Appendix A: Rights and Responsibilities

The integrity of the World Handicap System relies on all key stakeholders ensuring that the requirements set down within the Rules of Handicapping are satisfied and that they carry out their respective responsibilities.

The key stakeholders within the Rules of Handicapping are:

  • The player
  • The golf club and its Handicap Committee
  • Regional Golf Associations*
  • National Associations*
  • Multi-National Associations*
  • The USGA and The R&A

* Collectively known as Authorized Associations

The responsibilities of each key stakeholder are:

  1. Player Responsibilities. In order to comply with the requirements of the Rules of Handicapping, a player is expected to:
      (i) Act with integrity by following the Rules of Handicapping and to refrain from using, or circumventing, the Rules of Handicapping for the purpose of gaining an unfair advantage.
      (ii) Have only one Handicap Index from a single scoring record, which is managed by the player’s home club in accordance with the Rules of Handicapping.

      Note: This Handicap Index will apply elsewhere, including at all other golf clubs of which the player is a member.

      (iii) Ensure each golf club of which they are a member knows the details of:
      • All other golf clubs that they are a member of, and
      • Which golf club that they have designated to be their home club.
      (iv) Ensure that, prior to playing a round in an authorized format of play, they:
      • Know their current Handicap Index,
      • Inform the Handicap Committee or the Committee in charge of the competition of any discrepancies with their Handicap Index and provide details of any outstanding scores yet to be submitted or posted to their scoring record,
      • Know the holes where handicap strokes are to be given or received, and
      • Record their correct handicap on the scorecard in a stroke-play competition.
      (v) Attempt to make the best score possible at each hole.
      (vi) Where applicable, ensure all acceptable scores are submitted for handicap purposes, including scores from outside the player’s home jurisdiction. Acceptable scores should be submitted:
      • Before midnight on the day of play, and
      • In the correct chronological order.
      (vii) Submit acceptable scores to provide reasonable evidence of their demonstrated ability.
      (viii) Provide any new golf club with the full details of their previous playing history, Handicap Index held, memberships and any other information relevant to their golfing ability.
      (ix) Play by the Rules of Golf.
      (x) Certify the scores of fellow players.
  2. Golf Club/Handicap Committee, Regional Associations, National Associations and Multi-National Association Responsibilities. In order to comply with the requirements of the Rules of Handicapping, Handicap Committees and Authorized Associations are expected to:


    1. Where a National Association administers and manages a player’s Handicap Index directly, the National Association assumes the responsibilities of a golf club.
    2. Where appropriate, the delegation of responsibilities is determined by either the Multi-National Association or the National Association.

World Handicap System Responsibilities Relating to the Golf Course

An Authorized Association is expected to: A Golf Club/Handicap Committee is expected to:
  1. Ensure that all facilities approved by the Authorized Association for handicap purposes have a Course Rating and Slope Rating for all applicable sets of tees, determined in accordance with the Course Rating System.

    Ratings must also include all temporary or permanent course modifications advised by affiliated golf clubs/course owners.

  2. Use the Course Rating software application to calculate and issue all Course Ratings and Slope Ratings.
  3. Maintain records of all Course Ratings undertaken within its jurisdiction.
  4. Establish a Course Rating Review Committee.
  5. Establish access to fully trained course raters (including team leaders) to conduct all required Course Ratings and re-ratings. 
  6. Determine the eligible period when preferred lies may be in operation for acceptable scores  to be posted.
  7. Establish the start and end dates of any inactive season within relevant areas of its jurisdiction.
  1. Have a verifiable course measurement for each set of tees with a Course Rating over which authorized formats are to be played.
  2. Inform the Authorized Association of any significant course alterations, particularly length changes and introduction of penalty areas, that could affect issued Course Ratings and Slope Ratings.
  3. Ensure that all acceptable scores are played from tees that have a Course Rating and Slope Rating, as defined within the Course Rating System.
  4. Maintain their golf course(s) in a manner consistent with the conditions presented when the Course Rating(s) were conducted.
  5. Display a Course Handicap and Playing Handicap adjustment table for each set of tees, for players’ reference.
  6. Ensure that the posting of all acceptable scores is suspended in the event that course conditions are exceptionally poor.

    Prior to implementing, the golf club must first obtain approval from the appropriate Authorized Association.

  7. Ensure the golf course is marked in accordance with the Rules of Golf.