The Low Handicap Index represents the demonstrated ability of a player over the 365-day period preceding the day on which the most recent score in their scoring record was played and provides a reference point against which the current Handicap Index can be compared.
Once a player has established a Low Handicap Index, it is re-evaluated every time a new acceptable score is submitted and must be displayed in the player’s scoring record.
Rule 5.7 Interpretations:
5.7/1 – Circumstances When a Player’s Low Handicap Index Becomes More Than 365 Days Old
Rule 5.7 states that a player’s Low Handicap Index may become more than 365 days old in the period between two rounds being played. As a result, a Low Handicap Index that is more than 365 days old may still be considered in the calculation of a player’s Handicap Index.
After submitting a score on 1 January 2021, a player’s Handicap Index calculates at 12.3. Their Low Handicap Index at the time is 10.6, established on 1 March 2020.
When the player submits their next score on 1 April 2021, the Low Handicap Index of 10.6 will still be considered in the calculation of their updated Handicap Index even though it is more than 365 days old. This is because the 365-day timeframe precedes the date on which the most recent score on the player’s scoring record was played, which in this case is the period between 1 January 2021 and 1 January 2020. Once their updated Handicap Index is calculated, the new Low Handicap Index will be found within the 365-day period between 1 April 2021 and 1 April 2020.
5.7/2 – Circumstance When the Low Handicap Index is the Current Handicap Index
After submitting a score on 1 April 2021, a player takes a break from golf and does not submit another score until 1 July 2022. In calculating the player’s updated Handicap Index, the player’s Low Handicap Index in the 365 days preceding 1 April 2021 is used as a reference point.
The player then plays another round on 1 August 2022, and the 365-day period preceding 1 July 2022 is used to locate the player’s Low Handicap Index, but no other scores have been submitted during that timeframe. Therefore, in this situation, the player’s current Handicap Index becomes their Low Handicap Index.