Handicap

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. 

 

 

 

 

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Section 10 USGA HANDICAP FORMULA

10-3/1. Designation of Tournament Score when Points are Awarded for a Year-End Prize

Q: On ladies' day, when no special event is planned, there is a low gross-low net competition. Points are awarded for finishing first, second, and third in each flight. At the end of the season, prizes are awarded to the player in each flight who has accumulated the most points. Are these scores considered tournament scores?

A: No. The end-of-season winners are not all required to play the same number of stipulated rounds.

10-3/2. Designation of Tournament Score when the Prize is a Golf Ball

Q: Is a score from a competition that offers only a golf ball as a prize posted as a tournament score?

A: The value or nature of a prize is not a factor in determining whether a score is posted as a tournament score. Scores must be identified by the letter "T" when posted if they meet the definition of a tournament score. (See tournament score and Section 10-3.)

10-3/3. Designation of Tournament Score When Entries Are Accepted at Starting Time

Q: Our club professional organizes competitions that you can enter just before you go out to play. The prizes are predicated on how many players enter the competition that day. May these scores be posted as tournament scores?

A: If the club's Tournament Committee has authorized the club professional to conduct the competition, they have determined the selection of the winner(s) will be based on stipulated round(s) and played under "The Rules of Golf" (and the Committee has announced in advance that the score be identified by the letter "T"), scores from such events may be posted as tournament scores. The timing of acceptance of entries and the nature of the prizes do not affect whether a score is a tournament score. Events such as women's or seniors' weekly play days normally are not to be designated as T-Scores because they are not significant in the traditions, schedules, formats and membership of the club. One example of a significant event is one that is scheduled to be held annually.

10-3/4. Designation of Tournament Score When Pairings Are Not Made and Starting Times Are Not Assigned

Q: Our club has a Tournament Committee that sets up weekly competitions with modest prizes but does not make pairings or post starting times. May these scores be posted as tournament scores?

A: The fact that specific starting times and pairings are not assigned in advance does not alone determine the status of a competition. The fact that prizes are modest has no bearing. (See Decision 10-3/2.) The club's Tournament Committee must decide whether any of the scores from these weekly competitions meet the definition of a tournament score for posting purposes. That is, the competition must be organized and conducted by a Committee, and the selection of the winner(s) must be based on a stipulated round(s) and it must be played under "The Rules of Golf." If so, the Committee must announce in advance that the scores must be identified by the letter "T" when posted. If the competition, in the judgment of the Handicap Committee, would identify such players, the Committee may announce that scores from the competition must be identified as tournament scores when posted. However, events such as women's or seniors' weekly play days normally are not to be designated as T-Scores because they are not significant in the traditions, schedules, formats and membership of the club. One example of a significant event is one that is scheduled to be held annually. Careful consideration should be given to the possibility that too many events identified as Tournament Scores inhibits Section 10-3 from effectively identifying and reducing the Handicap Index of players who excel in competition. (REVISED)

10-3/5. Designation of Tournament Score From Weekly Club Sweep

Q: Our Committee read above Decisions 10-3/3 and 10-3/4. We conduct a weekly sweep every Wednesday. The groups are made up with participants and non-participants as they arrive to play. Players entering the sweep give the Pro $2 for the prize pool. There are no posted pairings or starting times. Winners receive gift certificates equal to the prize pool of the day. Some Wednesday formats conform totally to "The Rules of Golf" and others do not. All of these scores are eligible for the annual ringers tournament. May these scores be designated as tournament scores?

A: Scores made in events which do not conform to "The Rules of Golf" generally may not be designated as tournament scores. None of the stated factors by themselves would prevent the Committee from designating scores in these competitions as tournament scores. The purpose of the tournament scores procedure is to identify players who excel in competition well beyond their current Handicap Index. If the competition, in the judgment of the Handicap Committee, would identify such players, the Committee may announce that scores from the competition must be identified as tournament scores when posted. The club Committee is best qualified to make the decision because it knows its traditions, schedules, formats, and members. However, events such as women's or men's weekly play days normally are not to be designated as T-scores because they are not significant in the traditions, schedules, formats, and membership of the club. One example of a significant event is one that is scheduled to be held annually.

10-3/6. Designation of Tournament Score When Fewer Than 13 Holes Are Played

Q: In a match play tournament, a match ends on the eleventh hole. May this score be posted as a tournament score?

A: No. A tournament score must have at least 13 holes played under tournament conditions for it to be designated as a tournament score.

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