OGA Off-Season Handicapping FAQ

Though you already know the Oregon Golf Association’s off season is December, January and February, you might not know exactly why.  You might also wonder about posting scores if you travel over the winter, or if and when a “trend handicap” can be used.  We’ve got some answers for you! 

Q:  Sometimes the weather isn’t too bad in our area this time of year. Why can’t we post scores?
A:   The USGA extends jurisdiction to the golf associations to declare our own active and inactive seasons. All northern states in the country have inactive seasons which are typically three or four months in duration, depending on weather patterns. Because the golf associations also have the sole responsibility to rate all golf courses in their region, it’s important to the accuracy of handicapping that we declare the season based on when our courses will most likely ‘play to their ratings.’ December – February is the most reasonable time frame for inclement weather across Oregon and SW Washington.

Q:  But if we aren’t posting, why are Handicap Indexes still updated?
A:  The USGA established the National Revision Schedule beginning in 2012, which means that each Handicap Index in the country must be revised on the 1st and the 15th of each month. This rule promotes consistency and accuracy in handicapping. Though some members may not need an update, it’s important for those who travel to sunbelt states to keep their Indexes current, as explained next.

Q:  I’m taking a golf trip to a sunnier climate during the winter.  Do I have to post my scores?
A:  Rounds of golf played in year-round golf associations – sunbelt states such as Hawaii, Florida, Southern California, Arizona – must be posted to your scoring record any time. What determines whether or not a round is to be posted is not where you keep your handicap, but where you are playing.  Conditions are often ideal in these areas, so there is no “off season”. No need to wait until you return to your OGA club to post, either. It’s never been quicker to get your rounds in right after you play – just use the free GHIN Mobile App. Download the app by searching “GHIN Mobile” in your App Store. Once you log in with your GHIN number and last name, you’re set. You’ll have access to the entire National Course Rating Database, as well as the convenience of having the updated display of your Handicap Card easily at hand.

Q:  Can my “Trend Handicap” be used in the off season?
A:   Yes, but only if your club wishes to take advantage of this option, and they are users of the GHIN Handicap Program software (not online) version.  Although just an unofficial estimate of a handicap (identified by an “L”, meaning “Local Use Only”), and not to be used in formal competition, a trend can be calculated via a special software setting. It allows the handicap display to “update” as per each round posted. At the end of the winter period, the setting is removed and unofficial rounds are purged. This action causes the Handicap Index to revert back to normal, in-season status. 

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