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Topic - Soft Cap and Hard Cap

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What you should know - In 150 words or less

Although all players have good and bad stretches, a player's underlying ability does not typically change significantly within a one-year period. As a result, the soft cap and hard cap are built into the Handicap Index calculation as a safeguard to prevent extreme upward movement.

  • If your Handicap Index increases by 3.0 strokes within a year, the soft cap slows the rate of additional movement beyond 3.0 strokes by 50%.
  • The hard cap sets a max increase of 5.0 total strokes within a year.


The illustration below demonstrates how the caps are tied to a player's Low Handicap Index - which is used as a reference point.

Note that a Low Handicap Index is not established until the player has 20 scores in their scoring record.


Key Notes:

  • The Handicap Committee at a player's golf club can override the caps if circumstances such as injury or illness exist.
  • If the soft cap or hard cap is applied to your Handicap Index, it will be clearly identified within your scoring record.

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