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Handicap Centennial

Posted: 10/18/2011

This month the USGA® will be celebrating the 100th anniversary of the USGA Handicap System™ with a centennial dinner at Baltusrol Golf Club in Springfield, N.J., the site where the Handicap System was officially adopted on Oct. 11, 1911.

Unlike any other sport, golf has a system in place that enables golfers of a wide range in playing ability to compete against one another on an equitable basis. The USGA Handicap System has evolved dramatically over the past 100 years. From a handicap that was based on a player’s three best scores and specific to the golf course where it was established, to the introduction of Slope Rating® and the portability of a Handicap Index®, the USGA Handicap System has evolved with the help of technology and the growing interest of the game of golf to the masses. 

No longer is the game of golf restricted to the wealthy. Golf is more accessible than ever before and, thanks to the USGA Handicap System, these players of varying ability are able to compete against one another on an equal playing field.

Not only is a Handicap Index used to create an equitable competition, but it is also used to measure an individual’s playing ability and is usually required as a qualifying condition for state, regional and national competitions. We are continually looking for ways in which the USGA Handicap System can evolve. For instance, the USGA Handicap Research Team consists of highly-skilled mathematicians who continually study different aspects of the USGA Handicap System and how it can be improved in addition to our authorized golf association, Committee, and public feedback, which is invaluable. For the next 100 years the USGA will continue to progress a system that is fair for all and one where players strive to reach their potential ability, For the Good of the Game®. 


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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.

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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.

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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

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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/

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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

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