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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.

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.

    • Jim Cowan

      Thank you for your posting. I apologize for the extreme delay in responding but obviously the auto-indicator that a post has been left is not working. Low Handicap Index represents your low Index of the past twelve months. Thanks again – Jim Cowan, Director of Course Rating and Handicapping

  • James Cadle

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

    • Jim Cowan

      Thank you for your post. Within eGolfer you can indicate that you want to post hole-by-hole scores. When in eClubhouse, go to My Game and then Post a Score. You then select HBH posting. You will be asked to enter the hole-by-hole data for the course as well (i.e., hole length, par, stroke holes, etc.). Thanks again, Jim Cowan, Director of Course Rating and Handicapping

  • Adam

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

    • Jim Cowan

      Thank you for your post. I apologize for the extreme delay in responding but obviously the auto-indicator that a post has been left is not working. You need to contact your club. They have the necessary means to perform such corrections/deletions. Thanks again – Jim Cowan, Director of Course Rating and Handicapping

  • 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.

    • Jim Cowan

      Thank you for your post. I apologize for the extreme delay in responding but obviously the auto-indicator that a post has been left is not working. You can add strokes to the Gold tee players or deduct them from Silver, either method will work. The stroke holes should not be impacted. Stroke holes are based on gender, not on the tees being played. Thanks again and congrats on letting people play from different tees in your games. Jim Cowan – Director of Course Rating and Handicapping

  • Dan Erickson

    The committee at our club is attempting to deal with a “sandbagger” situation. Are you familiar with the Knuth point system? Your comments would be appreciated.

    • Jim Cowan

      Thank you for your post. I apologize for the delay in responding but obviously the auto-indicator that a post has been left is not working. Points system, like the Knuth system, are a good way to keep tabs on who might be performing too well in your tournaments. My main concern with such systems is that they call for a reduction in a golfer’s handicap when they accumulate too many points. Since we are dealing, potentially, with a person who is abusing the Handicap System, what is to prevent them from raising their Handicap Index by the amount of the reduction thereby still receiving too many strokes? I personally prefer examining tournament scores versus non-tournament scores. And I especially prefer reviewing a golfer’s “eligible T-scores” (T-scores recorded within the past twelve months). If they are playing to or better than their handicap at much more than a one in five clip in tournaments and/or if their average differential is significantly less than three strokes above their Index, you have a problem and should intervene. You can perform such reviews via the GHP Online Club website. Thanks again, Jim Cowan – Director of Course Rating and Handicapping

      • Wei Mao

        Jim, what of the situation where someone posts TOO many T scores? I recently played in a tournament where the winning player had a score history with 19 T scores!

        • Jim Cowan

          Thank you for your post. It is not up to the individual whether to apply the T or not, it is up to the Committee in charge of the competition to determine whether the tournament is significant enough to warrant a T. So it is not a commentary on the golfer that his record is flooded with T’s, it reflects back on the club/committee conducting the tournaments. In general, the T should be reserved for major tournaments within the club structure, not routine weekly or monthly events of little consequence. Too many T’s is actually a bad thing. It dilutes the ability of the System to identify those golfers that always seem to save their very best play for just the most important tournaments. Thanks again – Jim Cowan, Director of Course Rating and Handicapping

          • Wei Mao

            Thank you for your reply! In this particular circumstance, if a player has entered only 1 round himself, and lets his index be comprised of only scores submitted by the Committee (T scores), isn’t this a form of sandbagging? I noticed that even if he triggers a R, his reduction would be severely limited by the flood of T scores. Is that accurate? Thanks, in advance, for your service!

          • Jim Cowan

            If those are, in fact, his only rounds of golf, then he is doing nothing wrong. If he is playing other rounds of golf and not posting them, that is a different story and his Handicap Committee should consider the same sort of penalty actions that they would for any other golfer not posting all his scores. The fact that he has a lot of T-scores does make him less likely to suffer an automatic Reduction, period. Whether it is 19 T-scores and 1 non-T-score, or 19 T-scores and 50 non-T-scores does not change the dynamic, his T-score “counter” remains set at 19. And it takes two really low T-scores for a Reduction to kick in when a golfer has 19 in his counter. But if they are “legit” T-scores as designated by the committee in charge of the competition, he has done nothing wrong. Thanks – Jim Cowan

  • bob

    I have a friend who just moved and his club made his index inactive. Can he reactivate it through the new state association where he now lives so that he doesn’t have to start over to establish his index

    • Jim Cowan

      Thank you for your post. If the area that your friend has moved to is served by the same handicap service that we use (GHIN), then he simply needs to inform his new club of his existing number and have them enter him onto their roster with this existing number. His scores will all still be there. If the state association uses another service, that association can contact our office and we can forward his scores to them for entry, or, he can simply re-enter his twenty most recent scores into their service. Thanks again, Jim Cowan – Director of Course Rating and Handicapping

  • Roland Coombs

    If all players move to a shorter tee with a lower course rating & slope how are handicaps adjusted?

