Handicap Committee


The Handicap Committee plays a vital role in the successful administration of a player's Handicap Index® and is equipped with tools to intervene when the calculated Handicap Index® is no longer reflective of the player's demonstrated ability.

 Used appropriately, these tools are designed to ensure the players are treated fairly and consistently from golf club to golf club.

Q. Who can serve on the Handicap Committee?

A. Under USGA® guidelines, the Handicap Committee is comprised of a majority of fellow golfers (members) of the club. They are there to maintain the integrity of the World Handicap System™ and to provide peer review. Club employees may serve on the Committee, however, they may not serve as Chairman.

Q. How often should the Handicap Committee meet?

A. The Committee as a whole should meet before the start of the season to review the Rules of Handicapping manual and to establish procedures for turning in scores. The Committee should also plan a seminar or annual notice to members outlining the score posting procedures and the responsibilities of the Committee for posting penalty scores or adjusting a player's Handicap Index®. During the season, the Committee should meet as needed to review scoring records and resolve any compliance problems.

Q. How many members should the Committee have?

A. At least three, with one person having responsibility for overseeing the posting of scores and the updating of member's Handicap Indexes.

Q. What are our primary responsibilities?

A. The accuracy of the World Handicap System™ is dependent on complete scoring records which are available for peer review. You are responsible for seeing that players turn in all acceptable scores for peer review.

Q. May a Handicap Committee require returning of scorecards from players before allowing a score to be posted?

A. No. However, scorecards may be requested from time-to-time if the Handicap Committee wishes to sample the accuracy with which golfers are adjusting scores. In any case, the club cannot take punitive action regarding the scoring record or the Handicap Index® if a scorecard does not accompany a score.

Q. What scores can be used for handicapping?

A. A golfer is required to post scores whenever he plays at least 7 holes. If 7 to 14 holes are played, then that score shall be posted as a 9-hole round. If 14 or more holes are played, it shall be posted as an 18-hole round. A score of net par should be recorded for any holes not played.

Q. When is a score unacceptable?

A.  All of the following are unacceptable scores: A score is unacceptable when:

  • When a player plays alone
  • Fewer than 7 holes are played
  • When a player doesn't play their own ball. For example, scrambles.
  • Made on a golf course in an area in which an inactive season established by the governing golf association is in effect
  • A majority of the holes of the course are not played in accordance with the principles of the Rules of Golf
  • Types or maximum number of clubs are less than 14, for example, in a competition that allows only iron clubs
  • Scores are made on a course with no USGA Course and Slope Rating™
  • A player carries or uses non-conforming clubs or uses non-conforming balls
  • Artificial devices (as defined under Rule 14-3) are used during the execution of a stroke.
  • When a player is being coached while playing (playing lessons)

Q. If a player does not finish a hole or is conceded a stroke, what should the player record?

A. The player shall record his "most likely score" or net double bogey, whichever is lower.

Q. What is the "most likely score" a player should record on a hole that is not finished or that is conceded?

A. The most likely score is:

  • 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

Q. Should a "most likely score" score be recorded on a hole not finished in a best ball event?

A. Yes.

Q. How often are Handicap Indexes revised?

A. A Handicap Index® is revised each time a new score is posted. This revision takes place overnight and a player will have an updated Handicap Index® the next morning. 

Q. What happens to the scores at the end of the season?

A.  A player's scoring record shall be maintained continuously from year to year. The scores made in a new playing season (or calendar year) shall be added to those of the preceding playing seasons (or calendar year) to make up a scoring record.

Q. Can the Handicap Committee adjust a player's Handicap Index®?

A. Yes. It is the Handicap Committee's responsibility to assure that a player's Handicap Index® reflects his or her potential ability. When the scheduled Handicap Index® revision does not reflect potential ability, the Handicap Committee should adjust it. The Handicap Committee may adjust a player's Handicap Index® or freeze the player's index at a level selected by the Committee.

Q. What circumstances should result in an adjustment to a Handicap Index®?

A. Under the following circumstances, it will be necessary for the Handicap Committee to make adjustments to the player's Handicap Index®:

  • Rapidly improving or rapidly declining ability
  • Temporary disability
  • Failure to post
  • Player manipulates round.

Note: The committee is not limited to making changes in these cases only. The Committee must invite a response from the player, in person or writing. The Rules of Handicapping provide details about these circumstances

Q. What should the Committee do if a player inadvertently fails to post an acceptable score?

A. The Handicap Committee should investigate the reason and take appropriate action. Numerous factors come into play and the Committee do their best to determine the reason behind the failure to post an acceptable score. If the Committee finds no valid reason for the failure to post an acceptable score, they may take action and post the score and/or a penalty score. 

Q. How long should an adjustment to a Handicap Index® remain in effect?

A.  As long as the Handicap Committee determines. The Committee can remove the adjustment or freeze of a Handicap Index® at any time they see fit. 

Q. Can the Handicap Committee withdraw a player's Handicap Index®?

A. Yes. Repeated failure to follow the Rules of Handicapping can result in a withdrawal of a Handicap Index®. As with the adjustment of a Handicap Index®, the Committee must invite a response from the player, in person or in writing. The Committee sets the conditions for reinstatement of the Handicap Index®.


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