Ten Things for Golfers to Know About a Handicap Index®

1
A Handicap Index represents...

A golfer's demonstrated playing ability. The number is based on golfer scores relative to the golf course and set of tees played during those rounds.

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2
After you post a score, it is converted into…

A Score Differential™ - which accounts for the Course Rating™ and Slope Rating® of the tees played. Nine-hole scores are combined to form 18-hole Score Differentials. 

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3
A Handicap Index is calculated by…

Averaging your eight best Score Differentials from your most recent 20 scores. Your index can be calculated with as few as three 18-hole scores.

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4
Your first Handicap Index® will be issued…

The day after you have posted scores from 54-holes to your scoring record. These scores can be made up of any combination of 9- or 18-hole rounds.

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5
A Handicap Index® is updated…

At midnight local time the day after you post a score. As a result, it’s important to post your scores on the same day of play as it affects Playing Conditions Calculations.

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6
A GOLFER Course Handicap™ is…

The number of strokes needed to play to par of the tees being played. You will have a Course Handicap once a Handicap Index® has been established (see note No. 4 above).

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7
The max hole score for handicap purposes is…

A net double bogey, equal to double bogey + any handicap strokes received based on your Course Handicap. When using hole-by-hole to post scores the max hole score is made automatically.

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8
If you don’t play a hole…

The score recorded is net par, equal to par + any handicap strokes received from Course Handicap. You must play at least 7 holes to post a 9-hole score and 14 holes for an 18-hole score.

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9
If you start but don’t finish a hole…

Because a putt is conceded during match play, etc. - you should post your most likely score. That is the number of strokes taken + strokes it will take you to finish (based on best judgement).

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10
important to post all acceptable scores so…

Your Handicap Index® continues to accurately reflect your game. It's against the spirit of Handicapping to post some scores and not others. A popular method to post is with the GHIN app.

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USGA

LEARN MORE ABOUT HANDICAPPING

For golfers seeking more insights into the world of Handicapping, the USGA shares content that includes resources for players, frequently asked questions, features on popular topics like Net Double Bogey, Exceptional Score Reduction and more.

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