    • Jim Cowan

      Thank you for your post. If all of you move forward, you simply adjust your Handicap Index to the new, lower Slope Rating of the shorter tees. No other adjustment is necessary, you will all see that your Course Handicaps have declined slightly (if at all). If only some of you move forward AND they are competing against golfers playing the longer tees, then the difference in Course Ratings between the two tees need to be taken into consideration. All those moving forward forfeit the rounded difference in the Course Ratings, or, those playing the longer tees add these strokes to their Course Handicaps. This will level the playing field if short and long tee players compete against each other. Thanks again and have fun playing the shorter tees! Jim Cowan, Director of Course Rating and Handicapping

  • MikeNDavis

    Does the NCGA maintain a handicap history of its members?

    • Jim Cowan

      Thank you for your post. Our handicap service provider does maintain such a history going back a few years. It is dependent on you maintaining an active membership at the same club throughout that time period. Your club would have access to this info or you can email someone in our Handicap Dept. Thanks again, Jim Cowan – Director of Course Rating and Handicapping

  • Tony de Alcuaz

    Is there a way to correct scores that are posted on the site? I entered two round with the incorrect dates.

    • Jim Cowan

      Thank you for your post. You will need to contact your club, they have the necessary means to perform such corrections. Thanks again, Jim Cowan, Director of Course Rating and Handicapping

  • Palmer Emmitt

    Why do I have an “L” next to my handicap? All of the explanations I’m finding say that L means “local handicap” when you have an index over 36.4, but that doesn’t apply to me (7.5). Why is mine an L and how does that affect me for tournament play?

    • Jim Cowan

      Thank you for your post. It depends on where you are seeing the L. Chances are you are looking at a Trend handicap. A Trend is an unofficial calculation made between revision dates based on your 20 most recent rounds as of that second. In other words, a calculation that includes the score you just posted. Such a calculation has no official status. Thanks again – Jim Cowan, Director of Course Rating and Handicapping

  • Bruce Hoffman

    We have a person who has moved to our area, Sacramento, and would like to join our golf club. He is moving from Nevada and currently belongs to the Northern Nevada Golf Association and has a handicap. Is he required to join the NCGA as a new member or can his membership from Nevada be transferred? If he needs to join the NCGA as a new member, how can be keep his current handicap?

    • Jim Cowan

      Thank you for your post. Add him to your roster with his existing GHIN number. His scores/handicap will transfer over to your club. Thanks again. Jim Cowan, Director of Course Rating and Handicapping

  • David F

    We just played a course using their combo tees (some white and some blue). How do courses select which holes have which tee box? Do they need to be re-rated or can you adjust the rating based upon new yardage?

    • Jim Cowan

      Thank you for your post. Normally the course, in concert with their membership, pieces the combo tees together. Often times they put together a package that results in a desired overall length (i.e., 5,800 yards). Or they opt for shorter tees on those holes that feature a significant “carry” over trouble on the tee shot. Or they opt for shorter tees on those holes that feature a significant dogleg (i.e., want to make sure their shorter hitters can reach the elbow of the dogleg). Some courses even mix up their combination of tees for esthetic reasons (i.e., allowing a White tee golfer to see a stunning view from the Blue tees). The issuance of a Combo tee rating does NOT usually require a visit to the course. In almost all instances we can piece the rating together from info in our files. Thanks again, Jim Cowan, Director of Course Rating and Handicapping

  • gregory zorbach

    How do I delete an incorrectly posted score? I am the Handicap Chairman of our club and was interrupted while entering the adjusted scores for our club’s latest outing. Upon continuing, I posted the score for one member incorrectly (same last name as another member.)

