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SCGA Club Official Digest

Blog Post 1

Conducting a Handicap Review

The handicap review process gives a Handicap Committee the ability to ensure the Handicap Index of a player reflects their demonstrated ability, additionally a Handicap Review can be conducted for a specific player and can be initiated by the Committee, at the request of the player or another player.

    - Any adjustments to a player’s Handicap Index resulting from a handicap review must:

    - Be applied only after the player has been informed and has had an opportunity to respond to the Handicap Committee or, where appropriate, the Authorized Association.

    - Be a minimum of 1 stroke, upward or downward.

    - Only increase a player’s Handicap Index by up to 5.0 strokes above the player’s Low Handicap Index, unless there are exceptional circumstances, such circumstances could include a player who has a long-term illness or injury preventing them from playing golf at the level previously attained.

What qualifies a member to be modified?

    - Before making any adjustments to a player’s Handicap Index, the Handicap Committee should carefully consider all available evidence, including:

    - Whether the player’s scoring potential has been affected by a temporary or permanent injury or illness which is significant enough to impact the player’s ability to play with or against all other player’s on a fair and equal basis.

    - Any handicap(s) previously held by the player.

    - Whether the player’s ability is rapidly improving or declining.

    - Whether the player is performing significantly differently in one format of play compared to another, for example between organized competitions and general play, unauthorized and authorized format of play.

    - Where it has been determined that a player’s actions are for the purpose of gaining an unfair advantage.

Please note: A player’s Handicap Index should not be adjusted for a temporary loss of form/a slump.

How to make an adjustment:

    - The Handicap Committee must decide the most appropriate course of action for any adjustment to a player’s Handicap index, which can be either:

    - Freezing the Handicap Index at the level selected by the Handicap Committee for a defined period of time.

    - During this period, a player’s Handicap Index will not be updated as new scores are posted unless the Handicap Committee has determined to freeze only against upward movement.

    - The Handicap Committee can remove the freeze upon the Handicap Index at any time and the scores in the player’s scoring record will be used to calculate the player’s Handicap index.

    - Resetting the Handicap Index by applying an adjustment to each of the most recent 20 score differentials in the scoring record, to achieve the chosen Handicap Index that is determined to better reflect the player’s demonstrated ability.

    - This will allow the Handicap Index to be updated.

    - If fewer than 20 scores are recorded on a player’s scoring record the adjustment is applied to all recorded score differentials.

    - The Handicap Committee can remove the adjustment at any time if the adjustment is determined to no longer be warranted.

Freeze/Set Handicap Index


Adjust Score Differentials




How will adjusting a score differential or freezing a Handicap Index be impacted by the Low Handicap Index?

- One of the common issues we see is when a club adjusts a Handicap Index upward and the following day, because of the low Handicap Index, a cap is applied, resulting in a change in Handicap Index.In 99 percent of cases where the adjustment is upward the Committee does not want a cap to “undo” its action. Please keep this in mind when adjusting a Handicap Index, keeping in mind that an upward adjustment of anything more than 3.0 above the Low Handicap Index can be impacted by the cap procedure and any (downward) adjustment is subject to becoming the player’s Low Handicap Index.

- Further, the Low Handicap Index should not be adjusted for a temporary loss of form/a slump. The Low Handicap Index is a baseline reflecting demonstrated ability within the last 365 days and is utilized to assure that this is not ignored and that upward movement of a Handicap Index is limited or capped. Statistics show that an extremely high percentage of players return to or near their demonstrated ability over time.