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 9 HANDICAP COMPETITIONS

Definitions....

Within each section, all defined terms are in italics and are listed alphabetically in Section 2 - Definitions.

9-1. Handicap Required for Competition

The USGA recommends that a player have a Handicap Index in order to enter competitions conducted by a golf association, golf club, and any other organization. (See Decisions 9-1/1, 9-1/2.)

a. Effective Date of Handicap Required

When a Handicap Index is a requirement for entering a competition, a player must submit the Handicap Index in effect on the date of entry.

b. Handicap Index Changed by Committee

A Handicap Index adjusted by the Handicap Committee is the player's Handicap Index unless noted otherwise in the manual. (See local handicap, Sections 3-4, 8-4c, 8-4d, f, and 10-3e.)

9-2. Handicap Index to Use

a. At the Start of the Competition

The Handicap Index to be used at the start of a competition must be determined by the Committee in charge of the competition. The USGA recommends that the Committee require use of a Handicap Index in effect on the date the competition commences.

b. Changes During the Competition

Whether a player's Course Handicap may be changed during a competition is a matter for the Committee in charge of the competition to determine and publish prior to the competition. Rule 33-1 of "The Rules of Golf" provides in part: that the Committee must lay down the conditions under which a competition is to be played.

The Committee may, in an exceptional individual case, modify a player's Course Handicap before or between rounds of the competition; however, a player's Handicap Index can only be adjusted by the player's Handicap Committee. (See Section 8-4c.)

The USGA recommends that, when practical, each player use the Handicap Index in effect at the time each round is played. If a competition spans a handicap revision date, the revised Handicap Index should be used in rounds following that date. (See Decision 9-2b/1)

c. Player Has More Than One Handicap Index

If a player belongs to more than one golf club and has a different Handicap Index at each golf club, the Committee in charge of a competition should require the player to use the lowest Handicap Index when competing with players from more than one club. (See Section 6-5 and Decision 6-5/2 and Decision 6-5/3.)

9-3. Assignment of Strokes

a. Where To Apply Strokes

If handicap strokes are applied to a gross score, subtract the player's handicap strokes (usually the Course Handicap) recorded on the scorecard. The result is the player's net score.

In stroke play, the Committee is responsible for the addition of scores and the application of the  Course Handicap recorded on the score card.  ("The Rules of Golf," Rule 33-5).

For formats in which handicap strokes are used on specific holes during the course of play, a player generally takes them in the order assigned on the scorecard. For example, a player receiving three strokes takes them on the first, second, and third stroke holes. However, the Committee in charge of the competition is permitted to assign a custom order. If so, it must publish a "stroke allocation table" indicating the order of holes at which handicap strokes are to be given or received. For example, while the score card may assign holes 3, 13, and 8 as the first, second, and third stroke holes, the Committee may choose to designate 4, 12, and 7 instead. ("The Rules of Golf," Rule 33-4).

In mixed competitions where players play their own ball and where allocations are different for men and women, the players receive strokes based on their respective stroke allocations.

In mixed foursome and selected drive match play competitions, strokes are received based on the men's allocation.

 b. Where to Apply Strokes, Plus Handicaps

A player with a plus Course Handicap must add strokes according to the allocation table beginning with the 18th stroke hole. For example, when a player with a plus Course Handicap competes in a partnership stroke play competition, a side with a Course Handicap of plus 1 must add a stroke to its score on the hole designated as the 18th stroke hole. In a match play competition, if the lower-handicapped side has a Course Handicap of plus 1, that side plays at scratch, and adds 1 stroke to the other side's Course Handicap. (See Decisions 9-3a/1, 9-3a/2, and 9-3a/3.)

When a plus-handicap player is part of a side, the percentage allowances, for different types of play (as described in Section 9-4), bring that player's Course Handicap closer to zero (e.g., 50% of a +3 is a +1.5, which rounds to +1). This occurs in order to keep as close as possible the proper percentage spread between the plus-handicap player and the other members of the side.