    • Jim Cowan

      Thank you for your post. It looks like your club uses the GHP-Online Club website to perform your roster transactions, etc. Highlight the member’s name within your roster (within GHP-Online Club) and select Score Maintenance. You can then spot the score in question, click Edit, and then change what needs to be changed. If you require assistance, phone our office (831-625-4653) and ask for Martin or Kate in the Handicap Dept. They will walk you through the process. Thanks again – Jim Cowan, Director of Course Rating and Handicapping

  • BobG

    During a practice round of golf multiple balls may be played from various positions, putts picked up, and holes not completed. Essentially these rounds are practice and not played according the rules of golf. Is it required to post some sort of score from these practice rounds?

    • Jim Cowan

      Thank you for your post. Such scores are not made in accordance with the principles of Rules of Golf, so the scores cannot be posted. However, a golfer needs to tread carefully here. If his Handicap Committee comes to the conclusion that the golfer is hitting multiple balls on holes just so he can avoid posting (i.e., starts hitting extra balls to avoid posting a good score), they can and should take penalty action against the player. Thanks again, Jim Cowan, Director of Course Rating and Handicapping

  • dboake

    just set up an ncga account and entered scores dating back 1 year. handicap is listed as NH. when will my handicap be computed? thanks.

    • Jim Cowan

      Thank you for your post. Handicaps are only updated/issued on the 1st and 15th of each month. Assuming you have a sufficient number of scores posted (a minimum of five), you will be issued a Handicap Index on July 1st. Thanks again – Jim Cowan, Director of Course Rating and Handicapping

  • john

    how do I change an incorrect score I just posted

    • Jim Cowan

      Go down a couple of posts, the question has been answered several times. Thanks.

  • kyle

    I just joined the NCGA e-club and there is an upcoming stroke play qualifier tournament that I would like to play on 7/12 in Stevinson CA. I have entered my previous 8 scores from the last couple months however my GHIN # will not update until 7/15 as I understand it. Can I still play in the tournament and is there any way a manual update can be done before-hand so I will have an official handicap prior to playing in the tournament? Thanks

    • Sam Staton

      Hi Kyle,
      I run the eClub events and your situation comes up often. We always want club members to participate in events, so we would be happy to help you. We can run an update to your handicap using the scores you have posted for the event. However, since the event is this Saturday, you will want to contact me as soon as possible so I can get this taken care of before the event. You can ask for me directly by calling 831-625-4653.
      Thanks,
      Sam

  • V Lico

    In tournament play can the type (brand ) of ball be changed during a round?

  • http://ncga.org Ryan

    V Lico,
    Rule 15-1 requires that the player hole out with the ball played from the teeing ground on any specific hole. However, the player may change balls between the play of two holes without penalty. When the Committee has adopted the “One Ball” condition as specified in Appendix I, the balls a player plays must be of the same brand and model as detailed by a single entry on the current List of Conforming Balls. Otherwise, the player may change the brand of ball between holes.

    Ryan Gregg, Director of Rules and Competitions

  • Terry

    What is the maximum index for a player ???? Is this the same for a woman ????

    • Jim Cowan

      Thank you for your post. The maximum Handicap Index for men is 36.4, for women it is 40.4. Of course, these max Handicap Index can convert to Course Handicaps much higher on courses with high Slope Ratings. Thanks again, Jim Cowan, Director of Course Rating and Handicapping

  • Jay Chatfield

    I accidentally posted the same score twice how do I remove the second score

    • Jim Cowan

      Thank you for your email. You will need to contact your club (i.e., Handicap Committee at a traditional club; Membership Dept for eClub members). They have the necessary means to perform such corrections/deletions. Thanks again – Jim Cowan, Director of Course Rating and Handicapping

  • pete barsamian

    How long do you have to post a score after you have played?

    • Jim Cowan

      Thank you for your post. The USGA Handicap System expects a score to be posted immediately after the round, ideally at the course that the round was completed. That is why the NCGA has installed score posting computers at virtually every course in Northern California. Thanks again, Jim Cowan, Director of Course Rating and Handicapping

      • Denny Barringer

        Not sure I get this. You never answered his question. How long do you have to post the score? My guess would be you have to post the score prior to the cutoff point for the new index to be calculated.

        • Jim Cowan

          Thank you for your post. There is no set time limit (i.e., nothing that says within 48 hours). It is understood that scores are to be posted immediately after play. Handicapping is based on fellow golfers having an absolute right to review the postings of others to confirm that scores have been entered correctly. Holding onto a score for no good reason and posting when they please (even if before a revision) reduces this opportunity to review a score and weakens the Handicap System. Setting some sort of limit would also give some golfers a license to manipulate their handicaps. We get enough reports of a golfer failing to post a good score from Saturday right away, but posting their bad round from Sunday in a timely manner just before Monday’s revision. If something was put in writing that gave them leeway of a few days, there would be even more manipulation. Thanks again – Jim Cowan, Director of Course Rating and Handicapping

  • Lisa Symons

    Do tournament scores weigh more heavily in calculating the Index?

