The Rules of Handicapping

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About Definitions
There are over 35 defined terms and these form the foundation around which the Rules of Handicapping are written. A good knowledge of the defined terms (which are italicised and in bold) is very important to the correct application of the Rules.
Acceptable Score
A score from an authorized format of play which meets all the provisions set out within the Rules of Handicapping (see Rule 2).
Active Season
The period of time when acceptable scores from a specified area should be submitted for handicap purposes, as determined by the Authorized Association where the round is played.
Adjusted Gross Score
Authorized Association
Authorized Format of Play
A format of play eligible for handicap purposes, as determined by the Authorized Association where the round is played (see Rule 2.1a).
Bogey Player
A player with a Handicap Index of approximately 20.0 for men and approximately 24.0 for women.
Certification of Score
Course Handicap
Course Rating
An indication of the difficulty of a golf course for the scratch player under normal course and weather conditions (see Appendix G).
Exceptional Score
A Score Differential which is at least 7.0 strokes better than the player’s Handicap Index at the time the round was played (see Rule 5.9).
Expected Score
The score a player is expected to achieve over a specified number of holes on a course of standard difficulty. It is calculated using the player’s Handicap Index and attributes a numerical value against any hole or holes not played during a round.
General Play
Golf Club
Golf Course
Handicap Allowance
The percentage of a Course Handicap recommended to create equity for all players participating in a specific format of play (see Appendix C).
Handicap Committee
The entity established by a golf club or an Authorized Association which is responsible for ensuring compliance with the obligations of the golf club or Authorized Association under the Rules of Handicapping (see Rule 1.3 and Appendix A).
Handicap Index
The measure of a player’s demonstrated ability calculated against the Slope Rating of a golf course of standard playing difficulty (that is, a course with a Slope Rating of 113) (see Rule 5.2).
Handicap Review
A procedure carried out by the Handicap Committee to determine if the Handicap Index of any member who has designated that golf club as their home club needs to be adjusted (see Rule 7.1a and Appendix D).
Hard Cap
See Cap.
Home Club
A player’s primary golf club designated by the player to ensure their Handicap Index is managed in accordance with the Rules of Handicapping.
Inactive Season
The period of time when scores in a specified area cannot be submitted for handicap purposes, as determined by the Authorized Association where the round is played.
The geographic territory in which an Authorized Association administers the Rules of Handicapping.
Low Handicap Index
The lowest Handicap Index calculated for the player during the 365-day period (one year) preceding the day on which the most recent score on their scoring record was played (see Rule 5.7).
An individual who joins a golf club in a manner determined by club policy, which allows the player to obtain a Handicap Index.
Most Likely Score (Discretionary Option)
The score a player records for handicap purposes for a hole that is started but where the player does not hole out (see Rule 3.3).
Net Double Bogey
A score equal to the par of a hole plus two strokes and adjusted for any handicap strokes applied on that hole. A net double bogey is a player’s maximum hole score for handicap purposes (see Rule 3.1).
Net Par
The score that a scratch player would generally be expected to achieve on a hole under normal course and weather conditions, allowing for two strokes on the putting green (see Appendix F). The Authorized Association or, at the discretion of the National Association the golf club, is responsible for adjudicating par (see Appendix A).
Peer Review
The process by which a score or Handicap Index can be confirmed or challenged (see Rule 4.4).
Penalty Score
Playing Conditions Calculation (PCC)
Playing Handicap
The Course Handicap adjusted for any handicap allowances or Terms of the Competition. It represents the actual number of strokes the player gives or receives for the round being played (see Rule 6.2).
Rules of Golf
The Rules of Golf as approved by the United States Golf Association (“USGA”) and R&A Rules Limited (“The R&A”), including any Model Local Rules the Committee adopts for the competition or the golf course.
Rules of Handicapping
The Rules of Handicapping as approved by the United States Golf Association (“USGA”) and R&A Rules Limited (“The R&A”) and administered by the Authorized Association within its jurisdiction.
Score Differential
Score Type
A designation that identifies the type of acceptable score that appears within a player’s scoring record (see Appendix B).
Scoring Record
Scratch Player
A player with a Handicap Index of 0.0.
Slope Rating
An indication of the relative difficulty of a golf course for players who are not scratch players compared to players who are scratch players (see Appendix G).
Soft Cap
See Cap.
Stroke Index
The value assigned to each hole on a golf course to indicate where handicap strokes are given or received (see Appendix E).