The USGA Handicap System™ enables golfers of all skill levels to compete on an equitable basis. This section of the site will help golfers understand why having a Handicap Index® is important. There are links to "The USGA Handicap System" manual, the USGA's handicapping equivalent of "The Rules of Golf", and a Course Handicap™ calculator to allow players to convert their Handicap Index to the Course Handicap for any course that has been properly rated. Articles and resources are available for anyone interested in starting a golf club or for current Handicap Committee chairmen who need assistance in maintaining handicaps for their respective clubs. The current version of the USGA Handicap System went into effect on Jan. 1, 2012, and the next revision will take effect on Jan. 1, 2016. Any modifications to the System are noted on this Web site. 





Browse the 2012-2015 Rules


1-1/1. Player Establishes One Handicap Index Playing Right-Handed and Another Handicap Index Playing Left-Handed

Q: A player has a Handicap Index of 2.6 playing right-handed and a Handicap Index of 29.3 playing left-handed. Is this permissible?

A: No. A Handicap Index is based on the best play for every round. Accordingly, the Handicap Index of 29.3 must be withdrawn.


1-1/2. Player Discontinues Playing Left-Handed and Begins Playing Right-Handed

Q: A player discontinues playing left-handed and begins to play right-handed. What is the status of the player's Handicap Index based on scores made playing left-handed?

A: The Handicap Index established by the player when playing left-handed is invalid. The player is in effect beginning golf anew and is required to establish a new Handicap Index based on scores made when playing right-handed.

1-2/1. Club's Policies Not in Compliance With the USGA Handicap System

Q: The USGA requires that a club's policies comply with "The Rules of Golf" and the USGA Handicap System in order to utilize the USGA Handicap System. If the USGA is notified in writing that a club is not complying, what action will the USGA take?

A: If notified in writing, the USGA will request the authorized golf association in the area to contact the club directly about policies not in compliance. If the golf club is a member club of the authorized golf association, the USGA will request that association to contact the club directly. If the golf club is not a member club of the authorized golf association, the USGA will contact the club directly, in accordance with the license agreement between the golf club and the USGA. In any case, the authorized golf association will be kept informed.

If neither the authorized golf association nor the USGA is able to persuade the club to comply, the USGA will advise the club in writing that, without compliance, the club may not issue a Handicap Index, may not use any part of the USGA Handicap System, and may not use USGA trademarks in any manner. If a club refuses to comply, the USGA will inform other USGA member clubs and clubs licensed to issue a Handicap Index in the region that the club's privilege to issue a Handicap Index has been withdrawn. 

1-2/2. Golf Club not Licensed by USGA. 

Q: A golf club is not a member club of an authorized golf association and has not been licensed by the USGA to utilize the USGA Handicap System. Is such a club eligible to issue a Handicap Index?  

A: No. All clubs must be licensed by the USGA to utilize the USGA Handicap System, either directly by the USGA or through an authorized golf association.

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The USGA and Chevron have committed to using the game of golf to encourage students in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) disciplines. This commitment has led to the creation of extensive golf-focused STEM teaching tools, and has resulted in charitable contributions to support golf-related programs through Eagles for Education™

At U.S. Open Championships the Chevron STEM ZONE™ is an interactive experience highlighting the science and math behind the game of golf through a variety of hands-on exhibits and experiments.

The partnership has also produced educational materials such as the Science of Golf video series and a nationally-distributed newspaper insert which are provided to teachers as tools to enhance existing curriculum in schools. These lessons teach the science behind the USGA’s equipment testing, handicapping, and agronomy efforts.

For more interactive experiences featuring golf-focused STEM lessons, visit the partnership homepage.

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Rolex has been a longtime supporter of the USGA and salutes the sportsmanship and great traditions unique to the game. This support includes the Rules of Golf where Rolex has partnered with the USGA to ensure golfers understand and appreciate the game.

As the official timekeeper of the USGA and its championships, they also provide clocks throughout host sites for spectator convenience.

For more information on Rolex and their celebration of the game, visit the Rolex and Golf homepage.

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IBM has partnered with the USGA to bring the same technology, expertise, and innovation it provides to businesses all over the world to the USGA and golf's national championship.

IBM provides the information technology to develop and host the U.S. Open’s official website, www.usopen.com, as well as the mobile apps and scoring systems for the three U.S. Open championships. These real-time technology solutions provide an enhanced experience for fans following the championship onsite and online.

For more information on IBM and the technology that powers the U.S. Open and businesses worldwide, visit http://www.usopen.com/IBM

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Lexus is committed to partnering with the USGA to deliver a best-in-class experience for the world’s best golfers by providing a fleet of courtesy luxury vehicles for all USGA Championships.

At each U.S. Open, Women’s Open and Senior Open, Lexus provides spectators with access to unique experiences ranging from the opportunity to have a picture taken with both the U.S. Open and U.S. Women’s Open trophies to autograph signings with legendary Lexus Golf Ambassadors in the Lexus Performance Drive Pavilion.

For more information on Lexus, visit http://www.lexus.com/

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Together, American Express and the USGA have been providing world-class service to golf fans since 2006. By creating interactive U.S. Open experiences both onsite and online, American Express enhances the USGA’s effort to make the game more accessible and enjoyable for fans.

For more information on American Express visit www.americanexpress.com/entertainment

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