    • Jim Cowan

      Thank you for your post. The answer is yes and no. A USGA Handicap Index is intended to represent 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 T-scores of the past twelve months. In performing the best 10 of 20 calculation, all scores are treated equally. But low T-scores do have the potential to have an impact on an Index long after they have worked their way out of a golfer’s 20 most recent rounds. Low T-scores can, in fact, impact a calculation for up to twelve months. Thanks again – Jim Cowan, Director of Course Rating and Handicapping

  • dboake

    i recently played in scotland and want to post the scores. is that possible or is index just for US courses?

    • Jim Cowan

      dboake, thank you for your post. In order to post a score, the course must have a USGA Course Rating and Slope Rating. Much of the world has adopted the USGA Course Rating System and Scotland is licensed to issue USGA ratings, but I am not sure whether they have rated all their courses (and/or published all their ratings). If you can find such USGA ratings on their card or website, post away (select “Manual” posting and hand-enter the values). If not, the scores cannot be posted. Thanks again, hope you had a great trip. Jim Cowan, Director of Course Rating and Handicapping

  • John Sloan

    I recently played 3 courses in Canada and I wanted to post my scores, also. Is it possible?

    • Jim Cowan

      John, thank you for your post. See the message below. Canada definitely rates under the USGA Course Rating System and I would be shocked if you cannot find the appropriate ratings via a scorecard or website. That being said, you cannot look up the ratings via our internet score posting link. You will need to hand-enter them via the Manual post feature. Thanks again, Jim Cowan, Director of Course Rating and Handicapping

  • Allen Carter

    I’m the team captain for our NCGA Travel Team competition. I have a female player who has a current index of 11.2 and will be playing in competition from red tees which are sloped at 119 with a rating of 71.1. Is her handicap based purely on the slope which would be a course handicap of 12? Or, is it a 14?

    • Jim Cowan

      Thank you for your post. The first step would be to convert her Handicap Index into a Course Handicap just like everyone else. An 11.2 playing a 119 Slope would convert to a 12. At this point you need to compare the Course Rating of her tees with that of her opponents. And whoever is playing the set of tees with the higher Course Rating receives additional strokes equal to the difference in the ratings (.5 rounds up). If her Course Rating rounds to two strokes higher than her male counterparts, she would add these two strokes to her 12 and play as a 14. If the men’s Course Rating was higher, her opponents would add the difference to their Course Handicaps. Thanks again, Jim Cowan, Director of Course Rating and Handicapping

      • Allen Carter

        Ok so, for example, our red tees are 119 slope with a 70.5 slope rating. Our white tees are 126 slope with 68.7 rating. The female is playing from the red tees and everyone else is playing from the white tees so with her 11.2 index she will get a 14 handicap?

        • Jim Cowan

          Since her Course Rating rounds to two strokes higher than the men she is competing against, she adds the two strokes to the Course Handicap arrived by the normal means. 12 + these two strokes = 14. If she was not competing against men playing an easier set of tees, she would just be a 12. Thanks again – Jim Cowan

          • Allen Carter

            She is playing from the easier tees, the men are on the white tees and she is one the red tees. Maybe I’m dense, but I’m having a hard time understanding.

          • Jim Cowan

            The adjustment is based on the COURSE RATINGS, not the Slope Ratings. She is playing a set of tees deemed two strokes more difficult (her Red tee Course Rating of 70.5 – 68.7 = 1.8, round to 2). Without the adjustment, if she scores exactly to her handicap, she is going to shoot a net score of around 71 (her Course Rating). If a man plays exactly to his handicap, he is going to shoot a net 69 from his tees. So without the adjustment, the man beats the woman by two strokes every time (which isn’t right). She needs the extra two strokes to compensate for the fact that she is playing a set of tees two strokes harder. Now if they both play to their handicap, they tie each other. Thanks. Jim Cowan

          • Allen Carter

            Ok, finally get it. What was hanging me up is the fact that our red tees are rated higher than our white tees. It doesn’t make sense to me to get two extra strokes from a tee that in reality is closer and easier. Thanks for your patience with me, I appreciate your help.