Example: On side A-B, Player A has a Course Handicap of +5 and Player B has a Course Handicap of 10. The total spread between Course Handicap is 15 strokes. In a competition where 80% of each player's Course Handicap is used, Player A becomes a +4 (+5 x 80%) and Player B becomes an 8 (10 x 80%). The spread between Course Handicap, after the allowance is 12, which is 80% of their original spread of 15.

c. Players Competing From Different Tees or Men and Women From Same Tees

(i) Different Tees: Men vs. Men; Women vs. Women; Women vs. Men
Different tees usually have different ratings. Since a USGA Course Rating reflects the probable scores of scratch golfers, the higher-rated course is more difficult, and the player playing from the set of tees with the higher USGA Course Rating receives additional stroke(s) equal to the difference between each USGA Course Rating, with the resulting figure rounded off to the nearest whole number (.5 or more is rounded upward). (See Decision 3-5/1.)

Example 1: If men playing from the middle tees, from which the men's USGA Course Rating is 70.3, compete against men playing from the back tees, from which the men's USGA Course Rating is 72.6, the men playing from the back tees will add two strokes
(72.6 - 70.3 = 2.3 rounded to 2) to Course Handicap.

Example 2: If women playing from the forward tees, from which the women's USGA Course Rating is 73.4, compete against men playing from the middle tees, from which the men's USGA Course Rating is 70.9, the women will add three strokes (73.4 - 70.9 = 2.5 rounded to 3) to Course Handicap.

(ii) Same Tees: Men vs. Women
Men and women playing from the same set of tees will have different ratings. Since the women's USGA Course Rating usually will be higher, women receive additional strokes equal to the difference between men's and women's USGA Course Rating, with the resulting figure rounded off to the nearest whole number (.5 or more is rounded upward). (See Decision 3-5/1 for an exception.)

Example: If women playing from the middle tees, from which the women's USGA Course Rating is 77.3, compete against men playing from the same tees, from which the men's USGA Course Rating is 70.9, the women will add six strokes (77.3 - 70.9 = 6.4 or 6) to Course Handicap.

(iii) Foursome Competitions Using Different Tees or Men and Women Using Same Tees
In foursome competitions using different tees or men and women from the same tees, players use half the difference in USGA Course Rating between sets of tees.

Example: A, a man, and B, a woman, are partners in a foursome competition against C, a man, and D, a woman. The men play the white tees with a USGA Course Rating of 71.2, and the women play the red tees with a USGA Course Rating of 73.6. The difference in Ratings is 2.4. After the Course Handicap of each team is determined, one-half of the difference between Ratings (1 stroke) is added to the Course Handicap of each team with the resulting figure rounded off to the nearest whole number (.5 or more is rounded upward). If A and B are both men, the procedure applies only to side C and D (a man and a woman).

In a foursome competition in which sides are using different tees, the side playing from the set of tees with the higher USGA Course Rating receives additional strokes equal to the difference between Ratings with the resulting figure rounded off to the nearest whole number (.5 or more is rounded upward). (See Decision 3-5/1.)

Example: A, a man, and C, a man, are partners in a foursome competition against B, a woman, and D, a woman. The men play the white tees, with a USGA Course Rating of 71.2, and the women play the red tees, with a USGA Course Rating of 73.6. The difference in Rating is 2.4. After the Course Handicap of each team is determined, the full difference between the Ratings (2 strokes) is added to the Course Handicap of the women's team.

Note: Additional strokes received under this procedure are to be disregarded when applying ESC for handicap purposes. (See Section 4-3, Example 3.)

9-4. Handicap Allowances

Handicap allowances have no effect in determining a Handicap Index; however, their use is recommended to produce fair and equitable competition.

Handicap Index relates to 18 holes.  Each allowance in Section 9-4 applies to an 18-hole round, even though the competition may consist of more than one round.

The allowances are designed to make all forms of play fair. In some forms of play, it is equitable for players to use full Course Handicap. In some team competitions, using full Course Handicap would give higher-handicapped sides an advantage over lower-handicapped sides. Less than full Course Handicap is recommended in some team competitions.

To make proper use of handicap allowances, follow the order of the steps below:

Step 1: Players must first determine Course Handicap (from tees played).

Step 2: Players should then apply the handicap allowances for the appropriate format.

