7.1 Handicap Committee

7.1a Conducting a Handicap Review and Adjusting a Handicap Index

    (i) Conducting a Handicap Review.The Handicap Committee should conduct a review of a player’s Handicap Index using the process set out in Appendix D: Handicap Review.
    • The Handicap Committee has discretion to conduct a handicap review at any time. However, it is strongly recommended that the Handicap Committee conducts a review at least annually, for all members who have designated that golf club as their home club.
    • A handicap review may also be conducted at the request of the player or another player at any time.
    • Before making any adjustment to a player’s Handicap Index, the Handicap Committee should carefully consider all available evidence, including:
      • Whether the player’s scoring potential has been affected by a temporary or permanent injury, illness or disability which is significant enough to impact the player’s ability to play with or against all other players on a fair and equitable basis.
      • Any handicap(s) previously held by the player.
      • Whether the player’s ability is rapidly improving or declining.
      • Whether the player's performance is significantly different in one format of play compared to another, for example between organized competitions and general play; unauthorized and authorized format of play.
      • Where it has been determined that a player’s actions are for the purpose of gaining an unfair advantage.
    (ii) Adjusting a Handicap Index. In considering all of the available evidence, the Handicap Committee must decide the most appropriate course of action for any adjustment to a player’s Handicap Index, which can be either:
    • Resetting the Handicap Index by applying an adjustment to each of the most recent 20 Score Differentials in the scoring record, to achieve the chosen Handicap Index that is determined to better reflect the player's demonstrated ability.
      • This will allow for the Handicap Index to be updated as new scores are posted.

      • If fewer than 20 scores are recorded on a player’s scoring record the adjustment is applied to all recorded Score Differentials.

      • The Handicap Committee can remove the adjustment at any time if the adjustment is determined to no longer be warranted.

    Or

    • Freezing the Handicap Index at a level selected by the Handicap Committee for a defined period of time.
      • During this period, a player’s Handicap Index will not be updated as new scores are posted unless the Handicap Committee has determined to freeze only against upward movement.
      • The Handicap Committee can remove the freeze upon the Handicap Index at any time and the scores in the player’s scoring record will be used to calculate the player’s Handicap Index.

Any adjustment to a player’s Handicap Index resulting from a handicap review must:

  • Be applied only after the player has been informed and has had an opportunity to respond to the Handicap Committee or, where appropriate, the Authorized Association. The player must have recourse to an appeals procedure, if requested.
  • Be a minimum of 1 stroke, upward or downward.
  • Only increase a player’s Handicap Index by up to 5.0 strokes above the player’s Low Handicap Index, unless there are exceptional circumstances. Such circumstances could include a player who has a long-term illness or injury preventing them from playing golf at the level previously attained.

Rule 7.1a Clarifications:

7.1a/1 – Resetting a Player’s Handicap Index by Adjusting the Most Recent 20 Score Differentials

Applying an adjustment to each of the most recent 20 Score Differentials in the player’s scoring record will ensure that the impact of the adjustment remains after the next score is submitted, gradually diluting the impact of the adjustment as more scores are submitted.

As an example, a player has a Handicap Index of 10.3 and the Handicap Committee decides to adjust this to 9.3 because recent scores suggest that the player is rapidly improving.

Using this example, the Handicap Committee would apply a -1 adjustment to each of the most recent 20 Score Differentials and the impact of this adjustment on the final calculation is illustrated in the tables below:

 

7.1a/2 – Basis of Handicap Committee-Applied Adjustment For a Player Impacted by Illness or Injury

The Handicap Committee may consider adjusting a player’s Handicap Index if their ability has been impacted by a prolonged period of ill health, injury or temporary disability. Such an adjustment can only be made after one or more acceptable scores have subsequently been submitted. In determining the level of any adjustment, the Handicap Committee should take into consideration the scores submitted compared to their previous Handicap Index and the nature and severity of the player's condition.

