Adjusting Your Score

The USGA introduced a simple, straightforward, and easy-to-remember procedure to adjust scores under Equitable Stroke Control.

Equitable Stroke Control sets a maximum number that a player can post on any hole depending on the player's Course Handicap.

Equitable Stroke Control

Course Handicap Maximum Number Posted on Any Hole
9 or less Double Bogey
10 through 19 7
20 through 29 8
30 through 39 9
40 or more 10

For example, Uncle Snoopy and Wood-stock played a match at Beagle Haven Country Club from the beagle tees. Uncle Snoopy's USGA Handicap Index of 11.6 translated into a Course Handicap of 13; the chart above reveals that he was allowed a maximum number of 7 on any hole, when post-ing his score for handicap purposes. Woodstock's USGA Handicap Index of 18.4 gave him a Course Handicap of 20; he was allowed a maximum number of 8 on any hole.

Suppose one of these players picked up his ball after being out of a hole to speed up play? On the second hole, Woodstock picked up his ball two feet from the hole lying 5. His most likely score would have been 6. Woodstock jotted down an X-6; 6 is obviously less than 8, so he used 6 when posting his score for handicap purposes.

Both players had problems on the fourth hole. Woodstock made a 9, which he then adjusted to an 8 for posting purposes; Uncle Snoopy recorded a 10, which he adjusted back to a 7 when he posted his score.

Woodstock made a 3 on the fifth hole. Uncle Snoopy was close to the hole in 3. Since he was out of the hole, he picked up his ball to speed up play. His most likely score would have been 4, so he wrote down X-4 but didn't adjust because 4 is less than 7.

At the seventh hole, Woodstock holed a 40-foot putt for a 7 while Uncle Snoopy was 30 feet from the hole lying 7. Since Uncle Snoopy was out of the hole, he picked up his ball to speed up play. His most likely score would have been 9, so he jotted down an X-9 and adjusted it to his maximum number of 7 as he was required to do for posting his score.

There is no limit to the number of holes on which you can adjust your score. Just scan your scorecard and locate any holes where your score (either actual or probable) exceeds the maximum num-ber you are allowed. Then reduce those higher hole scores to your maximum number and post your adjusted gross score for handicap purposes.

For Nine-Holers Only

For those players with nine-hole handicaps, don't despair. The following chart lists the maximum number those players with nine-hole handicaps may post on any hole they play.

Nine-Hole Course Handicap Maximum Number on Any Hole
4 or less Double Bogey
5 through 9 7
10 through 14 8
15 through 19 9
20 or more 10

ESC is pretty simple, huh? Even a beagle like Uncle Snoopy finds it very easy to follow the ESC procedure, which speeds up play without altering most handicaps significantly.

Remember, all you are required to do is find the maximum number you're allowed on any hole based on your Course Handicap. If you pick up on a hole, write down the score you most likely would have made. After your round, scan your scorecard for any hole where your score (actual or probable) is higher than your maximum number. Next, reduce these scores to your maxi-mum number for handicap purposes. Post your adjusted gross score. That's all there is to understand about the ESC procedure!

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