Step 3: It is recommended that in four-ball stroke play competitions, if the Course Handicap of the side differ by more than eight strokes, each is reduced by 10 percent. (See Note in Section 9-4b(ii).) 

Step 4: If players are competing from different tees or men and women are competing from the same tees (See Sections 3-5 and 9-3c), players must apply the adjustment for the difference in USGA Course Rating from the tees played.

For example, a competition in which players using a handicap allowance of 80 percent are playing from two sets of tees where the difference in USGA Course Rating is four strokes. Player A's Course Handicap of 30 is first reduced by six strokes to 24 (30 x 80% = 24), then increased by four strokes to 28 (24 + 4 = 28). Had the order of adjustment been incorrectly reversed, A's Course Handicap of 30 would first have been increased by four strokes to 34 (30 + 4 = 34), then reduced by seven strokes to 27 (34 x 80% = 27.2, rounded downward to 27) - a loss of one stroke.

The amount of the adjustment in Step 4 is added to Course Handicap, even if it causes a Course Handicap to exceed the maximum Handicap Index possible for the Slope Rating of the set of tees being played. (See Section 3-4.)

Note 1: In a match play formats where the lower-handicapped player plays at scratch, and due to Step 4 is not at scratch, repeat Step 2 if necessary.

Note 2: If the percentage of a player's Course Handicap results in a decimal in Steps 2 and/or 3 above, the resulting figure is rounded to the nearest whole number (.5 or more is rounded upward).

a. Match Play

In match play, the game is played by holes. Except as otherwise provided in "The Rules of Golf," a hole is won by the side that holes its ball in fewer strokes. In a handicap match, the lower net score wins the hole. A match (which consists of a stipulated round, unless otherwise decreed by the Committee) is won by the side which is leading by a number of holes greater than the number of holes remaining to be played. The Committee may, for the purpose of settling a tie, extend the stipulated round to as many holes as are required for a match to be won ("The Rules of Golf," 2-1, 2-3). The Committee must also determine the proper handicap allowances before adjusting for competitions from different tees or in competitions between men and women from the same tees. (See Section 9-3c.)

(i) Singles Match Play
In singles match play, the match is won by the player who is leading by a number of holes greater than the number of holes remaining to be played. After handicap allowances are determined, Section 9-3c must be applied in competitions from different tees, or in competitions between men and women from the same tees.

Allowance: The higher-handicapped player receives the full difference in Course Handicap between the two players; the lower-handicapped player plays from scratch. (See Decision 9-4a/1 and 9-4a/3.)

Example: A player with a Course Handicap of 17 receives four strokes from a player with a Course Handicap of 13. The player receives them on the first four allocated handicap-stroke holes.

(ii) Singles Match Play vs. Par or Bogey
Bogey or par competitions are forms of competition in which play is against a fixed score at each hole. The scoring is made as in match play. Any hole for which a competitor returns no score must be regarded as a loss. The winner is the competitor who is most successful in the aggregate of holes ("The Rules of Golf," 32-1). After handicap allowances are determined, Section 9-3c must be applied in competitions from different tees, or in competitions between men and women from the same tees.

Allowance: Each player receives full Course Handicap.

Example: Player A with a Course Handicap of 17 receives one stroke on the first 17 handicap-stroke holes.

(iii) Four-Ball Match Play
In four-ball match play, two play their better ball against the better ball of two other players ("The Rules of Golf," Rule 30 and Definitions). After handicap allowances are determined, Section 9-3c must be applied in competitions from different tees, or in competitions between men and women from the same tees.

Allowance: The Course Handicap of all four players is reduced by the Course Handicap of the player with the lowest handicap, who then plays from scratch. Each of the three other players is allowed 100 percent of the difference. (See Decisions 9-4a/2).

Example: Players A, B, C, and D have a Course Handicap of 5, 10, 15 and 20, respectively. Player A plays at scratch, B receives 5 strokes, C receives 10 strokes, and D receives 15 strokes.

In mixed four-ball match play, strokes are taken as assigned on the players' respective stroke allocation table. The Committee in charge of the competition designates the tees to be played (see Section 9-3a).