            Sent from Allen Carter’s IPhone

          • Jim Cowan

            The Red tees may be shorter and easier for a man, but not a woman. Proportionately, the Red tees actually play longer/tougher for women than the White tees do for men. One last thing, a Slope Rating alone is not an accurate gauge of difficulty. The Course Rating is a far better representation. Thanks again, Jim Cowan

  • Austin Schwing

    I need to correct erase a score from my handicap. It was in a tournament and our tournament commissioner posted my score after I had already done so, so it is double-counting. Is there a feature on the website that will allow me to do that? Thanks.

    • Jim Cowan

      Austin, thank you for your post. You will need to contact your club to have a score edited/deleted. Thanks again – Jim Cowan, Director of Course Rating and Handicapping

  • BigDaddy

    I entered my score twice by accident. How do I delete one?

    • Jim Cowan

      Just read the question/answer below. Thanks.

  • Joe

    I just entered several months of scores….. how long will it take to receive my trending index?

    • Jim Cowan

      Joe, thank you for your post. Handicaps are only issued on the 1st and 15th of each month. Assuming you have entered at least five 18-hole rounds, you will be issued a Handicap Index on August 15th. Thanks again, Jim Cowan, Director of Course Rating and Handicapping

  • gene

    why is there a R after the index number (18.4R)

    • Jim Cowan

      Gene, thank you for your post. The R would indicate that your Handicap Index has been Reduced due to exceptional Tournament scores. The goal of the USGA Handicap System is to issue a Handicap Index which best represents a golfer’s “potential” ability. “Potential,” for these purposes, is arrived at via a review of a golfer’s best 10 of 20 most recent rounds, AND, by a review of a golfer’s two best T-scores of the past twelve months. If the System feels the gap between a golfer’s current best 10 of 20 number and the average of these two T-scores is too wide, an automatic reduction kicks in. This is how every handicap in the country is computed. Thanks again, Jim Cowan, Director of Course Rating and Handicapping

  • Eric Hubbard

    My handicap is 24 and my lowest score so far is 89. I’ve been getting better and I shot a 86 yesterday from the combo tees at Empire Ranch. However, when I try and post the score it’s saying the score is outside my “normal range.” It asked if I wanted to post it anyway which I did. Will this score go towards my handicap when the next revisions come out?

    • Jim Cowan

      Thank you for your post and congrats on your low round. The score has made it into your record. As a precaution, the score posting mechanism has been programmed to prompt a golfer whenever they attempt to post a score much lower or much higher than normal. Basically a safeguard to ensure that the golfer entered their NCGA/GHIN number correctly and isn’t accidentally posting the round to another golfer’s record. Consider it a compliment that it prompted you for such a low score. Thanks again, Jim Cowan, Director of Course Rating and Handicapping

  • Pat Hallahan

    I posted several away scores and forgot to put in the correct date. So, the date played showed todays date. How do I correct the error.

    • Jim Cowan

      Pat, thank you for your post. You will need to contact your club. They can perform he edits. Thanks again – Jim Cowan, Director of Course Rating and Handicapping

  • Vince Petrucci

    My wife and I have played about 20 rounds over the past two months, and while I’ve tried to indicate which tees we are laying from, over half of the posted scores for my wife have been entered from the wrong tees, thus incorrectly reflecting the wrong slope. What can I do to get this corrected for these past scores?

    • Jim Cowan

      Vince, thank you for your post. Contact your club to edit these scores. Thanks again – Jim Cowan, Director of Course Rating and Handicapping

  • Dori Grose

    I played a round Sunday and the NCGA system will not let me post it – says it is outside the golfer’s normal range. I have a 30 index and the round was 97 on a course with slope of 129. How will I ever lower my index if the system only lets me post scores in my “normal range”?

    • Jim Cowan

      Thank you for your post. Send the details of the round to me (jcowan@ncga.org) and I will get the score in. The score is clearly much lower than anything you have posted before. So much so, that the System wants to confirm that you have not entered your i.d. number incorrectly and that the score will got go into the wrong person’s record. Thanks again and congrats on the low round. Jim Cowan, Director of Course Rating and Handicapping

  • Rick Millard

    I’ve recently played in NCGA Senior 4 Ball event and was told that tournament scores would be posted by the committee. It has been a week and scores have not been posted. Is it normal for posting to take this long at NCGA event?

