Definition 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 (including a Handicap Committee) to supervise golf activities, provide peer review, and maintain the integrity of the USGA Handicap System (see Compliance Checklist, Section 8-2m; Decision 2/7). A golf club must be licensed by the USGA® to utilize the USGA Handicap System. A club can obtain a license agreement directly from the USGA or through its membership in an authorized golf association that is already licensed by the USGA and that has jurisdiction in the geographic area that includes the principal location of the golf club.

Each golf club must determine its type. A golf club is one of three (3) types:

  1. It is located at a single specific golf course with a valid USGA Course RatingT and USGA Slope Rating® where a majority of the club's events are played and the club's scoring records reside; or
  2. Its members are affiliated or known to one another via a business, fraternal, ethnic or social organization. The majority of the club members had an affiliation prior to organizing the club; or
  3. The members had no prior affiliation and a majority of the recruiting and sign-up of the membership is done by solicitation to the general public (e.g., Internet, newspaper).

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. ( NEW )

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 scores made at home and away? (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 principles of 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 · Ensure that all acceptable scores are entered correctly? (Section 5-2)    
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 the golf club 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 license 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.

Additional Decisions regarding Definitions of a Golf Club



Partner Links
AmEx image
AmEx image
AmEx image
AmEx image
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.


Chevron image
Rolex
   

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.



Rolex image
IBM
   

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

AmEx image
Lexus
   

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/

AmEx image
American Express
   

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


AmEx image