(iv) Four-Ball Match Play vs. Par or Bogey
In four-ball match play vs. par or bogey, two play their better ball against par or bogey at each hole. The winner is the team who is most successful in the aggregate of holes. After handicap allowances are determined, Section 9-3c must be applied in competitions from different tees, or in competitions between men and women from the same tees.

Allowance: Men receive 90 percent of Course Handicap; Women receive 95 percent of Course Handicap.

Example: On men's side A-B, Player A with a Course Handicap of 10 would receive 9 strokes (10 x 90% = 9) and Player B with a Course Handicap of 16 would receive 14 strokes (16 x 90% = 14.4, rounded to 14). Strokes are taken as assigned on the players' respective stroke allocation table.

(v) Total Score of Partners Match Play
Two players form a side, and play their own ball. The combined total of their scores for each hole is the score recorded for the side. After handicap allowances are determined, Section 9-3c must be applied in competitions from different tees or in competitions between men and women from the same tees.

Allowance: The Course Handicap of all four players is reduced by the Course Handicap of the player with the lowest Course Handicap, who must then play from scratch. Each of the three other players is allowed 100 percent of the difference.

Example: Side A-B is comprised of Player A with a Course Handicap of 5 and Player B with a Course Handicap of 10. Side C-D is comprised of Player C with a Course Handicap of 15 and Player D with a Course Handicap of 20. Player A plays at scratch, B receives 5 strokes, C receives 10 strokes, and D receives 15 strokes.

(vi) Best-Ball-of-Four Match Play vs. Par or Bogey
In best-ball-of-four match play vs. par or bogey, four play their best ball against par or bogey at each hole. The winner is the team that is most successful in the aggregate of holes. After handicap allowances are determined, Section 9-3c must be applied in competitions from different tees, or in competitions between men and women from the same tees.
Allowance: Men receive 80 percent of Course Handicap; Women receive 90 percent of Course Handicap.

Example: Men's side A-B-C-D with a respective Course Handicap
of 5, 10, 15, and 20 would each receive 80 percent of their Course Handicap (4, 8, 12, and 16 respectively). Their best net ball of
the four would then be used to score vs. par or bogey. Strokes
are taken as assigned on the players' respective stroke
allocation table.

(vii) Foursome Match Play
In a foursome match, two play against two and each side plays one ball. In a foursome during any stipulated round the partners play alternately from the teeing grounds and alternately during the play of each hole ("The Rules of Golf," Definition of Foursome and Rule 29-1). After handicap allowances are determined, Section 9-3c(iii) must be applied in competitions from different tees, or in competitions between men and women from the same tees.

Allowance: The allowance for the higher-handicapped side is 50 percent of the difference between the combined Course Handicap of each side. (When selected drives are permitted, the allowance is 40 percent.) The lower handicapped side competes at scratch.

Example: Side A-B with a combined Course Handicap of 15 competes against side C-D with a combined Course Handicap of 36. The higher handicapped side, C-D, receives 11 strokes (36 - 15 = 21 x 50% = 10.5 rounded to 11). Strokes are taken as assigned on the players' respective stroke allocation table.

(viii) Foursome Match Play vs. Par or Bogey
In foursome match play vs. par or bogey, a match is played against par or bogey. The winner is the side that is most successful in the aggregate of holes. After handicap allowances are determined, Section 9-3c(iii) must be applied in competitions from different tees, or in competitions between men and women from the same tees.

Allowance: The allowance is 50 percent of the partners' combined Course Handicap. (When selected drives are permitted, the allowance is 40 percent.)

Example: On side A-B, Player A has a Course Handicap of 5 and Player B has a Course Handicap of 10. Side A-B receives 8 strokes
(15 x 50% = 7.5, rounded to 8). Strokes are taken as assigned on the players' respective stroke allocation table.

(ix) Chapman or Pinehurst Match Play
In a Chapman or Pinehurst match, two play against two. Each partner plays from the teeing ground, but plays the partner's ball for the second shot. After the second shot, partners select the ball with which they wish to score, and play that ball alternately to complete the hole. After handicap allowances are determined, Section 9-3c(iii) must be applied in competitions from different tees, or in competitions between men and women from the same tees.

