Additional Decisions Regarding Definitions of a Golf Club

Section 2 - Decisions

2/1. Clarification of Term "Golf Club" 

Q: Membership in a golf organization is open to any player living within a large geographic area. In general, the members play at different golf facilities within the area, and do not normally play golf with one another. Only a small percentage of the members ever compete together. Is this organization a "golf club" within the meaning of the term in Section 2? 

A: No. Section 2 states that in order for an organization to be considered a golf club, "members must have a reasonable and regular opportunity to play golf with each other." 

2/2. Issuance of Handicaps by Association to Member of Unqualified Golf Club 

Q: The golf organization described in Handicap Decision 2/1 joins a golf association which is authorized to issue a USGA Handicap Index®. Is the association entitled to issue an Index to the members of this organization? 

A: No. 

2/3. Issuance of USGA Handicap Index® by Association of Members of Unqualified Golf Club Formed by Association 

Q: Membership in a golf organization formed by an authorized state golf association is open to any golfer in the state who is not affiliated with a member club of the association. The purpose of the organization is to make handicaps available to such golfers. Members of this organization are eligible for competitions conducted by the association. May the handicaps produced for members of this organization be termed "USGA Handicap Index"? 

A: No-see Handicap Decision 2/1. 

2/4. Club Members at a Driving Range Issued USGA Handicap Index® 

Q: May a driving range sell memberships to its customers in order to issue a USGA Handicap Index? 

A: No. Hitting balls at the same driving range does not provide the opportunity to play golf together as required in the definition of a golf club. 

2/5. Golf Club Composed of Company Employees 

Q: A group of 52 employees of our company formed a golf club. The members work at the same office and play in a weekly league after work. We have by-laws based on the USGA® sample " By-Laws For A Club Without Real Estate " with officers and meetings. A Handicap Committee has been formed and Handicap Reports are posted on a bulletin board for all to see. Scores are personally posted by the members and reviewed by the Handicap Committee. All other requirements of the USGA Handicap System™ are followed. Is this group a "golf club" for purposes of the USGA Handicap System so that it can issue Handicap Indexes to its members? 

A: Yes. Peer Review standards are being met as members have a reasonable and regular opportunity to play golf with each other, as well as review scores posted and the Handicap Committee has the reasonable opportunity to provide its necessary peer review oversight requirements set forth in Section 8. 

Decision 2/6. Organization Recruiting Members through Advertisement

Q: An organization places an advertisement in a public newspaper or on a web site inviting golfers to join a group that it calls a "golf club." The golfer is asked to sign up, at the web site or by mail, and pay via the web site or by mail. Members are invited to play in tournaments held frequently and handicap reports and scoring records are displayed on a web site or mailed to each member on revision dates. Members generally post scores via the internet. In return, the golfer will receive a Handicap Index®. Can this organization meet the USGA Handicap System™ definition of a "golf club" and can it issue golfers Handicap Indexes?

A: Yes. See the definition of golf club (Section 2), specifically category 3. The existence of an "advertisement", by itself, does not stop a group from being a golf club. All portions of the golf club definition must be met, the golf club must follow all aspects of the compliance checklist (See Section 8-2m), and the club must comply with all sections of the USGA Handicap System, including the clarifications listed in Decision 2/7. (Revised) 

Decision 2/6.5 Effect of Advertising on Golf Club Type

Q: Can a golf club that currently exists as a Type 1 or Type 2 club advertise for the purposes of adding unaffiliated golfers? If so, could this action cause the club to become a Type 3 club?

A: Nothing prohibits any golf club from advertising for members. As long as only a relatively small minority of the club members join as a result of advertising, the club type would not be affected. (NEW)

Decision 2/6.7. Third Party Involvement in Membership Process

Q: A group of golf clubs gets together and advertises membership openings. A third party becomes involved and signs up individuals to become members of these clubs. Is this acceptable?

A: Each golf club's bylaws should provide how new members are approved. A third party may inform a golfer about the possibility of becoming a member of a particular golf club, but each individual golfer must complete the membership application process and be approved by the club. A proposed candidate for membership should not become a member of a club until these requirements are met. (NEW)


Decision 2/7. Clarification of Compliance/License Issues for Golf Club Categories Described in the Golf Club Definition

"Principal Location" (applies to types 2 and 3 only)

The principal location of a golf club shall be the physical address in the city or town which the club first identified in its application for a license to utilize the USGA Handicap System™. So long as the golf club is in existence, the principal location shall not be changed without the prior written consent of the authorized golf association of which the golf club is a member, or if the club is not a member of a golf association, of the USGA®. Members of a golf club who are issued a Handicap Index® must be from a small defined geographic area, i.e., the residence or business address of each member of the golf club must generally be within approximately a 50 mile radius of the principal location of the golf club.

"Identification" (applies to type 3 only)

Each individual must provide proof of identification and residence to the golf club in order to be a member of the Club.

"Playing Requirements and Club Size" (applies to type 3 only)

The USGA will consider the playing requirement met if each member returns at least three scores played with other club members during the season, and at least one of those rounds is played in a club sponsored event. Anyone not meeting this minimum requirement should be dropped from the handicap rolls.

A golf club's size is limited: If membership in a club exceeds the number of available tee times offered in club sponsored events, the playing requirements cannot be met. For example, if a club has 200 members and conducts only eight organized events with a maximum of 15 players each, not all members will have played in a club sponsored event.

"Group Cohesion/Activities" (applies to all types)

In order to be able to utilize the USGA Handicap System, the golf club must have group cohesion. Group activities should go beyond playing in tournaments. There should be a group orientation policy and other functions, such as group meetings, award banquets and the like.

"Contact Information" (applies to all types)

Contact information for each member of the golf club must be made readily available to all members. (NEW)


Decision 2/8. Clarification of Reasonable and Regular Opportunity to Play Golf with Each Other

Q: Parts of the definitions of a Golf Club and Peer Review state, "providing a reasonable and regular opportunity for members of a golf club to play golf with each other ." Would this requirement be satisfied by being on the same golf course, but not together within groups?

A: No. In order to gain an understanding of a player's potential ability and to form a reasonable basis for supporting or disputing a score that has been posted, a player needs to have played in the group with a fellow member. Merely being on the same golf course on the same day is not considered adequate for peer review to take place, as stated in the definitions of "peer review" and "golf club". (NEW)