The typical phone call to the Membership office starts with, “Why have I been restricted” or “My Handicap Index has been going up so why is my index lower than it has been or ever been?”.
The first thing to understand is that the “R” is short for ‘reduced’ and not restricted. Reduced means that your member’s current calculated index (the average of the better half of their last 20 scores) has been lowered based on T scores (tournament rounds) posted during the last 12 months.
T Scores are rounds posted that were played in a competition that was organized by a committee and are significant in the tradition of the club. Think Club Championship or an annual Member-Guest. Whether acceptable rounds for posting are designated as T-scores is determined by the committee in charge of the event.
*Differential = the sum of your adjusted gross score minus the course rating multiplied by 113 then divided by the slope of the tees played. Ex. 82 – 70.6 x 113 / 130 = 9.9
Score: 82 Course Rating & Slope: 70.6/130
Why are T scores significant? Generally, they are part of the USGA Handicap System’s checks and balances to identify a player’s potential playing ability each revision. T scores are not any more significant to the Handicap Index calculation than any regular round posted to a score record until the 12-month file has two T Scores with differentials* that are each three less than the current Handicap Index. This is an automatic calculation built into the handicap system.
EX: HI 16.2 1st low diff: 9.32nd low diff: 10.7# of T scores: 7
Just having two T scores with differentials that are each three less than the current calculated Handicap Index will not automatically trigger the “R” or reduced index. The program also factors in the total number of tournament rounds in your 12-month record.
Whether someone’s Handicap Index is reduced or not turns on these factors:
·2 T scores with differentials that are each three strokes less than the current index
·The average of the best two T score differentials below the current Handicap Index
·The number of T scores in the 12-month record.
Reductions often occur as someone’s Handicap Index goes up and does not reflect past T scores posted. This typically happens to many golfers in winter months as they play less frequently, days are shorter and in some respects, conditions are more difficult and greens roll faster. Come summer, after team play, more frequent play, member-guess events, etc., indexes drop. The great tournament rounds from the previous summer seem like a distant memory in December and January.
Once the reduction occurs, the three factors listed above and how the member is playing will determine when the “R” disappears and the Handicap Index is no longer reduced. If the player’s index goes down so that the current calculated Handicap Index is less than three of the two T score differentials, then the reduction will disappear; or sometimes, simply playing more tournaments may cause the reduction to go away or reduce the amount of adjustment. Of course, all T scores eventually roll off the 12-month tournament file as they disappear to memory once over 12 months old (unless you do not play much golf, then they will live on if they remain as a part of the player’s last 20 rounds posted to their scoring record.)
The bottom line is players should be proud of those great tournament rounds! If a member is reduced, do not allow them to be discouraged. Encourage them to play more golf and more tournaments, knowing that like all things in life, the R will go away with time.
If the handicap reduction is based on temporary or physical injury, discuss the situation with your handicap committee to carefully consider whether to override the reduction to your Handicap Index. Should your committee determine to override, the reduction, please contact the SCGA Handicap and Membership office to further discuss the merits of the 10-3 reduction override and to remove the “R” from the player’s handicap record.