    • Jim Cowan

      Rick, thank you for your post. Our Rule and Competition posts those scores and “yes,” it can take a week or more. Our volunteer staff that runs the qualifiers has to mail the scorecards into our office, where the scores are checked and eventually posted. That’s a lot of cards to review and a lot of scores to enter. Thanks again – Jim Cowan, Director of Course Rating and Handicapping

  • Steve Elkcims

    I understand T Scores look back period is 12 months. What T scores in the past 12 months are used? E.G., In the past 12 months, a lower T score was recorded later than the two T scores that are being utilized for the current Index. Do the two lowest or “best” T scores count immediately or are T scores valid for 12 months before they get replaced by a newer one, even if one shoots a lower T score before the 12 months have expired?.

    • Jim Cowan

      Why, are you planning on shooting a bunch of really low T-scores? Seriously Steve, thank you for your comment. If you post fewer than 20 rounds per year, the two lowest T-scores among your 20 most recently posted rounds will be focused on. If you post more than 20 rounds per year, it is the two lowest T-scores of the past twelve months, period. So if you post a new real low T-score today, it could immediately (as of the next handicap revision) assume a spot among the top two (and bump the second lowest T-score into the third spot). Likewise, if one of your top two T-scores expires (i.e., become older than twelve months), the third lowest T-score of the past twelve months will move up and assume the number two spot. Thanks again – Jim Cowan, Director of Course Rating and Handicapping

      • Steve Elkcims

        Got it, thanks. Our club has a tournament every weekend here in Kauai, which is about 1/3rd of my golf games.

  • Robert Hager

    Hi I am also having the same issue where it will not let me post an 89. Whatbis strange is I am a 21 handicap so 89 doesnt seen crazy

    • Jim Cowan

      Robert, thank you for your post. It’s not so much the score, it is the differential that is derived from the score. So if the round was recorded from a set of tees with a Course Rating of 74, the differential could be much lower than normal. If from a set of tees with a Course Rating of 62, it could be much higher than normal (I hope you didn’t try to post the score against a 9-hole rating). Feel free to email me the details. Thanks again.

      • Robert Hager

        What is your email address please?

  • Cass

    Gregg Cass. I am a member of NCGA and Saddle Creek . My index is 16.6, handicap 18 from Gold tees, slope 121. I often play club tournaments with players who play from the white tees. I am required to play to a 15 handicap with the explanation that the rating for white tees is 3 strokes higher. I protest. I always play from the Gold tees and now I have to play 3 strokes better than my ability. I cannot all of a sudden improve my game. The white tee players have a big advantage over me. It’s not fair. I do not buy the index argument.

    • Jim Cowan

      Gregg, thank you for your post. The adjustment is correct, the White tee golfers do NOT have an advantage over you, and you do NOT have to upgrade your game by three strokes to compete. Your Gold tees carry a Course Rating of 66.5. This means that if you go out and play exactly to your handicap from these tees, you are going to shoot a net score of 66.5. The White tees carry a Course Rating of 70.0 meaning that if one of them goes out and plays exactly to their handicap that day, they will shoot a net score of 70. So without any adjustment, if you both go out and play to your handicap, you beat the White tee golfer by 3.5 strokes every time in a net competition . . . now that wouldn’t be fair. Heck, you can even go out and shoot a gross 88 and tie a White tee golfer who played exactly to his handicap. You need to forfeit three strokes (actually four since the USGA recommendation is that the 3.5 stroke difference be rounded to four strokes) to level the playing field so that if you and a White tee golfer both play to your handicap, you tie each other net-wise. Without the adjustment, you have a 3.5 stroke head start on all the White tee golfers in a net event. Thanks again – Jim Cowan, Director of Course Rating and Handicapping

  • jbe3382

    I incorrectly posted a score. How can I revise?

    • Jim Cowan

      Contact your club to have a score edited/deleted. Thanks – Jim Cowan, Director of Course Rating and Handicapping

  • Luke

    Does the NCGA keep handicap history for past years? If so where do I find that info?

    • Jim Cowan

      Luke, thank you for your post. Our handicap service has scores going back to mid-2008 and a record of a golfer’s Handicap Index going back to 2006 (assuming the golfer has not let their membership lapse). This info is readily available to me (but not via a website for you). Send me an email (jcowan@ncga.org) and I will send you what I can. Thanks again – Jim Cowan, Director of Course Rating and Handicapping

  • David F

    My Online GHIN Handicap Program includes an Avg. Diff. calculation on the Score Maintenance page. How many scores are included in this average? It does not appear to be the last 20 scores. Is this used for anything within the GHIN Program?

