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U.S. National Development Program (USNDP) Handicap Index Overview

What is a Handicap Index?

  • A Handicap Index provides you with a portable measure of your playing ability that’s consistent with how golfers are measured worldwide.
  • It can be used to track your progress and play across casual and/or competitive rounds with any other player.
  • Your scoring record is one of the tools the USNDP will be using to evaluate and identify individuals for the program.

How do I get one?

  • The Allied Golf Association (AGA) in your area can provide options for juniors to obtain a Handicap ID (e.g., GHIN #). Find my AGA and Get a Handicap Index
  • Think of your Handicap ID as a golf Social Security number.  You should only have a single lifetime Handicap ID which is tied to your scores and membership affiliations. If a Handicap ID goes inactive, when the golfer reengages with a membership or club, the previous Handicap ID should be referenced regardless of how long the account has been inactive.

I am set up, now what?

  • Play your round, post your score, then check your H.I. the next day.
    • How do I post my scores?
      • Scores are highly encouraged to be posted hole-by-hole so that any adjustments are applied appropriately.
      • The more information a junior adds to their scoring record the better; including posting hole-by-hole with stats: keeping track of GIR (greens in regulation), fairways hit and putts.
      • Once a Handicap ID account is set up, instructions will be provided on where to post scores. 
    • Why do I need to post my round the same day as I play?
  • What scores to post: 
    • Scores from both competitive and casual rounds where you play your own ball are acceptable to be posted – as long as you:

What Handicapping Terms would be helpful to know?

  • Score Differential
    • A Score Differential measures the performance of a round in relation to the relative difficulty of the course that was played, measured by the Course Rating™ and Slope Rating®.
  • Score Type
    • A designation that identifies the type of acceptable score that appears within a player’s scoring record.
    • H-Home, A-Away, C-Competition
  • Target Score
    • A target score is the score you’ll shoot if you “play to your handicap”.
  • Course Rating and Slope Rating
    • Course Rating is an indication of the difficulty of a golf course for the scratch player under normal course and weather conditions, while the Slope Rating is an indication of the relative difficulty of a golf course for players who are not scratch players compared to players who are scratch players.
  • Adjusted Gross Score
    • A player’s gross score, including any penalty strokes, adjusted for when:
    • The player exceeds their maximum hole score.
    • A hole is not played.
    • A hole is started but the player does not hole out.
    • If an Adjusted Gross Score is applied during tournament play, your scoring record may be different from the tournament results.
  • Most Likely Score
    • The number of strokes already taken to reach a position on a hole, plus the number of strokes the player would most likely require to complete the hole from that position, plus any penalty strokes incurred during play of the hole.
    • Net Double Bogey= Double Bogey +/- any Handicap Strokes received on a hole (minus applies to plus Handicap players).