HANDICAP & THE LPGA AMATEUR GOLF ASSOCIATION
What is a handicap?
A handicap is a number that represents your skill level and potential scoring ability. Generally speaking, your handicap value is representative of how you should expect to score in relation to par. It’s actually a little more complicated than that because other factors are considered such as which tees you play from and how difficult the course is. It is also weighted such that it’s more representative of what you’d expect to score on a good day rather than on an average day. You don’t need worry about math; a computer network will handle all the calculations for you.
Why would I want to maintain a handicap?
Benefits of maintaining a handicap include the ability to compete with golfers of other skill levels on an equitable basis on any course, from any tees. It also provides an objective way to measure golf skill improvement. An official handicap is required to compete in some of our competitive tournament.
Do I need a handicap to join the LPGA Amateur Golf Association?
No, but you do need one to participate in the LPGA Amateurs Championship and LPGA Amateurs Cup Match Play.
What are my responsibilities in maintaining a handicap?
As with all aspects of golf, the handicap system expects honesty and integrity from its participants. All individuals maintaining an official handicap have the following responsibilities: Post every eligible score during the posting season. In Ontario, the posting season is from April 15 through October 31. Play all rounds eligible for posting under the Rules of Golf. Make an effort to make the best score on each hole of every round played.
Can a person obtain a handicap without being a member of a golf club?
What is ESC (Equitable Stroke Control)?
I don’t seem to play to my handicap very often. Why?
What scores are acceptable for posting purposes?
What score do I post if I am conceded a stroke in match play?
What score do I post for a hole not played?
Should I post the scores from my winter vacation?
What are the Active Handicap Seasons for posting rounds played in Canada?
How soon after playing do I have to post my score for handicap purposes?
How do I know if a score is supposed to be posted as a Tournament Score?
Are tournament scores calculated differently than regular scores?
Should only a percentage of a player’s Course Handicap be used in competition?
What is the maximum handicap a person can have?
I’ve just played golf in the UK. Can I post the scores for handicap purposes?
How are 9-hole score combined to create an 18-hole score?
How do I post a score for hole with a temporary green?
Can I post a score if I play alone?
Can I post a score if I have played two balls?
Golf Canada has a “Public Player” program that gives golfers the opportunity to play golf at different courses and still have the opportunity to obtain a Golf Canada Handicap Factor and be a member of Golf Canada and provincial golf association.
Equitable Stroke Control (ESC) is the downward adjustment of individual hole scores for handicap purposes in order to make handicap factors more representative of a player`s potential ability. ESC sets a maximum number that a player can post on any hole depending on the player`s Course Handicap. ESC is used only when a player`s actual or most likely score exceeds his maximum number.
Q. I don’t seem to play to my handicap very often. Why?
Our Handicap System is based upon the potential ability of a player rather than the average of all his scores. As such, the average player is expected to play to his Course Handicap (your Handicap Factor adjusted for the Slope Rating of the course and tees you are playing) or better only about 25 percent of the time, average three strokes higher than his Course Handicap, and have a best score (of the last 20) which is only two strokes better than his
A player’s Handicap Factor is reflective of his or her playing potential because it is based upon the best scores posted for a given number of rounds, ideally the best 10 of the last 20 rounds. Since the worst 10 scores are tossed out, the Handicap Factor reflects the player’s best golf.
Almost all scores are acceptable because the basic premise of the Golf Canada Handicap System is that every player will try his or her best on every hole, in every round regardless of where the round was played. Therefore all of the following are acceptable scores:
- 18 hole rounds
- 13 or more holes played you must post an 18-hole score
- 9 hole rounds
- 7-12 holes played you must post a 9-hole score
- Scores on all courses with a valid Course and Slope Rating, whether at home course, away course, or out of country
- Scores in all forms of competition: match play, stroke play, team competitions
- Scores played with preferred lies
For handicapping purposes, the following are unacceptable scores:
- Scores of fewer than 7 holes
- Scores made on a golf course in an area during its inactive season
- Scores made not under the principles of the Rules of Golf
- Scores from courses under 3,000 yards for 18 holes
- Scores made in competitions stipulating the use of less than 14 clubs
- Scores made on golf courses without valid Course and Slope Ratings
- Scores made on courses that are not a member of Golf Canada/Provincial Golf Association
If a player starts but does not complete a hole or is conceded a stroke, that player shall record for handicap purposes their most likely score. The most likely score consists of the number of strokes already taken plus, in the player’s best judgement, the number of strokes that the player would need to complete the hole from that position more than half the time. This number may not exceed the player’s Equitable Stroke Control limit. This most likely score should be preceded by an X, such as X6.