    • Jim Cowan

      David F, thank you for your post. It is an average of all the scores displayed/filtered at that time. So if you filter just T-scores, it will be an average of all the T-scores GHIN has on record for you. If you filter just Home scores, it will be an average of all the Home scores you have on record. If you filter Home scores played on a Wednesday, it will be an average of that. Such an average does not have an impact on your handicap calculation. Rather, it is a tool for a Handicap Committee to utilize. For example, it can confirm and provide indisputable evidence that a particular member tends to play much better in tournaments than non-tournament rounds. Thanks again – Jim Cowan, Director of Course Rating and Handicapping

  • Pat Murphy

    How does a nine hole score figure into your handicap?

    • Jim Cowan

      Pat, thank you for your post. A 9-hole score by itself, does NOT figure into the calculation of a so-called 18-hole Handicap Index. When combined with a second 9-hole score, however, the Combined score (identified by the letter “C”) is treated just like any other 18-hole Home or Away score. Meaning that the C-score is eligible to be included among the best 10 of 20 most differentials that go into the handicap calculation. Thanks again. Jim Cowan, Director of Course Rating and Handicapping

      • Pat Murphy

        Thank you.

  • David

    How often does the system recalculate your index I posted a score the other which should have made a difference haven’t seen the index change yet Thank you!

    • Jim Cowan

      David, thank you for your post. Handicaps are revised/issued on the 1st and 15th of each month. Thanks again, Jim Cowan, Director of Course Rating and Handicapping

  • Jim Pacini

    I have been playing really good golf lately and consequently my index has been reduced. I have no issues with a reduction, however I thought the rule was that an index could not be reduced by more than two index points in a single month. Mine was reduced from a 13.3 to a 10.9

    • Jim Cowan

      Jim, thank you for your post. There is no such limit in the USGA Handicap System. A fresh and independent calculation is performed twice a month. Any previous calculation has no impact on the current calculation. Thanks again, Jim Cowan, Director of Course Rating and Handicapping

      • Jim Pacini

        Ok, thanks. I appreciate your assistance.

  • Tom Toomey

    I posted an incorrect score how do I change to the correct score.

    • Jim Cowan

      Tom, you will need to contact your club. Thanks. Jim Cowan, Director of Course Rating and Handicapping

      • Tom Toomey

        I’m an e club member, anything I can do?

        • Jim Cowan

          Tom, send me an email with the details (jcowan@ncga.org). In the future you will want to contact our Membership Dept with such issues. They provide the admin support to our eClub members. Thanks again – Jim Cowan

  • Dean

    I recently posted a score twice, how can I remove one?

    • Jim Cowan

      Dean, please see the previous question/answer. Thanks. Jim Cowan

  • Jim Cowan

    Dean, see the previous question/answer. Thanks. Jim Cowan

  • Pendragon63

    Our golf course is in tough shape right now and, until such time as the course conditions improve, the men’s club has implemented a “lift, clean, and place” policy for all events. As such, no scores are posted as tournament scores, regardless of the significance of the event. We just completed the club championship, and the question has been raised as to whether those scores should be posted as “T” scores. I don’t see where the USGA rules cover such a scenario specifically. What should we be doing?

    • Jim Cowan

      Thank you for your post. The USGA Handicap System is proactive when it comes to posting scores played under preferred lies. That is, the System says such scores shall be posted unless conditions are so poor as to not warrant posting. So if the course is still playing to its ratings (i.e., the “tough shape” you are describing does not include balls rolling forever and the course playing ridiculously shorter), then scores need to be posted . . . and if it was a significant event within the club, the “T” should be applied. In reality, it is the significance of the event that should drive the decision, not the fact that preferred lies are in play. Of course, if the course is not playing to its ratings, all score posting should be suspended until the course comes back. Thanks again – Jim Cowan, Director of Course Rating and Handicapping

  • chet iacobitti

    What is the correct procedure for posting a score? Is it the raw score after the round or is it the score after all handicap strokes are taken?

    • Jim Cowan

      Thank you for your post. You post your adjusted gross score (adjusted for Equitable Stroke Control). Here is a link to an explanation of how ESC works: (you want Section 4-3) http://www.usga.org/Rule-Books/Handicap-System-Manual/Rule-04/ Thanks again. Jim Cowan, Director of Course Rating and Handicapping

  • Nick R

    Jim, when I play net games with our group we vary between spinning off the low handicapper, or giving each player their full allotment of strokes where they fall on the card. I kept separate cards a few times, and noticed the results were different. Does the NCGA/USGA recommend one way over the other of allotting handicap strokes? Thanks in advance!

