Definition of a Golf Club

Additional Decisions regarding Definitions of a Golf Club

Section 2 of the USGA Handicap System™ defines a golf club as follows:

A "golf club" is an organization of at least ten individual members* that operates under bylaws with Committees (especially a Handicap Committee) to supervise golf activities, provide peer review, and maintain the integrity of the USGA Handicap System (see Club Compliance Checklist, Section 8-2m and Decision 2/7). A golf club must be authorized by the USGA to utilize the USGA Handicap System. A club can obtain authorization directly from the USGA or in conjunction with its membership in an authorized golf association that is already authorized by the USGA and that has jurisdiction in the geographic area that includes the principal location of the golf club. (See Appendix F.)

*For administrative reasons, some authorized golf associations may require a golf club to have more than the USGA minimum of ten members in order for the golf club to be a member of the authorized golf association.

Members of a golf club must have a reasonable and regular opportunity to play golf with each other. The Members’ scores must be posted as soon as practicable and be available for inspection by others, including, but not limited to, fellow members and the club's Handicap Committee.

A golf club is one of three (3) Types:

Type 1  The members of a Type 1 club are located at a single specific golf course with a valid USGA Course Rating and Slope Rating where a majority of the club's events are played and where the club's scoring records are accessible and demonstrate a frequency of play (see Decision 2/6.5) or

Type 2 The members of a Type 2 club are affiliated or known to one another via a business, fraternal, or social organization. The majority of the club members had an affiliation prior to organizing the club and have no affiliation to any one golf course or demonstrate frequency of play at a single specific golf course. The residence or business address of each member of the golf club must generally be within approximately 75 miles of the principal location of the golf club. ; or

Type 3 The members of a Type 3 club had no prior affiliation, and a majority of the recruiting and sign up of the membership is done by solicitation to the public (e.g., newspaper, Internet) and where the members do not exhibit any regularity of play at any specific golf course. The residence or business address of each member of the golf club must generally be within approximately 50 miles of the principal location of the golf club.

Note: Within the context of the USGA Handicap System, a member is defined as one who is affiliated with an authorized golf club for the purpose of obtaining a Handicap Index. A club’s type should be determined at the local club level. Where clarification of a golf club type is needed, the authorized golf association or the USGA will make the final determination as to the club type.

 

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 SystemT. 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.  

Club Compliance Checklist

DOES THE GOLF CLUB   YES NO
1 Meet the USGA definition of a golf club?    
2 Have a Handicap Committee composed mostly of members and chaired by a member? (Section 8-1)    
3 Make it possible for a player to record the correct USGA Course Rating and Slope Rating with each posted score from every set of tees? (Sections 5-2, 8-2b, and 8-4c)    
4 Require the posting of all acceptable scores? (Section 5-1)    
5 Require use of USGA procedures to adjust hole scores before posting? (Section 4)    
6 Require that nine-hole scores be posted? (Section 5-2c and 5-2d)    
7 Insist that the Rules of Golf be followed? (Section 5-1d)    
8 Follow the National Revision Schedule and posting season of the Authorized Golf Association having jurisdiction in the region? (Section 8-3a and 8-3b)    
9 Have a representative from the golf club complete an annual club compliance and education assessment?
   
10 Perform computations and adjustments in accordance with the USGA Handicap Formula? (Sections 8-4 and 10)    
11 Make current scoring records and a Handicap Index listing of all members readily available for inspection by others? (Section 6-3)    
12 Reduce or increase a Handicap Index of any player whose Handicap Index does not reflect the player’s potential ability? (Section 8-4c)    
13 Notify an Authorized Golf Association when permanent changes have been made to the golf course so that the association can issue a new USGA Course Rating and Slope Rating? (Section 14-5b)    
14 Include the letter “L” after local handicaps, which exceed the USGA maximum limits of 36.4 for men and 40.4 for women? (Section 3-4)    
15 Utilize the current USGA Course Rating and Slope Rating issued by an Authorized Golf Association? (Section 14)    
16 Have a representative from all new golf clubs participate in a USGA Handicap System Seminar (whether conducted by the USGA or an Authorized Golf Association) including passing a test exhibiting knowledge about the System?    
17 Have a signed authorization agreement in place with a local Authorized Golf Association or the USGA prior to issuing a Handicap Index?    

 

 

If the answer to all questions is “yes,” the golf club is following the USGA Handicap System and may issue a Handicap Index.

 

If any answers are “no,” the Authorized Golf Association or the USGA should be contacted to determine necessary action to achieve compliance.