Article originally published in Golf Journal:
Although October signals that the end of the golf season is approaching for many golfers in the United States, there may still be plenty of opportunities to post scores toward your Handicap Index® before it is time to put the clubs back in storage. Here are five things to know about fall golf and the World Handicap System™:
1. Struggling to finish your round due to the sun setting earlier and earlier each day? As long as you play 9 holes on a course with a valid Course Rating™ and Slope Rating™, you can still post an acceptable score and receive an 18-hole Score Differential™ for your round. Just know that if you play between 10 and 17 holes, you'll be required to post your score using the hole-by-hole option, so that an 18-hole Score Differential can be created for your round by adding your Score Differential from the holes played to your expected Score Differential over the number of remaining holes.
2. Playing in tough conditions? You may see the playing conditions calculation (PCC) come into play more often than you did during the summer. The PCC compares the actual scores made each day to the expected scores of the players who made them – and if the scores are significantly higher (or lower) than expected, an adjustment to each players’ Score Differential™ is automatically applied. Just remember, at least 8 scores must be posted at a particular course on the day of play for the PCC to be calculated – so encourage your friends to post their scores as soon as possible!
3. Are preferred lies in effect due to wet and soggy conditions? Don’t worry, you can still post your score. The Handicap Committee at the club should make this determination each day, so check with the pro shop before teeing it up.
4. Were the greens recently aerated? If so, unless the Handicap Committee decides to temporarily suspend score posting due to poor putting surfaces, putt it out. The use of an “automatic two-putt” is not acceptable for handicap purposes.
5. Squeezing in a few final match-play rounds this season? Match-play scores are acceptable for score posting. On the holes you don’t hole out, simply record your most likely score for the hole – keeping in mind your most likely score cannot exceed your net double bogey limit.
For more information or to learn more about the World Handicap System, visit www.usga.org/whs.