. Yes, I think a lot of people come down with handicap’s that are lower than what they actually play to for the reasons you referenced and more. Many people play their home course only, this affects their index number when they play a course they have never seen or played before. Many are used to putting on bent grass greens that tend to be slower than the Bermuda at the beach. The different ball flights of the golf ball at sea level instead of where others are used to playing. People who play a variety of different course tend to have a handicap that travels better that someone who only plays one or two course regularly.
Just my thoughts.