- Responsibility: Chairman-Handicap Committee
- Purpose: Describes the Bucknell Golf Club’s policy on maintaining and complying with USGA procedures to maintain fair handicaps. This policy is also intended to promote awareness among members of the club as to their roles and responsibilities in establishing and maintaining a fair handicap system.
- Applicability – Bucknell Golf Club including all members
- Reference – The USGA Handicap System 2002-2005
- Active Season – Period of time, determined by the authorized golf association having jurisdiction in a given area, during which scores made there will be accepted for handicap purposes
- Adjusted Gross Score - players gross score adjusted under USGA Handicap System procedures for unfinished holes, conceded strokes, holes not played or not played under the Rules of Golf, or Equitable Stroke Control (ESC).
- Authorized Golf Association – A golf association that has jurisdiction and has been licensed by the USGA to issue USGA Handicap Indexes and/or USGA Course and Slope Ratings in its state, district or region through its golf clubs.
- Bogey Golfer – A male bogey golfer has a USGA Handicap Index of 17.5 to 22.4. He can hit tee shots an average of 200 yards and can reach a 370-yard hole in two shots.
- A female bogey golfer has a USGA Handicap Index of 21.5 to 26.4. She can hit tee shots an average of 150 yards and can reach a 280-yard hole in two shots.
- Course Handicap – USGA’s mark that indicates the number of handicap strokes a player receives from a specific set of tees at the course being played to adjust his scoring ability to the level of scratch or 0 handicap golf.
- Course Handicap Table – A chart that converts a USGA Handicap Index to a Course Handicap based on the USGA Slope Rating for the set of tees played.
- Course Rating – USGA’s mark that indicates the evaluation of the playing difficulty of a course for scratch golfers under normal course and weather conditions.
- Eligible Tournament Score – An eligible tournament score is a tournament score made either within the last 12 months or within the players current 20 score history.
- Equitable Stroke Control – Equitable Stroke Control (ESC) is the downward adjustment of individual hole scores for handicap purposes in order to make handicaps more representative of a players potential ability.
- Golf Association – Organization of golf clubs governed by amateur golfers, operated under bylaws and formed for the purpose of conducting competitions for amateur golfers, and otherwise promoting the best interests and conserving the true spirit of the game in a district, region, or state.
- Golf Club – Organizations of at least ten individual members that operates under bylaws with committees to supervise golf activities, provide peer review, and maintain the integrity of the USGA Handicap System.
- Gross Score – Number of actual strokes plus any penalty strokes taken by a player.
- Handicap Allowance – Percentage of the Course Handicap recommended for a handicap competition.
- Handicap Committee – Committee of a golf club that ensures compliance with the USGA Handicap System including peer review.
- Handicap Differential – Difference between a players adjusted gross score and the USGA Course Rating of the course on which the score was made, multiplied by 113, then divided by the USGA Slope Rating from the tees played and rounded to the nearest tenth.
- Handicap Index – USGA’s service mark used to indicate a measurement of a player’s potential ability on a course of standard playing difficulty.
- Handicap Stroke Hole – A hole on which a player is entitled to apply a handicap stroke or strokes to his gross score.
- Handicap Type
- L=local handicap
- N = nine-hole handicap index
- J = local nine-hole handicap
- SL = short course handicap
- WD = handicap withdrawn by committee
- M = handicap modified by committee
- R = handicap automatically reduced for exceptional Tournament Performance
- Inactive Season – Period of time determined by the authorized golf association having jurisdiction in a given area during which scores made there will not be accepted for handicap purposes.
- Most Likely Score – The score a player shall post for handicap purposes when he starts but does not complete a hole or is conceded a stroke. The most likely score consists of the number of strokes already taken plus, in his best judgment, the number of strokes that the player would need to complete the hole from that position more than half the time not to exceed the players ESC limit.
- Net Score – Player’s score after his handicap strokes have been subtracted (or added for a plus handicap player) from the gross score.
