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?
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
A: No-see Handicap Decision 2/1.
2/4. Club Members at a Driving Range Issued USGA Handicap
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
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
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
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
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
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
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".