Responsibilities at a Glance
Congratulations on being selected as a member of your golf club's
Handicap Committee! You have an important job because the authority of your club
to issue and update USGA Handicap Indexes rests with you.
The USGA Handicap Index is widely recognized in America and elsewhere as a reliable
measure of a player's potential ability. A player's Handicap Index is used for conversion
to a Course Handicap, which indicates the number of strokes a player receives from
a specific set of tees. Your Committee administers procedures of the USGA Handicap
System to make the game of golf enjoyable for all your members.
The role of the Handicap Committee in fair and equitable competition is critical.
Players at your club depend upon you to:
Your authorized golf association and the USGA have many
valuable resources available to help the Handicap Committee do its work.
- Know The USGA Handicap System
- Communicate the System to the players
- Faithfully apply the System at your club
Read The USGA Handicap System Manual
A detailed description of all aspects of the USGA Handicap System
is contained in
The USGA Handicap System Manual.
Copies can be purchased at a nominal price from your authorized golf association
or by contacting the USGA Order Department at Golf House, Far Hills, NJ 07931: 1-800-336-4446.
The authorization of your club to issue USGA HandÂicap Indexes to its members is
contingent upon following all of the procedures of the USGA Handicap System.
Call Your Authorized Golf Association
You can obtain answers to handicap-related questions from
your authorized golf association or the USGA Handicap Department (908-234-2300).
How well players continue to comply with the USGA Handicap
System depends, in large part, on how well their responsibilities in the System
are communicated to them. An effective Handicap Committee will continually provide
the instruction and information players need.
Send an Annual Notice
Send an annual notice to club members (or better yet hold a seminar!) before the
start of the season.
The notice should include information specific to your club, such as where
scores are to be returned, how handicap cards or labels are issued, when handicaps
are revised, the duration of any inactive season, and which scores are going to
be designated as tournament scores.
In addition, the notice should explain every player's fundamental responsibilities
in the USGA Handicap System:
The annual notice may be supplemented with copies of the booklet
entitled Uncle Snoopy Wants YOU to Know How to Use Your Handicap. Both are written
especially for the player and cover score recording, adjusting and posting. Copies
of the brochures are available at a nominal cost from your authorized golf association
or the USGA Order Department.
- how to adjust a gross score for handicap purposes;
- how to know if an adjusted score is acceptable for posting;
- how to post an adjusted score for all acceptable rounds including
- how to post an away score.
It should also include:
- a list of all the Handicap Committee's policies
- handicap adjustment powers of the Handicap Committee
- penalties for players failing to return scores.
Display Tables, Ratings, and Handicap Lists
Course Handicap Tables
A player needs to consult a Course Handicap Table in order
to convert his or her USGA Handicap Index to a Course Handicap for the tees being
played. The Tables, which are based on USGA Slope Ratings, are issued to golf clubs
by authorized golf associations. The Committee is responsible for posting these
Tables in the clubhouse and displaying copies on or near the first tee of every
course at the club.
USGA Course Rating and Slope Rating of the Club
The USGA Course Rating and Slope
Rating from every set of tee markers should be printed on the club's scorecard and
posted in a prominent place at the club, preferably by means of a poster certified
by the authorized golf association. A player needs to know these Ratings in order
to post a score. The Ratings, the date of play, the player's name or identification
number and the adjusted score (including the correct score type designation) constitute
a complete score entry for handicap purposes. The Ratings should also be easily
retrievable on the screen of a computer used for score posting.
Handicap Lists and Scoring Records
Each time USGA Handicap Indexes are revised,
a list of HandÂicap Indexes along with current scoring records of all players in
the club must be available for all members to see. It is preferable for one Committee
member or club employee to be responsible for players' records and keeping Handicap
Indexes up to date. Any errors or omissions in these lists can be identified to
the Handicap Committee for appropriate action.
An important job of the Handicap Committee is to ensure
that all acceptable scores for handicap purposes are posted and available for peer
Make Score Posting Easy
Generally, the place for returning scores from all courses, home and away, should
be convenient to make it as easy as possible for players to record every round played.
The posted scores must be readily accessible to all members for peer review. The
Handicap Committee may adopt a policy to accept scores returned by mail, facsimile,
internet, or e-mail. If a policy to accept scores by mail, facsimile or e-mail is
accepted, the Handicap Committee must designate an official(s) at the club who is
authorized to receive these scores.
Scores returned by mail, facsimile, internet, or e-mail must be exposed to the same
peer review as scores posted in person at the club. Scores may not be returned verbally over
Take Action In Case of Failure To Post
A USGA Handicap Index shall be adjusted up or down if the player does not turn in
all acceptable scores or otherwise does not observe the spirit of the USGA Handicap
System. The Handicap Committee determines the amount of adjustment.
It is equitable to enter the score and/or a penalty score when a player fails to
post a score. A penalty score is a score with the corresponding Ratings equal to
the lowest handicap differential in the player's scoring record used to compute
his or her last USGA Handicap Index. If the omitted score is unusually high, a penalty
score should equal the highest differential in the player's scoring record.
The manual explains these discretionary remedies. In case of a player's repeated
failure to comply with the USGA Handicap System, the Committee may withdraw the
player's Handicap Index.
Cooperate with Other Committees
The Handicap Committee should provide guidance to club officials and other club
- the allocation of handicap strokes to each hole on the course
according to USGA guidelines
- determination of par
- course set-up
- maintaining the playing difficulty of the course
- determining which scores are to be identified as tournament
scores for handicap purposes.
Also, the Handicap Committee should examine the results of competitions and take
appropriate action if net scores appear out of line.
There are many other responsibilities and recommended procedures of the Handicap
Committee. They are discussed in detail in The USGA Handicap System manual.
The USGA Handicap System manual contains all the rules and
regulations for the USGA Handicap System. The manual is updated and reissued every
four years. Be sure your Handicap Committee is relying on the latest edition.