- Override – Handicap Committee’s action, which cancels a Tournament Score reduction and is not to be used a preventative measure in anticipation of blocking a reduction.
- Par – Score that an expert golfer would be expected to make for a given hole under ordinary weather conditions and allowing two strokes on the putting green.
- Peer Review – Process of providing a reasonable and regular opportunity for members of a golf club to play golf with each other, and of providing access to scoring records and USGA Handicap Indexes for inspection by others, including but not limited to fellow members and the club’s Handicap Committee.
- Penalty Score – A score posted by the Handicap Committee for a player who does not return a score or otherwise does not observe the spirit of the USGA Handicap System.
- Preferred Lies (Winter Rules) – A local rule that may be adopted by the Handicap Committee in the event of adverse conditions that are so general throughout a course that improving the lie of the ball in a specified way would promote fair play or help protect the course.
- Score Type - The score type indicates specific aspects of a score within a player’s scoring record and should be designated in the following manner:
- A = away
- AJ = away internet
- C = combined nines
- TI = tournament internet
- I = Internet
- P = penalty
- T = tournament
- Scoring Record – A file composed of the most recent 20 scores posted by a player, plus any eligible tournament scores, along with appropriate USGA Course Ratings and Slope Rating and dates.
- Scratch Golfer – A male scratch golfer is an amateur player who plays to the standard of the field of stroke-play qualifiers competing at the U.S. Amateur Championship site. A male scratch golfer can hit tee shots an average of 250 yards and can reach a 470-yard hole in two shots.
- A female scratch golfer is an amateur player who plays to the standard of the field of stroke-play qualifiers at the U.S. Women’s Amateur Championship site. A female scratch golfer can hit tee shots an average of 210 yards and can reach a 400-yard hole in two shots.
- Slope Rating – USGA’s mark that indicates the measurement of the relative difficulty of a course for players who are not scratch golfers compared to the Course Rating.
- Stipulated Round – Stipulated round consists of playing the holes of the course in their correct sequence unless otherwise authorized by the Committee. The number of holes in a stipulated round is 18 unless a smaller number is authorized by the Committee.
- Tournament Score – A score made in a competition organized and conducted by a committee in charge of the competition. The competition must identify a winner(s) based on a stipulated round(s), and must be played under the principles of the Rules of Golf.
- Trend Handicap – Unofficial estimate of a handicap, which may include unreviewed scores since the previous revision and might not be based on the current scoring record. Use of trend is not recommended by the USGA.
- USGA Handicap System – USGA’s mark which denotes the USGA’s method of evaluating golf skills so that golfers of differing abilities can compete on an equitable basis.
Fair handicapping depends upon full, accurate information regarding a player’s potential scoring ability as reflected by a complete scoring record. A basic premise underlying the USGA Handicap System, is that every player will try to make the best score at each hole in every round, regardless of where the round is played, and that the player will post every acceptable round for peer review.
Every golfer shall be responsible for returning all acceptable scores as defined in Section 5 of the USGA Handicap System manual. For handicap purposes, all necessary adjustments including ESC must be applied to all scores including Tournament Scores.
Scores to Post – If 13 or more holes are played, the player shall post an 18 hole score. If 7 to 12 holes are played, the player shall post a 9 hole score.
Scores on all Courses – Adjusted gross scores from all courses with USGA Course and Slope Ratings made during their active seasons, both at home and away, shall be posted by the player along with the appropriate USGA Course Ratings and USGA Slope Ratings.
Scores in All Forms of Competitions – Scores in both match play and stroke play shall be posted for handicap purposes, This includes scores made in match play, multi-ball or team competitions in which players have not completed one or more holes or in which players are requested to pick up when out of contention on a hole.
Scores Made Under the Rules of Golf – Scores must be made in accordance with the principles of the Rules of Golf.
Disqualification – A player who is disqualified from competition, but has an acceptable score, shall record his adjusted gross score for handicap purposes.
