2.1 Acceptability of Scores

A score is acceptable for handicap purposes if the round has been played:

In addition, the player’s score must always be certified in accordance with the Rules of Handicapping (see Rule 4.4 Certification of a Score).

If one or more of the requirements set out above is not met, the score is not acceptable for handicap purposes.

Rule 2.1 Interpretations:

2.1/1 – Score is Acceptable for Handicap Purposes Even If Holes Have Not Been Played in the Order Set by the Committee

Rule 5.1 of the Rules of Golf requires holes in a round to be played in the order set by either the Committee in charge of the competition or the Committee in charge of the golf course. However, a score is acceptable for handicap purposes even if the holes in a round have not been played in the order set by the Committee.

For example:

  • When the golf course is busy and starting at an alternative hole will allow a quicker pace of play.
  • When playing holes in a different order will allow more players to complete their rounds, particularly during periods when daylight is limited.

2.1/2 – Status of Scores Made When Match Play and Stroke Play Formats are Played Concurrently

When a player competes in a match while also playing in a stroke play round and both are authorized formats of play, the stroke play score is the score that should be submitted for handicap purposes. The match play score should not be submitted.

2.1/3 – Returning Scores for Handicap Purposes While Playing on Temporary Greens or Tees

The Authorized Association should determine whether scores made under temporary course conditions are acceptable for handicap purposes. The Authorized Association should also determine whether a temporary modification to the Course Rating and Slope Rating is required to reflect the temporary changes (see Appendix G: The Golf Course, Course Rating and Slope Rating).

2.1a Played in an Authorized Format of Play

Authorized formats of play are:

Format of Play Type of Round Number of Holes
Individual stroke play

Organized competition

9

18

General play

9

18

Stableford — organized competition

9

18

Stableford — general play

9

18

Par/Bogey — organized competition

9

18

Par/Bogey — general play

9

18

Maximum Score — organized competition

9

18

Maximum Score — general play

9

18

Four-Ball stroke play

Organized competition

9

18

General play

9

18

Stableford — organized competition

9

18

Stableford — general play

9

18

Par/Bogey — organized competition

9

18

Par/Bogey — general play

9

18

Maximum Score — organized competition

9

18

Maximum Score — general play

9

18

Individual match play

Organized competition

9

18

General play

9

18

Four-Ball match play

Organized competition

9

18

General play

9

18

    (i) Round Played Within a Player’s Jurisdiction. Subject to other provisions set out within the Rules of Handicapping, an acceptable score from an authorized format of play within a player’s home jurisdiction must be submitted for handicap purposes (see Diagram 2.1a).

    (ii) Round Played Outside a Player’s Jurisdiction. Subject to other provisions set out within the Rules of Handicapping:
    • A score from an authorized format of play within the jurisdiction where the round was played is acceptable for handicap purposes and must be submitted, even if the format of play is not authorized in a player’s home jurisdiction.
    • A score from a format of play that is unauthorized within the jurisdiction where the round was played, but is an authorized format of play within the player’s home jurisdiction, is acceptable for handicap purposes and must be submitted.
    • A score from a format of play that is unauthorized within both the jurisdiction where the round was played and within the player’s home jurisdiction is not acceptable for handicap purposes and must not be posted to the player’s scoring record.

    (See Diagram 2.1a.)

Rule 2.1a Interpretations:

2.1a/1 – Scores Not Acceptable for Handicap Purposes

Some formats of play and scores played under certain restricted Terms of the Competition are not acceptable for handicap purposes and must not be posted to a player’s scoring record.

The following illustrative list is not exhaustive and if a player is in doubt as to the acceptability of a score, it is recommended that they check with the golf club where they are playing or the Authorized Association.

2.1b Played by the Rules of Golf

A round must be played by the Rules of Golf to be acceptable for handicap purposes, subject to the following:

    (i) Organized Competitions. In a situation where a player is disqualified from a competition for a breach of the Rules of Golf, but no significant scoring advantage has been gained, the score should remain acceptable for handicap purposes.

    If a player is disqualified from a competition for any other breach of the Rules of Golf, the score is not acceptable for handicap purposes.

    The final determination is at the discretion of the Committee, based on the circumstances.

    (ii) General Play. When an organized competition is not being contested, a score is not acceptable for handicap purposes if the player:
    • Breaches the Rules of Golf and the correct penalty is not applied under the Rules of Golf, or
    • Deliberately ignores a Rule of Golf.

    Where a player follows the provisions set down in a Model Local Rule, even when the Committee in charge of the course has not adopted that Model Local Rule, the score may still be acceptable for handicap purposes. The same situation applies where a player is in breach of a Model Local Rule that has been adopted by the Committee.

    Examples of situations relating to Model Local Rules where a score might be acceptable for handicap purposes include:

    • A player has proceeded under the alternative option to the stroke and distance relief procedure, despite this Model Local Rule not being in effect, or
    • The player has used a distance-measuring device despite the Model Local Rule prohibiting their use being in effect.

    The final determination is at the discretion of the Committee, based on the circumstances.

Rule 2.1b Interpretations:

2.1b/1 – Examples of When Player Has Been Disqualified From a Competition, But Gained No Significant Scoring Advantage

The Committee has the discretion to accept a score for handicap purposes if a player is disqualified from a competition, but no significant scoring advantage has been gained.

Examples of situations where a Committee may consider that no significant scoring advantage has been gained include:

Rule of Golf Nature of Disqualification Recommended Action for Handicap Purposes

3.3b(1)/(2)

Scorecard not signed

Accept score

3.3b(2)

Scorecard not returned promptly

Accept score

3.3b(3)

Hole score entered on scorecard is lower than actual score

Accept adjusted score

3.3b(4)

Handicap on scorecard is missing or too high

Add or adjust handicap and accept score

2.1b/2 – Examples of When Player Has Been Disqualified From a Competition for an Action That Would Have Provided a Significant Scoring Advantage

Examples of situations where a Committee may determine that a player has gained a significant scoring advantage include:

Rule of Golf Nature of Disqualification Recommended Action for Handicap Purposes

1.3b

Players deliberately agree to ignore a Rule or penalty they know applies

Score not acceptable

4.1a

Making a stroke with a non-conforming club

Score not acceptable

4.3a(1)

Using a distance-measuring device that measures elevation changes

Score not acceptable

2.1b/3 – Hole Not Played by The Rules of Golf in General Play

Where a player has breached the Rules of Golf in general play and knowingly failed to apply the correct penalty, the score should not be accepted for handicap purposes. However, in some circumstances, individual hole score(s) may be adjusted to a net double bogey to produce an acceptable score.

If the Handicap Committee determines that the player is using the net double bogey adjustment to gain an unfair scoring advantage, the Handicap Committee must take action under Rule 7 of the Rules of Handicapping.