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.
Frequency of Revision of a Handicap Index Update
Example Situation When Committee in Charge of a Competition May Adjust a Player’s Playing Handicap

In a situation where a player has performed exceptionally well in an authorized format of play during a morning round and is playing a competition round later the same day, as the player’s Handicap Index will not be updated until the next day, the Committee in charge of the competition may decide to adjust the player’s Playing Handicap.

The Committee should consider all of the information available before deciding whether to adjust the player’s Playing Handicap, including what impact the score may have had on the player’s Handicap Index and whether the player would obtain any unfair advantage because their Handicap Index has not been updated.

Golf Club Responsibility to Post Scores As Soon As Possible

Where it is the responsibility of a golf club to post scores at the end of each day, this must be done as soon as possible and preferably before midnight to support the Rules of Handicapping. This is important because it:

  • Ensures that a player’s Handicap Index is updated as soon as possible after the round was played (see Rule 5.4).
  • Allows for the playing conditions calculation to be carried out (see Rule 5.6).
  • Ensures that, where appropriate, scores are available for verification by peers.
  • Enables the Handicap Committee to carry out its other responsibilities (see Rule 7.1b).

Failure to carry out this responsibility may compromise the integrity of the Rules of Handicapping.