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Purpose and Authorization; Obtaining a Handicap Index
Rule 1 covers the fundamentals of handicapping, including:
  • The purpose of the World Handicap System
  • Authorisation
  • Responsibilities of key stakeholders, and
  • How to obtain a Handicap Index.
Purpose and Authorization; Obtaining a Handicap Index

How to Obtain a Handicap Index

Whether a Professional Golfer Can Obtain a Handicap Index
A professional golfer may obtain a Handicap Index, provided they meet all of the player responsibilities within the Rules of Handicapping.
Criteria to be Used When Designating a Home Club
Rule 1.4b requires a player who is a member of more than one golf club to designate one golf club as their home club. Where a player is a member of more than one golf club, the decision as to which golf club to designate as their home club should be based on one or more of the following criteria:
  • Proximity of golf club to primary residence (which is in the same country),
  • Frequency of play at a golf club, and/or
  • The golf club where they submit most of their acceptable scores.
A golf club must not permit players who do not satisfy one or more of the above criteria to designate it as their home club. Should a player’s primary residence change on a regular basis such that different golf clubs satisfy the above criteria at different times of the year, the player should consider changing their home club accordingly. Players must not designate a home club for the purpose of obtaining a Handicap Index that could give them an unfair advantage.
Player Changes Designation of Home Club
When a player changes the designation of their home club for any reason, they must inform all golf clubs of which they are a member and provide the new home club with their scoring record.
Player Who Belongs to Multiple Golf Clubs within Different Jurisdictions Resulting in More Than One Handicap Index
Appendix A, 1 states that “a player is expected to … (ii) Have only one Handicap Index from a single scoring record, which is managed by the player’s home club in accordance with the Rules of Handicapping.”  It goes on to state that “This Handicap Index will apply elsewhere, including at all other golf clubs of which the player is a member.” Where a player is a member of a golf club located in a different jurisdiction from the location of their home club, the player may be required to hold a separate Handicap Index issued by the Authorized Association responsible for handicapping within the different jurisdiction. While such a requirement is discouraged. In order to ensure the same Handicap Index is issued by both Authorized Associations, it is the player’s responsibility to return all acceptable scores to both their home club and the golf club that is located in the different jurisdiction. Should there ever be a discrepancy between a player’s Handicap Index as issued by different Authorized Associations, the Handicap Index within the jurisdiction where the round is being played should be updated to include missing scores from all authorized formats of play and/or any Committee-applied adjustments as appropriate. When playing outside of either jurisdiction, the lowest Handicap Index should be used or the Handicap Index that includes the most recent 20 scores.