There is no limit to the number of unfinished holes a player may have in a round provided that failure to finish is not for the purpose of Handicap Factor manipulation.
Example 1: A and B are partners in a four-ball stroke play competition. On a hole on which neither player receives a handicap stroke, A lies two, 18 feet from the hole. B lies two, 25 feet from the hole. B holes a putt for a three. A picks up their ball because they cannot better B’s score. A records X4 on the score card because 4 is their most likely score.
Example 2: A and B are playing a match. On a hole on which neither player receives a handicap stroke, A has holed out in 4; B has a 30 foot putt for a 5. B has lost the hole, and picks up. He records X6 on the score card because 6 is their most likely score.
Example 3: A and B are playing a match. On a hole on which neither player received a handicap stroke, A is one foot from the hole, lying 4. B is 10 feet from the hole, lying 3. B putts and misses. They agree to a half. Both players record 5 because that is the score they most likely would have made.
If a player does not play a hole or plays it other than under the Rules of Golf (except for preferred lies), their score for that hole for handicap purposes shall be par plus any handicap strokes the player is entitled to receive on the hole. When recording this hole score, precede the score with an “X”. This concept can also apply to a hole with a temporary green or tee which renders the hole substantially different from its usual form.
Example: A player with a Course Handicap of 10 receives a handicap stroke on the first 10 allocated handicap-stroke holes. If the player does not play the sixth allocated stroke hole because of construction on the green, the player shall record a score of par plus one for handicap purposes.
Q. Should I post the scores from my winter vacation?
If the round(s) played were in an area observing an Active Handicap Season then you must post the score(s). Most of the southern United States observe a year-round Active Season, but you can confirm the Active Season for where you are playing by calling the State golf association for that area.
BC = March 1 – November 15
AB = March 1 – October 31
SK, MB, ON, QC, NS = April 15 – October 31
NB, NL = May 1 – October 31
PE = April 15 – November 14
The score must be posted immediately following the round, or if that is not possible, as soon as practicable.
The committee in charge of the competition and the Handicap Committee at the club must decide if a particular score is to be posted as a ‘T’ score. It is important that the committee declare to the players beforehand whether or not the score must be posted as a ‘T’ score.
No. Tournament scores are calculated the same as regular scores, but if tournament scores posted are much lower than regular scores posted the Handicap Factor may be subject to an automatic reduction. See Section 10-3 of the Handicap Manual.
In most forms of competition, Golf Canada recommends that players be allowed to compete with their full Course Handicap. However, there are certain forms of team competition where the RCGA recommends a percentage be used in order to ensure a fair competition. See Section 9-4 of the Handicap Manual.
Q. What is the maximum handicap a person can have?
The maximum Handicap Factor for men is 36.4 and for women is 40.4. A Handicap Factor exceeding these limits must be identified as a Local Handicap.
Note: A maximum Handicap Factor will convert to a Course Handicap that exceeds the max. on golf courses with a Slope Rating greater than 113. Ex. A player with a Handicap Factor of 36.4 will have a Course Handicap of 43 on a course with a Slope Rating of 133.
Only scores from courses with a Course and Slope Rating are eligible for handicap purposes. Most courses in the UK do not have a Course and Slope Rating, so scores from these courses are not eligible. Some courses in the UK do have a Course and Slope Rating and its becoming more and more common as North American golfers have requested the ability to post scores for handicap purposes. Check the scorecard for a listing of Course and Slope Rating, or ask a golf course official.
9-hole scores are combined regardless of where they were played, i.e. a front nine score from Pebble Beach will be combined with a front nine score from Hamilton GCC. The 18-hole combined score is the sum of the 9-hole Course Ratings and the average of the 9-hole Slope Ratings (.5 rounded up).
If the hole’s character and playing length have not been altered and you can play the hole under the Rules of Golf, then you can post your actual score on the hole. Otherwise, you must post par, plus any handicap strokes you would be entitled to on that hole. See Section 4-2 of the Handicap Manual.
Yes, provided the round is played in accordance with the Rules of Golf.
No. A score may not be posted for either ball.