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Handicap - FAQs

Have a question about your Handicap Index? Consult the list of questions below, and if afterward your question still isn't answered, email handicap@scga.org.

Frequently Asked Handicap Questions

How often are Handicap Index values revised/updated?
I just joined a club and have 18-hole scores in my scoring record but my handicap shows NH. Why?
I didn’t get my latest eRevision (bi-monthly email with updated Handicap information). What do I do?
I have an “R” next to my Handicap Index? What does that mean?
I have an incorrect score in my record. How do I fix it?
I was asked what my Course Handicap is; How do I figure my Course Handicap and what is this concept?
How is a Handicap Index calculated?
For posting scores for handicap purposes, what is an ESC or Adjusted Gross Score?
Which value do I use for posting purposes or determining my Course Handicap?
Am I required to choose the MEMBER LOGIN feature in order to post a score on scga.org?
If I look up my scoring record, it seems that it does not include my recently posted scores. Why?
What is the Low Handicap Index (Low H.I.) and how is it calculated?

Q: How often are Handicap Index values revised/updated?

A Handicap Index is updated on the first and fifteenth of each month.

Q: I just joined a club and have 18-hole scores in my scoring record but my handicap shows NH. Why?

Your scoring record will show NH (no Handicap Index) until it goes through a revision on the 1st or 15th of the month. In the interim, if you need your Handicap Index prior to the revision, your club's Handicap Committee can issue you a local handicap when at least five scores are posted (identified by a capital L - ex. 15.4L).

Q: I didn’t get my latest eRevision (bi-monthly email with updated Handicap information). What do I do?

Make sure you have made revisionupdate@ghin.com part of your “approved/safe sender” list. This is the “from” address for the eRevision. Make sure the report is not sitting in your spam folder. Also, the system is set up to try to deliver an eRevision up to three (3) times (three revisions). After three failures delivery is discontinued. You may print out your Handicap Index information from the SCGA website's Handicap Index Lookup just by choosing "print." Another option to show/confirm your Handicap information, including Handicap Index, is by downloading the GHIN Mobile App and entering your information. Once logged in choose the “MY CARD” feature to display your Handicap Index and scoring information. “Stats” breaks down the detail of each of your scores, including the USGA Course Rating and Slope Rating for each posted score, the handicap differential associated with each score, a “trend” telling you where you are headed handicap wise as if handicaps were being updated today, along with an average of your scores.

Q: I have an “R” next to my Handicap Index? What does that mean?

The “R” indicates that a golfer is being reduced due to exceptional tournament scores. The reduction is an automatic part of the Index calculation each revision. Eligible tournament scores stay in a stored tournament file for a year from the date of the score or remain as part of the most recent twenty scores within the scoring record. Each revision, the formula looks at what the golfer’s traditionally calculated (Section 10-2) Handicap Index is, then checks to see if there are at least two tournament differentials in the tournament file of at least 3.0 below the calculated Index value, which causes a formula (Section 10-3) to determine whether the golfer will be reduced. The calculation also considers the total number of eligible tournament scores (number of tournament scores with a T designation in the last twelve months) in the record, as well as the spread between the normal Index calculation and the average of the best two tournament score differentials).

The reduction is checked for at each revision for every golfer, because it is part of the USGA formula. This is not a penalty, just part of the formula’s effort in identifying potential ability, recognizing that a player has to have scored at least 3.0 better than the normal calculation at least twice for this to even be considered. Because this is checked for at each revision, this value is not locked in as the Handicap Index for any specific duration. An individual impacted by this portion of the formula who believes that it is inappropriate can contact their club’s Handicap Committee to discuss. The SCGA is not authorized to change a member’s Handicap Index and will not recommend that a club do so based on more recent poor play/performance, given that the value is based on potential ability.

For greater detail on this portion of the USGA Handicap System formula (Section 10-3), please click here

Q: I have an incorrect score in my record. How do I fix it?

A golfer must contact their club’s Handicap Chair to have a score corrected or removed. The SCGA normally does not perform any file maintenance requests that come directly from individual members, unless it is clear that a score has been replicated in error.

Q: I was asked what my Course Handicap is; How do I figure my Course Handicap and what is this concept?

