Handicap Index Calculation
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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.
Calculation of a Handicap Index
For Fewer than 20 Scores
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





Handicap Index




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.