5 Things to Know: Fall Golf and World Handicap System October 20, 2020 | Liberty Corner, N.J. By Terry Benjamin, USGA

Fall golf has its challenges but players can still post 9- and 18-hole scores by completing seven and 14 holes, respectively. (USGA/Darren Carroll)

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Although October signals that the end of the golf season is approaching for many golfers in the United States, there may still be plenty of opportunities to post scores toward your Handicap Index® before putting the clubs back in storage. Here are five things to know about fall golf and the World Handicap System:

  1. Struggling to finish your round due to the sun setting earlier and earlier each day? As long as you play 7 holes, you can still post a 9-hole score. If you get through 14 holes, an 18-hole score can be posted. The score for any unplayed holes is par plus any handicap strokes you receive based on your Course Handicap™.

  2. Playing in tough conditions? You may see the Playing Conditions Calculation (PCC) come into play more often than you did during the summer. The PCC compares the actual scores made each day to the expected scores of the players who made them – and if the scores are significantly higher (or lower) than expected, an adjustment to each players’ Score Differential™ is automatically applied. Just remember, at least 8 scores must be posted at a particular course on the day of play for the PCC to be calculated – so encourage your friends to post their scores as soon as possible!

  3. Are preferred lies in effect due to wet and soggy conditions? Don’t worry, you can still post your score. The Handicap Committee at the club should make this determination each day, so check with the pro shop before teeing it up.

  4. Were the greens recently aerated? If so, unless the Handicap Committee decides to temporarily suspend score posting due to poor putting surfaces, putt it out. The use of an “automatic two-putt” is not acceptable for handicap purposes.

  5. Squeezing in a few final match-play rounds this season? Match-play scores are acceptable for score posting. On the holes you don’t hole out, simply record your most likely score for the hole – keeping in mind your most likely score cannot exceed your net double bogey limit.

For more information or to learn more about the World Handicap System, visit www.usga.org/whs.

Terry Benjamin is an assistant manager for USGA Handicapping education and special projects. Email him at tbenjamin@usga.org.