Allowance: The partner with the lower Course Handicap receives 60 percent of Course Handicap. The partner with the higher Course Handicap receives 40 percent of Course Handicap. The side with the higher Course Handicap receives the difference between the Course Handicap of each side. The lower-handicapped side plays from scratch.

Example: Side A-B is comprised of Player A with a Course Handicap of 5 and Player B with a Course Handicap of 10. Player A (5 x 60% = 3) + Player B (10 x 40% = 4) = 7 strokes for side A-B (3 + 4 = 7). Side C-D is comprised of Player C with a Course Handicap of 14 and Player D with a Course Handicap of 17. Player C (14 x 60% = 8.4 rounded to 8) + Player D (17 x 40% = 6.8 rounded to 7) = 15.

Side A-B plays at scratch and Side C-D receives one stroke per hole on the first 8 allocated handicap-stroke holes.

b. Stroke Play

The competitor who plays the stipulated round or rounds in the fewest net strokes is the winner ("The Rules of Golf," 3-1). After handicap allowances are determined, Section 9-3c must be applied in competitions from different tees, or in competitions between men and women from the same tees.

(i) Individual Stroke Play
Allowance: Each competitor receives full Course Handicap (A plus Course Handicap must be added to the gross score to determine the net score.)

Example: Player A has a Course Handicap of 10 and scores 82. A's net score is 72. Player B has a Course Handicap of +2 and scores 70. Player B's net score is 72.

(ii) Four-Ball Stroke Play
In four-ball stroke play, two competitors play as partners, each playing their own ball. The lower of the partners' scores is the score for the hole ("The Rules of Golf," Rule 31 and Definition of Four Ball). After handicap allowances are determined, Section 9-3c must be applied in competitions from different tees, or in competitions between men and women from the same tees.

Allowance: Men receive 90 percent of Course Handicap; Women receive 95 percent of Course Handicap.

Example 1: On men's side A-B, Player A has a Course Handicap of 5 and Player B has a Course Handicap of 20. At 90 percent of Course Handicap, Player A receives 5 strokes (5 x 90% = 4.5, rounded to 5) and Player B receives 18 strokes (20 x 90% = 18).

In mixed four-ball stroke play, strokes are taken as assigned on the players' respective stroke allocation table, and players must play from the sets of tees designated by the Committee in charge of the competition.

Example 2: If men are playing the middle tees and women are playing the forward tees, strokes must be taken by men as they are allocated from the middle tees and by women as they are allocated from the forward tees.

Note: It is recommended that the Committee considers it a condition of four-ball stroke play competitions that the Course Handicap (after allowance) of the members of a side may not differ by more than eight strokes. A side with a large difference has an advantage over a side with a small Course Handicap difference. If a difference of more than eight strokes cannot be avoided, it is suggested that an additional 10 percent reduction be applied to the Course Handicap of each member of the advantaged side.

Example 3: In Example 1, there is more than an eight stroke difference between partners (after allowance, 18 - 5 = 13). Therefore, both players would then be reduced an additional 10 percent based on the rounded Course Handicap. Player A receives 5 strokes (5 x 10% = .5; 5 - .5 = 4.5, rounded to 5) and Player B receives 16 strokes (18 x 10% = 1.8; 18 - 1.8 = 16.2, rounded to 16.) Strokes are taken as assigned on the players' respective stroke allocation table.

(iii) Total Score of Partners Stroke Play
In total score of partners stroke play, two players form a side, and each plays their own ball. The combined total of the partner's scores for the round is the score for the side. After handicap allowances are determined, Section 9-3c must be applied in competitions from different tees, or in competitions between men and women from the same tees.

Allowance: Partners receive full combined Course Handicap.

Example: Player A has a Course Handicap of 12 and scores 87. Player B, A's partner, has a Course Handicap of 26 and scores 101. The team score is: (87 - 12) + (101 - 26) = 75 + 75 = 150.

(iv) Best-Ball-of-Four Stroke Play
In best-ball-of-four stroke play, four players play as a side, each playing their own ball. The lowest score of the side is the score for the hole. After handicap allowances are determined, Section 9-3c must be applied in competitions from different tees, or in competitions between men and women from the same tees.

