Supporting and promoting golf in Northern California

10-3 Reduction of Handicap Index Based on Exceptional Tournament Scores

Using the definition of a tournament score (see tournament score and Decisions 10-3/1 through 10-3/6), the committee (preferably the Handicap Committee in consultation with the committee in charge of the competition) must determine in advance whether a score is to be designated as a tournament score that is to be identified by the letter “T” when posted (e.g., 82T). These scores are often referred to as “T-Scores” as in Section 10-3c.

 a. Procedure

The following procedure must be used as an alternate calculation of a Handicap Index for players with two or more eligible tournament scores. A player’s Handicap Index may be reduced under this procedure when a player has a minimum of two eligible tournament score differentials that are at least 3.0 better than the player’s Handicap Index calculated under Section 10-2.

The Handicap Committee or handicap computation service must apply the following steps to determine if there is a reduction in Handicap Index calculated under Section 10-2.

b. Steps

Example: A player with a Handicap Index of 17.3 has three eligible tournament scores, an 82T, 83T and 85T. Two of these eligible tournament scores, an 82T and 83T, produce the lowest tournament score differentials. They were made on a course with a USGA Course Rating of 70.6 and a Slope Rating of 130.

Step 1: Calculate tournament score differentials by subtracting the USGA Course Rating from each eligible tournament score; multiply the result by 113, and divide by the Slope Rating for each course played. Select the two lowest eligible tournament score differentials.

82T - (82-70.6) X 113 / 130 = 9.9
83T - (83-70.6) X 113 / 130 = 10.8
85T - (85-70.6) X 113 / 130 = 12.5

 Step 2: Subtract the second lowest differential from the Handicap Index under Section 10-2. Continue with the next step if the result is 3.0 or greater.

17.3 - 10.8 = 6.5
2nd lowest
T Score differential
3.0 or greater eligible
for 10.3 review

Step 3: Average the two lowest tournament score differentials.

9.9 + 10.8 / 2 = 10.35
2 best T-score
Differential average
of 2 lowest T-scores

Step 4: Subtract that average from the player’s Handicap Index.

17.3 – 10.35 = 6.95 (rounded to 7.0)
Use this value and number of eligible
tournament scores to enter
the Handicap Reduction Table

Step 5: Using the number (rounded to the nearest tenths place (7.0) from step 4 and the total number of tournament scores in the player’s record (3), use the Handicap Reduction Table to determine the amount the player’s Handicap Index is to be reduced.

Step 6: Subtract the table value from the player’s Handicap Index. The result of that subtraction will be the player’s reduced Handicap Index, provided that it is at least 1.0 less than the Handicap Index based on the formula in Section 10-2. The reduced Handicap Index is to be identified with the letter R when displayed in handicap reports or on the computer screen, e.g., 12.3R.

17.3 - 5.0 = 12.3R
Amount Handicap Reduction table
states to reduce the handicap
New Reduced
Handicap Index



Value from Handicap Reduction Table = 5.0

Handicap Index — Table Value: 17.3 – 5.0 = 12.3

Reduced Handicap Index: 12.3R

c. Counting Tournament Scores

  • T-Score Counter — The number of eligible tournament scores will be counted on a revolving twelve-month basis. In order to keep track of the counter, but not save every T-Score, a counter for each month is needed. The T-Score counter will contain the sum of the latest twelve monthly counters plus any T-Scores older than one year that are a part of the twenty score history. The monthly counter will increase based on the date a score is processed, not the date of the score.
  • Best T-Score File – Up to the best six eligible tournament scores are saved in a “Best T-Score File,” separate from the player’s handicap record of the latest 20 scores.
  • Adding T-Scores – When a new tournament score is posted, it becomes part of the player’s normal handicap record as a score and Handicap Differential. If the “Best T-Score File” has fewer than six eligible tournament scores, the new T-Score is added to that file. If the file already has six T-Scores, the new T-Score, if better than any T-Score in the file, is added to the file and the worst T-Score in the file is deleted, regardless of the date of the T-Score.
  • Discarding Old T-Scores – At each handicap revision, each T-Score in the “Best T-Score File” is checked to see if the score is older than one year and no longer part of the player’s current twenty score history. If so, the score is deleted from the file. Deleted T-Scores are replaced by the best eligible tournament score (if any) in the player’s handicap record that are not already in the “Best T-Score File.”

d. Duration and Variation of Reduction

Handicap Index reduction for exceptional tournament scores is calculated at each handicap revision and may vary from revision to revision based on a number of factors. These factors may include the following:

  • Additional tournament scores
  • Expiration of eligible tournament scores
  • Variation in 10-2 calculation
  • Fluctuation of 10-2 calculation in relation to the two lowest T-Scores.

e. Handicap Committee Review of Reduction

The Handicap Committee must review all reductions. As a result of review, the Handicap Committee may:

  • Continue to allow the reduction to run its normal course, as described in Section 10-3d, or
  • Further reduce the Handicap Index. For example, the committee may conclude that the player’s performance continues to be better than the potential ability indicated by the 10-3 reduction. In that case, the committee replaces the reduced Handicap Index with an even lower reduced Handicap Index, continuing to review the reduction after each revision period (See Section 8-4e), or
  • Override the reduction. For example, the committee may cancel the reduction to a Handicap Index for a player who has been injured and whose reduction was based on early tournament scores prior to the injury. In that case, the reduction is inconsistent with the player’s scoring record. The committee replaces the reduced Handicap Index with the Handicap Index calculated under 10-2 and ceases designating it with an R. The committee will have the option to continue to override after each revision period for as long as at least two exceptional tournament scores continue to trigger a 10-3 reduction. Once the player’s scoring record contains fewer than two exceptional tournament scores, the committee must cease overriding and rely on the normal calculation under 10-2.
  • Adjust the amount of the reduction. The Handicap Committee may decide that the player’s full 10-3 reduction does not reflect their potential ability, but a reduction is still necessary. In this case, the Handicap Committee may modify the amount of the reduction and the player’s Handicap Index as calculated by Section 10-2. For example, if the player’s 10-3 calculation is a 10.0R, but the 10-2 calculation is 15.0, the Handicap Committee could change the player’s reduced value to a value of 12.5M. This does not completely override the player’s reduction.

f. Reporting Requirement

Authorized golf associations and handicap computation services must report any Handicap Index reductions under this procedure (Section 10-3b) to the golf club. If computational reports are provided to the authorized golf association, the handicap computation service must also report any Handicap Index reductions to the authorized golf association. When a Handicap Index is reduced under this section, it must be identified with the letter R (e.g., 12.3R).