    • Jim Cowan

      Thank you for your post. It all depends on the format. In match play of any sort, you definitely want to spin off the low and play with what is left. In a four-ball (better-ball) or best two net of four, you want to give everybody their strokes where they fall (after applying appropriate allowances (i.e., 90% of Course Handicap)). If you have any specific formats that you want to discuss, fire me an email (jcowan@ncga.org) describing the form of play. Thanks again – Jim Cowan, Director of Course Rating and Handicapping

  • Eric

    My question deals with scores that are lower than the course rating.
    Shouldn’t there be an adjustment for these sub zero scores in which you would swap the course slope with the standard of 113 in the formula.

    This example makes no sense to me:

    Score shot 65 on a course of 70.0/113 = -5.0 differential
    Score shot 65 on a course of 70.0/130 = -4.3 differential
    Score shot 65 on a course of 70.0/100 = -5.7 differential

    It does not seem right that the easiest course receives the lowest differential.

    Thanks

    • Jim Cowan

      Eric, thank you for your post. One practical way to view this is that low Sloped courses tend to carry Course Ratings well below par; high Sloped courses tend to carry Course Ratings above par. So you don’t have to score very much below par on a high Sloped course to be five under the Course Rating; you have to score a remarkable number of strokes under par on a low Sloped course to be five under the Course Rating. For example, the back tee rating at Spyglass is 75.5. All a golfer has to do is score one or two under par to come in five strokes below the rating . . . many such scores are recorded each year in our tournaments. And the Course Record at Spyglass is nearly 14 strokes under the Course Rating! To score five under the Course Rating at nearby Pacific Grove requires a score seven under par, and I would be willing to bet that few such scores are recorded. Heck, the Course Record for Pacific Grove is only about eight strokes under the Course Rating. The reason for this is that low Sloped courses tend to squeeze scores together, high Sloped courses tend to spread them out. That’s why a scratch golfer finds that he has to give a 20.0 23 strokes from a set of tees with a 130 Slope, while only giving him 18 strokes from a set of tees with a 100 Slope. For these same reasons, a scratch golfer would find that he actually receives six strokes from a +5.0 on a 130 Slope (the +5.0′s Course Handicap would move to a +6) and that he would only receive four strokes on a 100 Slope. The lower the Slope rating, the more the scratch golfer’s game can “hang” with the +5.0. On a high Sloped course, the superiority of the +5.0′s game is only magnified versus the scratch. With this all in mind, it is easier to score 5.0 strokes under the Course Rating on a high Sloped course where scores tend to spread out (and the Course Rating tend to be over par). It is more difficult to score 5.0 strokes under the Course rating on a low Sloped course where scores tend to come together (and the Course Rating tend to be under par). So scoring 5.0 under the Course Rating is considered more remarkable on a low Sloped course than a high, and that is why a better differential is awarded to it. I know it’s a difficult concept to wrap your head around. Thanks again, Jim Cowan, Director of Course Rating and Handicapping

      • Eric

        That was an outstanding, well thought out answer. It makes perfect sense. I really appreciate your time in giving such a detailed response. Best of luck!

        Eric

  • reberle

    What is the formula for figuring course hdcp from different tees. I have some older players in my club and they want to play from the gold tees while everyone else plays from the white tees. How do I adjust their hdcp?

    • Jim Cowan

      Reberle, thank you for your post. Shorter tees mean lower Course Ratings which means lower net scores. If those moving up to Gold are going to be competing against those playing White, they are going to have to forfeit some strokes (or the White tee golfers are going to have to be awarded additional strokes). The first step is to apply the Gold tee golfer’s Handicap Index to the Gold tee Slope Rating. Once the Course Handicap has been determined, the next step is to calculate the difference in Course Ratings between the two tees. You round this difference to the nearest whole stroke (.5 rounds up) and then subtract this difference from the Course Handicap of those playing Gold (or add it to the Course Handicap of those playing White). In doing so, you have now leveled the playing field. Here is a link to an explanation/examples of this procedure. You want Section 3-5. http://www.usga.org/Rule-Books/Handicap-System-Manual/Rule-03/ Thanks again, Jim Cowan, Director of Course Rating and Handicapping