Allowance: Men receive 80 percent of Course Handicap; Women receive 90 percent of Course Handicap.

Example: On a mixed side A-B-C-D (A,B men, C,D women), Player A with a Course Handicap of 8 receives 6 strokes (8 x 80% = 6.4, rounded to 6). Player B with a Course Handicap of 10 receives 8 strokes (10 x 80% =8). Player C with a Course Handicap of 12 receives 11 strokes (12 x 90% = 10.8, rounded to 11). Player D with a Course Handicap of 14 receives 13 strokes (14 x 90% = 12.6, rounded to 13).The lowest net score for each hole is then used to determine the overall score for the stipulated round. Strokes are taken as assigned on the players' respective stroke
allocation table.

(v) Two-Best-Balls-of-Four Stroke Play
In two-best-balls-of-four stroke play, four players each play their own ball and the two best balls on each hole is the score for the hole. After handicap allowances are determined, Section 9-3c must be applied in competitions from different tees, or in competitions between men and women from the same tees.

Allowance: Men receive 90 percent of Course Handicap; Women receive 95 percent of Course Handicap.

Example: On women's side A-B-C-D, Player A with a Course Handicap of 11 receives 10 strokes (11 x 95% = 10.45, rounded to 10). Player B with a Course Handicap of 16 receives 15 strokes (16 x 95% = 15.2, rounded to 15). Player C with a Course Handicap of 22 receives 21 strokes (22 x 95%= 20.9, rounded to 21). Player D with a Course Handicap of 35 receives 33 strokes (35 x 95% = 33.25, rounded to 33). Strokes are taken as assigned on the players' respective stroke allocation table.

(vi) Foursome Stroke Play
In foursome stroke play, two players form a side and the partners play one ball. The partners play alternately from the teeing grounds and alternately during the play of each hole ("The Rules of Golf," 29-1). After handicap allowances are determined, Section 9-3c(iii) must be applied in competitions from different tees, or in competitions between men and women from the same tees.

Allowance: The allowance is 50 percent of the partners' combined Course Handicap. When selected drives are permitted, the allowance is 40 percent. A plus combined Course Handicap side must be added to the gross score to determine the net score.

Example: On side A-B, Player A has a Course Handicap of 5 and Player B has a Course Handicap of 12. Side AB's combined Course Handicap is 17. Side A-B will receive 9 strokes (17 x 50% = 8.5, rounded to 9).

(vii) Chapman or Pinehurst Stroke Play
In Chapman or Pinehurst stroke play, two players play as partners, each partner plays from the teeing ground and plays the partner's ball for the second shot. After the second shot, partners select the ball with which they wish to score and play that ball alternately to complete the hole. After handicap allowances are determined, Section 9-3c must be applied in competitions from different tees or in competitions between men and women from the same tees.

Allowance: The player with the lower Course Handicap is allowed 60 percent of Course Handicap. The player with the higher Course Handicap is allowed 40 percent of Course Handicap.

Example: On side A-B, Player A has a Course Handicap of 10 and Player B has a Course Handicap of 18. 60% of Player A's Course Handicap is 6 (10 x 60%) and 40% of Player B's Course Handicap is 7 (18 x 40% = 7.2, rounded to 7) so the total is 13. Side A-B will receive 13 strokes.

(viii) Stableford Competition
The scoring in Stableford competitions is made by points awarded in relation to a fixed score (usually par or net par) at each hole as shown below:

Section9-4_1


The winner is the competitor who scores the highest number of points ("The Rules of Golf," 32-1b). After handicap allowances are determined, Section 9-3c must be applied in competitions from different tees, or in competitions between men and women from the same tees.

Allowance: Players use full Course Handicap, and strokes are taken as they are allocated on the stroke allocation table.

Example: Player A has a Course Handicap of 16 in a Stableford competition based on net scores with par as the fixed score. Player A's gross score of 5 on a par 4 allocated as the 15th handicap-stroke hole results in a net score of 4 (par). Player A receives two points for the hole.

c. Course Handicap Allowance Table

The following table gives the adjusted Course Handicap for allowances recommended above.