Unacceptable Scores – Scores made under the following conditions are not acceptable for handicap purposes and shall not be entered in the players scoring record:
- When fewer then 7 holes are played.
- When made on a golf course in an area in which an inactive season established by the authorized golf association is in effect.
- When the majority of the holes are not played in accordance with the principle of the Rules of Golf.
- When the length of the course is less than 3,000 yards for 18 holes.
- When, as a condition of the competition, the maximum number of clubs allowed is less than 14, or types of clubs are limited.
- When scores are made on a course with no USGA Course or Slope Rating.
- When a player carries or uses non-conforming clubs or uses non-conforming balls.
- When artificial devices (as defined under Rule 14-3) are used during the execution of a stroke.
Posting Scores –Posting scores in person immediately following the round at the course where the round is played is the preferred way to expose scores to peer review. If that is not possible, the score should be posted as soon as practical prior to the next revision of the handicaps so that the scoring record is up-to-date.
Posting Score When a Complete Round is not Played – If 13 or more holes are played, the player shall post an 18-hole score. If 7 to 12 holes are played, the player shall post a nine-hole score. In either case, scores for unplayed holes shall be recorded as par plus any handicap strokes that the player is entitled to receive on the unplayed holes.
Posting Nine-Hole Scores – To be acceptable for handicap purposes, nine-hole scores must meet the following conditions:
- The course must have a nine-hole USGA Course Rating and USGA Slope Rating.
- At least 7 holes must be played.
Once posted, a nine-hole score will be treated as follows:
- Nine- hole scores shall not be designated as T-scores.
- Two nine-hole scores combined to create an 18-hole score should be designated with the letter C.
- Nine-hole scores posted at a club where a golfer is issued a Handicap Index will be combined with other nine-hole scores posted at that club, regardless of score type. The combining of nine-hole scores may be any combination of nines.
- Nine-hole scores posted at a club where a golfer does not receive a Handicap Index will be combined with other nine-hole scores posted in the same manner.
Posting a Tournament Score – A tournament score is a score made in a competition organized and conducted by a committee in charge of the competition. The competition must identify a winner(s) based on a stipulated round(s), and must be played under the principles of the Rules of Golf. The committee in charge of the competition shall announce in advance whether the score shall be identified by the letter “T” when posted.
Committee Posting a Score for a Player – If a player fails to post a score, the Handicap Committee may post the score without the player’s authorization. In a competition, the committee in charge of the competition may post the scores of all competitors. The committee should notify the players that it will post the scores in order to prevent scores from being posted by both the players and the committee.
- Handicap Committee
An essential element of the USGA Handicap System is the requirement that each golf club or golf association that issues USGA Handicap Indexes shall appoint a Handicap Committee to ensure the integrity of the handicaps it issues. This Committee shall make certain that the numbers comply with the USGA Handicap System.
The Handicap Committee shall be responsible to the golf club for all aspects of the USGA Handicap System, including the computation of USGA Handicap Indexes. The Handicap Committee shall verify that all acceptable scores are reported for handicap purposes, and that recorded scores are available for peer review.Duties of the Handicap Committee
- Maintain Players Records - The Handicap Committee shall be responsible for maintaining players records, including displaying a list of USGA Handicap Indexes. Current scoring records of all players in the club from the most recent revision shall be available to all members.
- New-Member Records – The Handicap Committee shall communicate promptly with new members to obtain scoring records and the corresponding USGA Course Rating and Slope Ratings. If a record is unavailable, the new member shall use his last USGA Handicap Index until he returns five scores to his new golf club and can be issued a new USGA Handicap Index.
- Corrections in Records and Calculations – The Handicap Committee shall review the accuracy of scoring records and information entered by any computation service. If any error exists, the Committee shall investigate and inform the authorized golf association or computation service, which shall correct the scoring record as soon as practical and no later that the next revision date. The Handicap Committee shall issue a corrected USGA Handicap Index as soon as possible after a scoring error is noted.
- Handicap Revisions – The Handicap Committee shall be responsible for following the revision schedule and procedures of the authorized golf association as shown in Section 8.3 of the USGA Handicap System.
