Handicapping FAQs

Section 5

Playing Alone


  Can a score from a round played alone be posted? Are there any exceptions?


  Playing an entire round alone/unaccompanied doesn’t meet the definition of "peer review," which is essentially having a reasonable and regular opportunity to play golf with others and the ability to form a reasonable basis for supporting or disputing a score that has been posted. These scores are unacceptable.

It’s not considered playing alone when a player is accompanied during the round (e.g., fellow competitor, opponent, caddie, marker for a tournament, friend riding in golf cart). (Note: a player does not need to have a scorecard attested to verify it was an accompanied round.)

To clarify the exceptions, the player must be accompanied for at least seven holes to have an acceptable nine-hole score to post, or 13 holes for an 18-hole score. (This aligns with the “Scores to Post” procedure, here.) For the few holes played alone, the player would post according to “par plus” any handicap strokes the player may be entitled to receive (e.g., a player with a Course Handicap™ of 18 plays a par 4 alone so the score is “X-5.”). This usually occurs when a player starts or finishes a round alone—e.g., a player joins a group or a player forges ahead solo despite weather/lack of daylight, etc.

By not posting scores from solo rounds, peer review is strengthened, adding to the integrity to the USGA Handicap System™, and the value of a player’s Handicap Index®.

Please visit Section 5-1 of the USGA Handicap System manual, and this additional playing alone FAQ, for further reference.