Section9-4_2

 

9-5. How To Decide Ties In Handicap Competitions

("The Rules of Golf," Appendix I)

For reference purposes, a "side" is a player, or two or more players who are partners. A side is considered synonymous with the term "team."

Rule 33-6 empowers the Committee in charge of the competition to determine how and when a tie is decided. The decision should be published in advance.

The USGA recommends:

(i) Match Play
A match that ends all square should be played off hole by hole until one side wins a hole. The playoff should start on the hole where the match began. In a handicap match, handicap strokes should be allowed as in the stipulated round.

(ii) Stroke Play
In the event of a tie in a handicap stroke play competition a play-off with handicaps is recommended. The playoff may be over 18 holes or a smaller number of holes as specified by the Committee. It is recommended that any such playoff consist of at least three holes.

If the playoff is less than 18 holes and is a form of play where the stroke-hole allocation is not relevant, such as individual stroke play, the percentage of 18 holes to be played should be applied to the players' Course Handicap for the playoff. Fractions of one-half stroke or more should count as a full stroke; any lesser fraction should be disregarded.

Example 1: In an individual stroke play competition, A has a Course Handicap of 10 and B a Course Handicap of 7. If the Committee decides to conduct a nine-hole play-off (50 percent of 18 holes), A will deduct 5 strokes from his score B will deduct 4 from his score.

If the playoff is less than 18 holes and is a form of play where the stroke-hole allocation is relevant, such as four-ball stroke play and Stableford, handicap strokes should be taken as they were assigned for the competition, using the players' respective stroke allocation tables.

Example 2: In a four-ball stroke play competition, side A-B consists of A with a Course Handicap of 10 and B with a Course Handicap of 7 (after allowances). If the stroke hole allocation is assigned so that the odd stroke holes are allocated to the front nine and the even stroke holes are allocated to the back nine and the playoff is conducted over the back nine, A receives one stroke on the holes allocated 2, 4, 6, 8 and 10 (for five total strokes) and B receives one stroke on the holes allocated 2, 4, and 6 (for three total strokes).

(iii) Playoff Not Feasible; Matching Scorecards
If a playoff of any type is not feasible, matching scorecards is recommended. The method of matching cards should be announced in advance and should also provide what will happen if this procedure does not produce a winner. An acceptable method of matching cards is to determine the winner on the basis of the best score for the last nine holes. If the tying players have the same score for the last nine, determine the winner on the basis of the last six holes, last three holes and finally the 18th hole. If this method is used in a competition with a multiple tee start, it is recommended that the "last nine holes, last six holes, etc." is considered to be holes 10-18, 13-18, etc.

For competitions where the stroke-hole allocation is not relevant, such as individual stroke play, if the last nine, last six, last three holes card matching is used, one-half, one-third, one-sixth, etc. of the Course Handicap should be deducted from the score for those holes. Fractions of one-half stroke or more should count as a full stroke; any lesser fractions should be disregarded.

 

Section9-example3

 

Player E and F have an equal 18-hole net total.

Last nine holes: E: 11 x .5 = 5.5, rounded to 6. 40 - 6 = 34; F: 10 x .5 = 5. 39 - 5 = 34.

Last six holes: E: 11 x .33 = 3.63, rounded to 4. 25 (gross score for last six holes) - 4 = 21; F: 10 x .33 = 3.3, rounded to 3. 26 - 3 = 23. E wins the matching of cards.

In competitions where the stroke hole allocation is relevant, such as four-ball stroke play, match play, match play vs. par or bogey and Stableford, handicap strokes should be taken as they were assigned for the competition, using the players' respective stoke allocation tables.

Example 4: In a four-ball stroke play competition, if the Committee decides to match scorecards for the last nine holes, it would determine each side's score for the last nine holes using the lower partner's net scores for each hole. This method results in a tie at 34. Side A-B has a score of 23 for the last six holes, C-D a score of 21, thus C-D win the match of score cards.

 

Section9-example4

 

 

 

 

 

 

Partner Links
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Chevron
   

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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