Golf Clubs Using USGA Handicap System Must Be Licensed By 2006
February 23, 2005E-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Far Hills, N.J. -- All golf clubs currently using the USGA Handicap SystemT will be required to be licensed by the United States Golf Association by Jan. 1, 2006, in order to continue to provide a USGA Handicap Index®.
"The USGA Handicap System is used by more than five million golfers around the world," said Jim Vernon, chairman of the USGA Handicap Committee.
"By adopting this licensing policy, we are trying to accomplish several things. First, we want to ensure the integrity of the USGA Handicap System by promoting uniform and consistent usage of it. Second, we want to demonstrate to golfers the value in having a bona fide USGA Handicap Index compared with others that are not. Finally, we hope to promote increased knowledge of the system among club officials, who will in turn be able to provide enhanced service to golfers at the grassroots level. We feel this licensing system will help us accomplish all of these goals."
The licensing process will require clubs to provide information demonstrating their full compliance with the entire USGA Handicap System. Such compliance will include, but not be limited to, meeting the definition of a golf club and satisfactorily completing a checklist furnished by the USGA.
One of the items on this compliance list will require a representative of the club to attend a USGA Handicap System seminar taught by the USGA or an authorized golf association at least once during each four-year compliance period. The attendee must pass a test exhibiting a general level of knowledge regarding the system at the end of the seminar.
All clubs must contact an authorized golf association to initiate the licensing process, even if they are not member clubs of such an association. The handicap section of the USGA Web site located at www.usga.org contains a list of authorized associations.
Information outlining this new policy in detail is posted within the handicap section of the USGA Web site. This material will also become part of the USGA Handicap System manual upon its next revision, effective Jan. 1, 2006, through Dec. 31, 2007.
Beginning in the first quarter of 2005, the USGA Web site will display a list of clubs that have successfully completed the licensing process. On Jan. 1 (2006), this listing will become the definitive directory of clubs authorized to used The System.
As of 2006, a club must be on the list to continue to issue a Handicap Index to a member. The USGA invites tournament administrators and handicap chairmen to consult this list to help them determine whether a golfer possesses a valid USGA Handicap Index.
Licensing of clubs will require renewal during each cycle of the USGA Handicap System manual. The next cycle, as mentioned previously, will last from 2006-2007. The USGA will consider participation in a USGA Handicap Seminar from 2002 forward as satisfying the seminar attendance requirement through 2006-2007.
From that point forward, each USGA Handicap System manual cycle will last four years and coincide with the Quadrennial Rules Conference process for the Rules of Golf (2008-2011, for example).
The USGA Handicap System and the related USGA Course Rating System are used by more than 20,000 golf clubs and 170 golf associations in nearly 50 countries around the world. Those systems make golf one of the few games in which players of differing abilities regularly and fairly compete with one another.
Questions may be directed to Kevin O'Connor, USGA senior director of handicapping, at (908) 234-2300.