HANDICAPPING
Snowbirds: How to Post 'Away' Scores During Active Season October 12, 2020 | Liberty Corner, N.J.

When playing a course such as the Jupiter Hills Club in Florida during the winter months, golfers must post their scores. (USGA/Russell Kirk)

When winter arrives, golfers in much of the country go into hibernation. Others, commonly known as “snowbirds,” escape the cold climate to more appealing temperatures. These lucky “birds” not only enjoy the warmth, they continue to play golf. This situation creates a common question for handicap-posting purposes: “Do I still post my scores?”

The short answer is yes. Before we get to the longer explanation, it is important to note that the Rules of Handicapping allow for an inactive season which is set by the Allied Golf Association (AGA) in the area. So, what is an inactive season? It solves for the seasonal weather fluctuations and impact on course conditions by determining when scores can be posted. In other words, an inactive season means that scores made on any golf course during that designated period are not acceptable for handicap purposes. The duration of an inactive season varies around the country, with some areas not having one due to a favorable year-round climate.

Now, back to the explanation. When a golfer plays on a course in an area observing an active season, that score must be posted as long as the round meets the criteria for an acceptable score (see Rule 2.1 of the Rules of Handicapping). This is the case even if a player’s home club and course are observing an inactive season (e.g., a golfer from New York plays golf in Florida in January). Any rounds played on a course other than the home course should receive an Away or “A” score-type when posting the score.

The key takeaway is this – knowing whether to post during the winter months is determined by where the round is played. Having this information should help ensure that golfers post all acceptable scores to their scoring record so that their Handicap Index is a correct representation of their demonstrated ability.

To verify the active/inactive season schedule set by each of the 59 AGAs around the country, please click here. In addition, the USGA’s website has a variety of education resources about the World Handicap System and Rules of Handicapping.