Registrants received a packet of USGA Handicap materials at
the door, followed by a continental breakfast. Cindy Cooper, manager of handicap
& club licensing for the USGA who has conducted dozens of handicap seminars
since 2004, led the program.
The seminar focused on five major topics: calculating a Handicap
Index, competing from different Course Ratings, adjusting hole scores, the handicap
committee’s function at a golf club, and handicap allowances and allocation.
While much of Cooper’s presentation generated discussion,
certain topics warranted detailed explanation, particularly Section 3-5 of the USGA
Handicap Manual – Players Competing from Different Tees or Men and Women from
Common examples such as adjusting a Handicap Index for an
injured golfer, and players who perform better in tournaments were also popular
discussion points. Joined by Lee Rainwater, assistant manager of handicap and
Course Rating administration for the USGA, Cooper brought clarity to these
issues through PowerPoint presentations, hypothetical scenarios and role play.
One such scenario involved a registrant from one side of
the room explaining why his handicap should be adjusted due to higher scores
resulting from recent wrist surgery. The other side of the room played the role
of the handicap committee, which had to consider whether the injury could
permanently affect performance or if it could be reasonably expected that the
golfer would regain his previous form.
Richard Greenberg, the handicap committee chairman at
Woodmont Country Club in Rockville, Md., found the real-life scenarios
“I learn a lot more from interacting and seeing something
in person than from reading,” said Greenberg. “I thought she [Cooper] did a
great job and I definitely know a lot more than when I came in here this
Tasked with simplifying material that can be intimidating
to some, Cooper thinks the audience has gotten more knowledgeable since she
started moderating these seminars.
“I’ve seen a big difference in the level of education,”
she said. “You see a lot of people repeating the program who just have a better
overall knowledge of the system before they come through the door. The
questions are getting stronger and stronger – more intricate questions – as
opposed to, ‘How do I get a Handicap Index?’”
One such repeat attendee is Yolande Campbell, the handicap
committee chairman for the Southern Maryland Tri-County Chapter of the
Executive Women’s Golf Association, as well as the tournament director for
Wake-Robin Golf Club, the oldest African-American women’s golf club in the
United States. It was Campbell’s third USGA Handicap Seminar.
“I just like to stay up to date with all of the changes,”
she said. “It’s a good refresher course for me. It’s going to help me as far as
setting up courses for my tournaments and verifying a player’s Handicap Index.”
Cooper’s presentation lasted approximately four hours, taking
the seminar up to lunch time and quiz time. There was no reason to stress about
the quiz – it’s open-book, multiple-choice and short answer, and working in
groups is encouraged. Most importantly, ample time and reference materials are
In order to remain licensed by the USGA Handicap System Licensing
Program for Clubs™, a club representative must complete a handicap seminar before
the end of 2015.
Your state golf association is a good source of information
about upcoming handicap seminars. Matt Sloan, director of handicap & member
services for the Maryland State Golf Association, played an integral part in
attracting the large crowd to Chartwell. Although Maryland allows its clubs to
complete the certification process online, Sloan recommends the live
“I think the in-person interaction is much more helpful
for gathering information,” Sloan said. “They get to have questions answered that
they wouldn’t normally get to ask by doing it online. I think it’s really
helpful for the people representing their clubs and the golf professionals.”
The registration fee for a USGA Handicap Seminar is $40,
which includes reference materials, breakfast and lunch.
Flyntz is an associate writer for the USGA. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.