Your Handicap Index is a generic standard that is not tied to any course or tees. In order to get the right value for a particular day, you need to convert the Handicap Index into what is called a Course Handicap for playing purposes each time you play. There are many ways to determine your Course Handicap for the tees you will be playing, but you will need the Slope Rating for those tees. There are often charts near golf course computers used for score posting; those same computers will convert your Index under “Handicap Lookup”; if you use the GHIN Mobile App chose the C. H. Calculator; or use the scga.org Handicap Index lookup and after entering your SCGA/GHIN number and bringing up your scoring record, choose the C.H. Calculator tab and enter the Slope Rating for the tees being played. In general, a player’s Course Handicap will be equal to or greater than the Handicap Index when playing a tee with a Slope Rating of 113 or more, and less than the Handicap Index when playing a tee with a Slope Rating of less than 113.

Q: How is a Handicap Index calculated?

For each score posted, a handicap differential is calculated. This is to determine which scores are the best scores, taking into account the course difficulty (USGA Course Rating and Slope Rating are both important).The formula is:

Handicap Differential = (Adjusted Gross score – USGA/SCGA Course Rating) x 113 / USGA/SCGA Slope Rating

Using this example:

  • Adjusted Gross Score was 95 at a course with 73.5/130 (USGA Course Rating/Slope Rating)
  • Adjusted Gross Score 95
    Minus the course rating (73.5)
  • Result = 21.5
  • Multiply Result by standard Slope (113) of a golf course: 21.5 X 113 = 2429.5
  • Divide by the slope of the tees played: 2429.5/130 = 18.688 Handicap Differential = 18.7 (rounded)

Once your score file consists of 20 scores, your ten lowest differentials are added together, divided by ten and then multiplied by 96%, the result being your Handicap Index. You do not round the result. Your ten lowest differentials are used, not necessarily the ten lowest scores in your score file.

A player needs a minimum of five scores to calculate a Handicap Index. If a player has at least five but fewer than 20 differentials available, the Handicap Index will be computed as follows:

Q: For posting scores for handicap purposes, what is an ESC or Adjusted Gross Score?

An adjusted gross score is a player’s gross score adjusted under the USGA Handicap System procedures for unfinished holes, conceded strokes, holes not played or not played under the Rules of Golf, or Equitable Stroke Control (ESC). ESC is the downward adjustment of individual hole scores for handicap purposes, in order to make handicaps more representative of a player’s potential ability. ESC sets a maximum number that a player can post on any hole depending on the player’s Course Handicap. The Adjusted Gross Score/ESC score is the score that you post for handicap purposes.

As an example, a player with a Course Handicap of 19 would have a maximum hole score of 7 for handicap purposes. So if this person scored 102 and had an 11 on the sixth hole (a par 5) and had a 9 on hole 14 (a par 4), they would need to deduct four strokes for the sixth hole (11 - 7 = 4) and two on hole 14 (9 - 7 = 2) for a total of six strokes deducted from the 102 gross score. This results in an adjusted gross score of 96 (102 - 4 - 2 = 96). The individual would post a 96 for handicap purposes. Below is a chart to determine a golfer’s Equitable Stroke Control maximum:

Q: Which value do I use for posting purposes or determining my Course Handicap?

The SCGA issues the rating values and populates the computers tied to GHIN, the SCGA website and the USGA website. Please use the computer display/SCGA.org information. Often times a course will print a large number of scorecards and continue to use those until they run out, even if new ratings have been issued.

Q: Am I required to choose the MEMBER LOGIN feature in order to post a score on scga.org?

No, while a member login allows you access to certain information and can be helpful for various things, like keeping your contact information up to date, it is not a requirement for posting a score. Scroll down to the Black “My SCGA” box and enter your GHIN number and last name and you can post your score without “logging in.”

Q: If I look up my scoring record, it seems that it does not include my recently posted scores. Why?

When you look at your scoring record, it will default to the Revision Scores display. If you want to see your recently posted scores, choose the Recent Scores tab

Q: What is the Low Handicap Index (Low H.I.) and how is it calculated?

The Low Handicap Index is the lowest Handicap Index value that an individual has had in the last 24 revisions/12 months. It is not calculated; it just looks at each of the issued Handicap Index values that a golfer has on record during the time period.