Handicap Index Calculation
Interpretations
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5.2
5.2a
5.2a/1
5.2a/2

Principle of the Rule:

A player’s Handicap Index should represent their demonstrated ability and, where appropriate, be responsive to scores that are inconsistent with their demonstrated ability.

Rule 5 covers the process of calculating a Handicap Index and incorporates the safeguards needed to help ensure that a player’s Handicap Index remains reflective of their ability and that equity is retained for all golfers. It includes mechanisms that:

  • Take into consideration the conditions in which a round was played.
  • Remember previously demonstrated ability within a defined period of time.
  • Cap the upward movement of a player’s Handicap Index within a defined period of time.
  • Apply additional adjustments to a player’s Handicap Index when an exceptional score is submitted.
5.2
Calculation of a Handicap Index
5.2a
For Fewer than 20 Scores
5.2a/1
Modification of a Player’s Initial Handicap Index Due to Evidence of Previous Abilit

A player submits three scores to obtain an initial Handicap Index, which result in calculated Score Differentials of 15.3, 15.2 and 16.6.

This would result in an initial Handicap Index of:

Lowest Score Differential

-

Adjustment

=

Initial

Handicap Index

15.2

2

13.2

The Handicap Committee is aware that the player, who is rejoining a golf club after many years out of the game, had played well as a junior golfer and maintained a Handicap Index of around 8.0.

Based on the evidence available, the Handicap Committee may adjust the player’s calculated initial Handicap Index to better reflect their previously demonstrated ability. 

5.2a/2
Modification of a Player’s Initial Handicap Index When Subsequent Scores Are Significantly Different Than Expected

A player submits three scores to obtain an initial Handicap Index, which result in calculated Score Differentials of 40.7, 42.4 and 36.1.

This would result in an initial Handicap Index of:

Lowest Score Differential

-

Adjustment

=

Initial

Handicap Index

36.1

2

34.1

The player then goes on to submit three more scores, which result in calculated Score Differentials of 45.9, 43.6 and 45.0.

After these six scores, the player’s Handicap Index would be:

Average of Lowest Two Score Differentials

-

Adjustment

=

Initial

Handicap Index

38.4

1

37.4

 

In reviewing the player’s calculated Handicap Index against their scores, the Handicap Committee may conclude in this case that the -1 adjustment should be removed to ensure the calculated Handicap Index better reflects the player’s ability.