Calling All Snowbirds October 14, 2015 | Far Hills, N.J. By USGA

When winter strikes, golfers in certain parts of the country hibernate during the frigid months. Others, commonly known as “snowbirds,” escape the blustery climate to more inviting temperatures. These lucky “birds” not only enjoy the sunshine, but they continue to play multiple rounds of golf while the rest of the nation experiences below-freezing temperatures – creating a unique situation for handicap posting purposes.

To account for these different approaches, the USGA Handicap System™ has implemented the “Active” and “Inactive” season schedule. How does it work? An inactive season means that scores made at any golf course during that designated period are not accepted for handicap purposes.

On the flip side, to bring the “snowbirds” into play, scores made at a golf course in an area observing an active season must be posted for handicap purposes, even if the golf club from which the player receives their Handicap Index® from is currently in an inactive period.  

With that in mind, let’s cover a few guidelines for properly maintaining a scoring record:

  • Often times, golfers who relocate seasonally are also members at another golf club, which is separate from their home state. Thus, these players are considered multi-members.

  • If a golfer is a member at more than one golf club, they should be registered as a multi-member with the authorized golf association or computation service in use. Doing so will ensure that all scores at every club will be entered into a player’s scoring record, especially those made during an inactive/active season.
  • Multi-members must post their scores to multiple scoring records to ensure that their Handicap Index is a correct representation of their potential ability. (This means all clubs where a Handicap Index is maintained). Failure to post all acceptable scores at all clubs will produce a Handicap Index that is not based on the player’s best 10 Handicap Differentials™ of the last 20 scores.

To verify which season a golf club is currently observing, check out the Handicap Active and Inactive Season Schedule or reach out to the authorized golf association within your jurisdiction.

FAQ: Posting a Score during an Inactive Season