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WSCGA Handicap Frequently asked questions

Following are some of the questions most frequently asked. Click on a question and the appropriate answer will appear. If you have additional questions or comments, please contact the WSCGA Handicap Desk at 909-592-1281 extension 203 or send an e-mail to wscga@womensgolf.org.

1. Do Golf Clubs have to meet certain regulations in order to issue handicaps?
2. If I play from the forward tees, why do I have to give extra strokes to someone playing from the back tees?
3. What does it mean when I'm asked to post my "most likely score"?
4. What is Equitable Stroke Control (ESC)?
5. My index is frozen. Why and what can I do about it?
6. How are differentials calculated?
7. How do I post my scores for an eclectic tournament?
8. Different clubs post mulligans in different ways. What is the correct way to post a mulligan?
9. How can I post my scores if I play golf in Northern California or I am playing out of state?
10. "T" Scores - What are they and Who Decides?

1. Do Golf Clubs have to meet certain regulations in order to issue handicaps?
Yes, below is a compliance checklist:
DOES YOUR CLUB COMPLY AS FOLLOWS:

  • Meet the USGA definition of a golf club?
  • Have a Handicap Committee composed mostly of members and chaired by a member? (section 8-1)
  • Have a USGA Course Rating and Slope Rating issued by an authorized golf association within the last ten years? (Section 14)
  • Make it possible for players to record the correct USGA Course Rating and USGA Slope Rating with each posted score from every set of tees? (Section 5-2 and 8-2b and c)
  • Require the posting of all scores made at home and away? (Setion 5-1)
  • Require use of USGA procedures to adjust hole scores before posting? (Section 4)
  • Require that nine-hole scores be combined and posted for handicap purposes? (Section 5-2c and d)
  • Insist that the principles of the Rules of Golf Be followed? (section 5-2)
  • Follow the revision schedule and posting season of the authorized golf asssociation having jurisdiction in the region? (Section 8-3a and c)
  • Ensure that all acceptable scores are entered correctly? (Section 5-2)
  • Perform computations and adjustment in accordance with the USGA Handicap Formula? (Sections 8-4 and 10)
  • Make current scoring records and a list of USGA Handicap Indexes of all members readily available for inspection by others? (Section 6-3)
  • Reduce or increase Handicap Indexes of any player whose handicap does not reflect his or her potential ability? (Section 8-4b)
  • Obtain a new USGA Course Rating and USGA Slope Rating from an authorized golf association when permanent changes have been made to the golf course? (Section 3-4)
  • Include the letter "L" after local handicaps which exceed the USGA maximum limits of 36.4 for men and 40.4 for women? (Section 3-4)
  • Set up the golf course to make a consistent level of scoring possible? (Section 15)
  • Have a representative from the club who has participated in a USGA Handicap Seminar (conducted by the USGA or an authorized golf association), including passing a test exhibiting knowledge about the system?
  • Have a signed license agreement in place with a local golf association or the USGA prior to issuing a handicap index?

If the answer to all questions is "yes", the golf club is following the USGA Handicap System, and may issue USGA Handicap Indexes to its members.

If any answers are "no", contact WSCGA to determine necessary action to achieve compliance.

2. If I play from the forward tees, why do I have to give extra strokes to someone playing from the back tees?
Each set of tees on your course has a different Course Rating. Since the Course Rating is a reflection of the probable score for a scratch golfer, the higher the Course Rating, the more difficult the course.

The golfer, playing from the tees with a higher Course Rating will receive extra strokes because of the added difficulty of playing from those tees.

EXAMPLE: Ann is playing from the forward tees which have a Course Rating of 71.2. Claire is playing from the middle tees with a Course Rating of 72.8. Subtract the lower Course Rating from the higher one - 72.8 minus 71.2 equals 1.6. Round your number up if it is .5 or greater and the final number is 2.

Claire, because she is playing from the higher rated tees, will receive 2 extra strokes from Ann.

ANOTHER EXAMPLE:
Player 1 Course Rating 73.2
Player 2 Course Rating 76.3
76.3 minus 73.2 difference = 3.1
Player 2 receives 3 extra strokes

NOTE: Remember to round the difference after subtracting. If the difference is .4 or less, round down. It the difference is .5 or more, round up.

3. What does it mean when I'm asked to post my "most likely score"?
If a player starts but does not complete a hole or is conceded a stroke, she is to record for handicap purposes the score she "most likely would have made". The most likely score consists of the number of strokes already taken plus, in her best judgement, the number of strokes that she would need to complete the hole from that position more than half the time.