After a number of scores have been submitted and it becomes evident that the player's condition has caused a permanent change to their ability, it may be appropriate to disregard the player’s scoring record and allocate a Handicap Index using only the scores submitted since the illness, injury or temporary disability occurred (see Rule 5.2a For Fewer Than 20 Scores).

7.1b Posting a Missing Score or Penalty Score

    (i) Reason for Not Submitting a Score

    In a situation where a player fails to submit a score from an authorized format of play, the Handicap Committee has the authority to determine whether the player’s reason for not submitting the score was justified and take appropriate action.

    Failure to submit a score for reasons the Handicap Committee may consider to be justified include, but are not limited to, unforeseen events such as sudden injury, illness or emergency, which adversely affected the ability of the player over the remaining holes after the event occurred.

    Reasons which should not be considered justified include, but are not limited to:

      • Forgetfulness
      • Circumstances preventing the timely submission of score, for example access to Clubhouse or power cut.
      • Preventing a low score from causing a Handicap Index to decrease.
      • Preventing a high score from causing a Handicap Index to increase.

      When the Handicap Committee determines that a player’s reason for failing to submit their score was justified, the score should not be posted for handicap purposes.

    (ii) Score to be Posted

    When the Handicap Committee determines that a player’s reason for failing to submit their score was not justified, they must act as follows:

    • When the player’s actual score is discoverable:
      • Post the score, provided it meets all of the provisions set out within the Rules of Handicapping.
      • If the round was not completed for a valid reason and the score meets all of the other provisions set out in the Rules of Handicapping, post the score. The player’s expected score will be used for the hole or holes not played (see ).
      • If the Handicap Committee concludes that the player failed to submit the score for the purpose of gaining an unfair advantage (see ), it should consider applying an additional penalty score appropriate for the circumstances.
    • If the player’s actual score is not immediately discoverable:
      • A penalty score should be applied.
      • If the player’s actual score is subsequently discovered, the actual score should be posted to the player’s scoring record. The Handicap Committee has discretion to leave the penalty score on the player’s scoring record or to remove it, depending on the circumstances.

The value of any penalty score applied to a player’s scoring record should be appropriate for the circumstances and/or the player’s intent. For example:

  • If the player is determined to have acted for the purpose of lowering their Handicap Index, the penalty score should be equal to the highest Score Differential in their last 19 scores.

  • If the player is determined to have acted for the purpose of raising their Handicap Index, the penalty score should be equal to the lowest Score Differential in their last 19 scores.

  • If the player has not submitted a score for any other reason, and the score is not discoverable, the penalty score should be equal to their Course Handicap plus the Course Rating of the tees played, rounded to the nearest whole number.

For a player who repeatedly fails to submit acceptable scores, the Handicap Committee or the Authorized Association should consider either withdrawing their Handicap Index or taking other disciplinary action (for example, prohibiting the player from entering club competitions for a defined period of time).

(See Diagram 7.1b.)

7.1c Withdrawing a Handicap Index

The Handicap Committee, or Authorized Association, should withdraw the Handicap Index of a player who deliberately or repeatedly fails to comply with the player’s responsibilities under the Rules of Handicapping (see Appendix A: Rights and Responsibilities).

The withdrawal of a player’s Handicap Index should be applied only after the player has been informed and has had an opportunity to respond to the Handicap Committee, Authorized Association, or other disciplinary panel.

A player must be notified of the length of time their Handicap Index will be withdrawn and any additional conditions.

7.1d Reinstating a Handicap Index

Reinstatement of a player’s Handicap Index will be required after a player’s Handicap Index has been withdrawn for a period of time.

To determine the level of Handicap Index at which the player is to be reinstated, the Handicap Committee may wish to consider:

  • Reinstating the Handicap Index at a level that the Handicap Committee feels is currently reflective of the player’s demonstrated ability,
  • Allocating a Handicap Index as if the player were new to the sport, or
  • Reinstating the last recorded Handicap Index.

It is strongly recommended that, after a player’s Handicap Index has been reinstated, the Handicap Committee should monitor the player's Handicap Index closely over subsequent rounds and, where required, make appropriate adjustments.