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Query the Handicap Expert

hdcpmanualHave a question on the USGA Handicap System you want answered? Have an argument that needs to be resolved? Did you get “sandbagged” last weekend and want to know what you can do about it?

The NCGA wants your assistance in providing more information on the USGA Handicap System.

Put the NCGA’s handicap experts to the test. Submit your question/situation below or by e-mail and receive a quick answer. The NCGA offers an online handicap certification seminar as well as live seminars each year.

More information on handicapping can be found in the USGA Handicap System manual.

Author: Scott Seward

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  • Earl Jackson

    Why can’t I post a score from a course that is in its “off-season”?

    • Jim Cowan

      I apologize for the delay in responding but I was unaware that this aspect of the site had been reactivated.

      Each State and regional golf association is charged with determining an active season for score posting and an inactive season. That is, the time period when, generally speaking, courses “play” to their ratings and when they do not. For much of the country, climate dictates this decision. For example, in my native Pacific Northwest score posting is not permitted from late November thru February due to the wetness of the courses. The feeling being that courses, as a rule, do not play to their ratings during this time and that posting scores could, therefore, skew a Handicap Index. So that is why you cannot post a score from an off-season course, even if you caught it on a nice day. Thanks again – Jim Cowan, Director of Course Rating and Handicapping

  • gregory zorbach

    what does the “R” signify after two of my members’ GHINs?

    • Jim Cowan

      I apologize for the delay in responding but I was unaware that this aspect of the site had been reactivated.
      The goal of the USGA Handicap System is to issue a Handicap Index that best represents a golfer’s “potential” ability. “Potential,” for these purposes, is measured by a review of a golfer’s best 10 of 20 most recent rounds, AND, by a review of a golfer’s two best Tournament Scores of the past twelve months. Basically the System looks at the size of the gap between the current best 10 of 20 calculation and the average of the two best T-scores. If the System feels the gap is too wide, an automatic reduction kicks in (reduction to the best 10 of 20 number). This reduction is denoted by an “R.” This is how every handicap is computed in the country. Thanks again, Jim Cowan – Director of Course Rating and Handicapping

  • Rob

    what is the difference between posting using home versus away?

    • Jim Cowan

      Thank you for your post. Whether a round has been denoted as “Home” or “Away” has absolutely no impact on the handicap calculation. Both scores are treated identically. The Home or Away designation just makes it easier for you, your Handicap Committee, and your fellow members to identify the rounds. Thanks again, Jim Cowan – Director of Course Rating and Handicapping

  • frank

    can i edit a score that has been entered?

    • Jim Cowan

      Thank you for your post. I apologize for the delay in responding but the automatic alert feature when a new post has been recorded is not yet kicking in. You will need to contact your club to edit the score. They have the necessary means to perform any edits or deletions. Thanks again, Jim Cowan, Director of Course Rating and Handicapping

  • skip

    I entered a score, but forgot to set the date, I played Jan 27, 2014, however the date recorded as today Mar 15. Is there a way to change that? Does it matter, other than others will think I was in Maui when I was not.

    • Jim Cowan

      Please see my response to the previous post. It does make a difference as it relates to the order that the score will eventually fall off. As you are probably aware, a handicap is based on your best 10 of 20 most recent rounds, so maintaining the correct chronological order of your rounds is important. Thanks again, hope you had a great trip! Jim Cowan, Director of Course Rating and Handicapping

  • David Allen

    I changed my home course last November, and now my handicap calculation does not update. It shows NH.
    Is it because I do not play with other members? (I am playing away courses).
    I am trying to keep a legitimate HC Index for club tournaments this summer.
    Thanks,

    • Jim Cowan

      Thank you for your comment. We have several David Allen’s in our membership, so it took me awhile to zero in on your record. I just logged into our website with your number and last name and it displayed a current Handicap Index of 10.8. You should be able to see the same. You should also be receiving your eRevision on the morning of the 1st and 15th of each month displaying your current Index. If you do not receive such an eRevision for April 1st and/or you cannot see your Index when logging into our site, email me at jcowan@ncga.org and we will try to get to the bottom of the problem. Thanks again – Jim Cowan, Director of Course Rating and Handicapping

  • Phillip Sexton

    Jim:

    Our club just had a three club and a putter four ball tournament. Should those scores be posted? Everything was according to the Rules of Golf. Should we be posting any four ball scores. Thank you.

    • Jim Cowan

      Thank you for your comment. The three club and putter score represents one of the few times that a score cannot be posted. Here is a link to the Section of the USGA Handicap System manual that deals with those times you cannot post. You want Section 5-1e. http://www.usga.org/Rule-Books/Handicap-System-Manual/Rule-05/ The Handicap System absolutely requires the posting of standard four-ball (i.e., better-ball) rounds when a full arsenal of 14 clubs is permitted. Thanks again, I hope you had a fun tournament. Jim Cowan – Director of Course Rating and Handicapping

  • bill mann

    question how can I find my past golf scores for 2009, 2010, and 2011 my gin # 5688322 name bill mann

    • Jim Cowan

      Thank you for your email. Your current club (and/or current golf association) can probably help you out. Generally speaking, GHIN has scores going back to the summer of 2008, assuming that your membership has been active that long. Thanks again, Jim Cowan – Director of Course Rating and Handicapping

  • James Cadle

    Please define the term “low handicap index”. I’ve chased all over online, but cannot find a definition. Thanks, Jim.

  • James Cadle

    Second question: How may I post hole-by-hole scores to NCGA?

  • Adam

    I accidentally entered a score twice – how do I delete the duplicate?

  • Phillip Sexton

    Jim:
    Recently, several players in our group started playing from the senior tees (Silver). The rest of the players are playing from the middle tees (Gold) Based on the course rating there is a two stroke difference in tees. Does it make a difference to reduce the Silver tee players two handicap strokes rather than adjust the Gold Tee players an additional two strokes? Would this have any affect on the on games where the handicap for each hole is involved? Thank you.