- Handicap Index Adjustment and Withdrawal – A player must earn a USGA Handicap Index. No player has an inherent right to a USGA Handicap Index without providing full evidence of his ability to the Handicap Committee at his golf club. The Handicap Committee has the responsibility of making certain that a player’s USGA Handicap Index reflects his potential ability. Under the following circumstances it will be necessary for the Handicap Committee to make adjustments to the player’s USGA Handicap Index. Before an adjustment becomes effective, the Committee must give the player an opportunity to explain the circumstances surrounding the proposed adjustment, either in writing or by appearing before the Committee.
- Improving Faster Than the System Can React – A player just taking up the game may improve too rapidly for his USGA Handicap Index calculated by the standard procedure to reflect his potential ability.
- Numerous Away Scores Change Index – If a player’s USGA Handicap Index increases by three or more strokes due to the posting of numerous away or Internet scores, and subsequent scores at his club clearly indicate that his increased USGA Handicap Index is too high, the Handicap Committee shall adjust his USGA Handicap Index downward.
- Temporary Disability – An increase in a USGA Handicap Index shall not be granted because a player is temporarily off his game or has discontinued play. However, an increased handicap may be given for a temporary disability. The increased handicap is not a USGA Handicap Index and must be identified by the letter “L” to indicate it is for local use.
- Failure to Post – A USGA Handicap Index shall be adjusted up or down if the player does not turn in all acceptable scores or otherwise does not observe the spirit of the USGA Handicap System. The Handicap Committee shall determine the amount of adjustment. If a player fails to post an acceptable score as soon as possible after completion of the round, the Handicap Committee should post the score and/or penalty score and Ratings equal to the lowest handicap differential in the players scoring record. However, if the score not returned is unusually high, the Handicap Committee should enter the score and/or a penalty score and Ratings equal to the highest differential in the players scoring record.
- Player Manipulates Round – If a player manipulates his scores to influence his USGA Handicap Index, the Handicap Committee shall adjust or withdraw his USGA Handicap Index, depending on the severity of the offense. Examples of manipulating scores include the following:
- Posting erroneous scores
- Stopping play after 7 holes to avoid posting scores
- Repeatedly playing more than one ball to avoid posting scores
- Not adjusting hole scores
- Deliberately reporting more or fewer strokes than actually scored
- Deliberately taking extra strokes to inflate a score.
- Continued Violations of Unacceptable Scores – The Handicap Committee is duly responsible to identify and notify those players who regularly violate any provision of Section 5-1f of the USGA Handicap System Manual that such rounds are unacceptable for handicap purposes. If the player continues to violate clause(s) within Section 5-1f after being notified by the Handicap Committee, the Handicap Committee is authorized to consider withdrawal of the players’Handicap index.
- Duration of Adjustment by Handicap Committee – The Handicap Committee shall determine how long a player’s USGA Handicap Index is to remain modified or withdrawn. At each handicap revision date, the Handicap committee should compare the modified Handicap Index to the value determined by normal computation methods.
- Tournament Performance Review – The Handicap Committee shall review the reduction of a player’s USGA Handicap Index for exceptional tournament scores. The procedure in Section 10-3 of the USGA Handicap System manual is to be used for the reduction of a Handicap Index when a player scores much better in competition than in informal games. To use the procedure, a player must have two or more eligible tournament scores and a minimum of two tournament score differentials that are at least three strokes better than the player’s current USGA Handicap Index.
- Handicap Index Withdrawal – If a player repeatedly fails to meet his responsibilities under the USGA Handicap System, the Handicap Committee shall withdraw the player’s USGA Handicap Index. Before any action is taken, the player shall be advised of the information available to the Committee and shall be invited to respond to the Committee either in writing or by appearing in person before the Committee. A player whose USGA Handicap Index has been withdrawn may be reinstated under conditions set forth by the Handicap Committee.
Adopted March 9, 2004