4. What is Equitable Stroke Control (ESC)?
The ESC is the downward adjustment of the individual hole scores for handicap purposes in order to make handicaps more representative of a player's potential scoring 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 her maximum number based on the ESC in the USGA Handicap manual. There is no limit to the number of holes on which a player may adjust her score.

5. My index is frozen. Why and what can I do about it?
More than likely you are referring to having an "R" after your index. The "R" means your index has been reduced, not frozen. A frozen index is rare. The computer calculates a member's index based on the lowest differentials. It then looks at the two lowest tournament differentials in the tournament file. If there is a 3.0 difference or greater between the calculated index and the lowest tournament differentials, the system goes into an adjustment phase. This calculation happens to all players every month. While tournament scores stay in the tournament file for twelve months, each month an individual has a chance to go on or off an adjustment, depending upon her posted scores that month. The worst thing a member can do is to stop playing. By playing as often as possible and by playing in tournaments, the numbers can change significantly. By stopping or slowing down, the numbers change very, very slowly.

6. How are differentials calculated?
A handicap differential is computed from four elements: adjusted gross score, USGA Course Rating, USGA Slope Rating and 113 (the Slope Rating of a course of standard difficulty).
The formula is as follows:

Handicap Differential = (Adjusted Gross Score - USGA Course Rating) x 113/USGA Slope Rating

EXAMPLE:
If the Adjusted Gross Score = 95, the USGA Course Rating = 71.5 and the USGA Slope Rating = 125 then:

Score - Course Rating 95 - 71.5 = 23.5
Difference x Standard Slope 23.5 x 113 = 2655.5
Result / Slope Rating 2655.5 / 125 = 21.244
Handicap Differential (rounded) 21.2

7. How do I post my scores for an eclectic tournament ?
Both days of the eclectic competition must be posted the same. If it is determined that the event is a tournament (determined in advance by the tournament committee and players notified in advance), BOTH DAYS must be posted as "T". Otherwise, both days are posted as regular scores (home or away).

On the second day if the score on a hole cannot be improved, pick up and post most likely score (strokes taken plus number of strokes needed to complete hole from that position more than half the time). If hole not played, post par plus any handicap strokes entitled to receive on that hole (net par).

Click here for WSCGA BLOG article regarding posting for an eclectic tournament.

8. Different clubs post mulligans in different ways. What is the correct way to post a mulligan?
The USGA does not recognize mulligans. However, if a mulligan is used, scores must still be posted.
If a player plays a hole other than under the Rules of Golf, her score for the hole for handicap purposes shall be par plus any handicap strokes received on the hole (net par). When recording this hole, precede the score with an "X" (Section 4-2). Use Equitable Stroke Control if you exceed your allotted limit.

9. How can I post my scores if I play golf in Northern California or I am playing out of state?
Below are four different methods of posting your score when you are out of the Southern California area.

Method One: First and foremost, you can post at the course that you played if you are in Northern California! 42 State and Regional Golf Associations belong to GHIN, so you can post as a "Guest" except in the following states: Montana, Utah, Southern Nevada, Arizona, Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina and Louisiana. You can post after your round just as you would if playing your home course in Southern California. Otherwise, you can use one of three other methods to post your away scores.

Method Two: Posting via the Internet
This method of posting has been approved by the USGA since 2002. Your club must authorize its members to post scores via the internet, and you must be registered in order to post scores online.

To begin:
Sign on to the website at www.womensgolf.org

1. Go to The WSCGA home page
2. Click The "Online Posting" menu button
3. Enter Your seven-digit GHIN # (do not enter the dash)
4. Enter Your last name
5. Click "Continue"
6. Enter Information as prompted (date of round, select type, # of holes played, rating and slope, adjusted score, course name)
7. Tip No password is required to perform this function
8. Click "Post ESC Score" button

Method Three: Post Scores on Club Handicap Computer upon your return
Under the GHIN system, you can now post AWAY scores! Be sure you have the following information so that you are ready to post: Date of your round, rating and slope of the tees you played, name of the course and your ESC score.

Method Four: Provide the Scores and Information to Club Handicap Chair
If you are unable to use method one or two, players may provide the round information to their Club Handicap Chair for posting. Be sure to give her your name, GHIN number, date played, ESC score, course rating & slope and the name of the course. Be sure to include: Name, member number, date played, score, course rating, slope and name of course played.

10. "T" Scores - What are they and Who Decides?
Click here for WSCGA BLOG article regarding "T" Scores.

Mail: WSCGA, 402 W Arrow, Highway, #10, San Dimas CA 91773
Email: wscga@womensgolf.org
Phone: 909-592-1281
Fax: 909-592-7542


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