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Handicapping

Golf Canada is the authoritative body for the purposes of establishing and maintaining a uniform handicap system for golf clubs in Canada in co-operation with the provincial golf associations.

The purpose of the Golf Canada Handicap System is to make the game of golf more enjoyable for golfers by providing a means of measuring one’s performance and progress and to enable golfers of differing abilities to compete on an equitable basis.

Through this system, each golfer establishes an “Golf Canada Handicap Factor” which is a numerical measurement of a player’s potential (not actual) scoring ability on a course of standard difficulty.

The Handicap Factor is calculated using the best 10 of the player’s last 20 rounds and updated with each new round played. The Handicap Factor travels with the golfer from course to course and is adjusted up or down depending on the length and difficulty of the course played, resulting in a “Course Handicap”. The Course Handicap is the number of strokes a golfer receives from a specific set of tees at the course played and represents the number of strokes he would require to play equitably against a “scratch” golfer (a golfer with a Handicap Factor of “0.0′). The more difficult the golf course, the more strokes the golfer receives and vice versa.

The relative difficulty of a golf course is determined jointly by Golf Canada and the provincial golf association using the USGA Course and Slope Rating System as administered by Golf Canada. Specially trained Course Rating Teams evaluate the difficulty of a golf course based on such variables as length and a number of obstacle factors (e.g. topography, bunkers, water hazards, severity of rough, etc).

Only Golf Canada member golf clubs are permitted to use the Golf Canada Handicap System and USGA Course Rating System (as administered by Golf Canada) and related trademarks and service marks and must do so in a manner that preserves the integrity and reliability of these systems. All rights to use these systems and related trademarks and service marks terminate should the golf club cease to be a member in good standing with Golf Canada.

World Handicap System

The idea for a new, unified system was conceived by the USGA and The R&A and developed following an extensive review of systems administered by six existing handicapping authorities – Golf Australia, the Council of National Golf Unions (CONGU) in Great Britain and Ireland, the European Golf Association (EGA), the South African Golf Association (SAGA), the Argentine Golf Association (AAG) and the United States Golf Association (USGA).

The new system will feature the following:

  • Flexibility in formats of play, allowing both competitive and recreational rounds to count for handicap purposes and ensuring a golfer’s handicap is more reflective of potential ability.
  • A minimal number of scores needed to obtain a new handicap; a recommendation that the number of scores needed to obtain a new handicap be 54 holes from any combination of 18-hole and 9-hole rounds, but with some discretion available for handicapping authorities or National Associations to set a different minimum within their own jurisdiction.
  • A consistent handicap that is portable from course to course and country to country through worldwide use of the USGA Course and Slope Rating System, already successfully used in more than 80 countries.
  • An average-based calculation of a handicap, taken from the best eight out of the last 20 scores and factoring in memory of previous demonstrated ability for better responsiveness and control.
  • A calculation that considers the impact that abnormal course and weather conditions might have on a player’s performance each day.
  • Daily handicap revisions, taking account of the course and weather conditions calculation.
  • A limit of Net Double Bogey on the maximum hole score (for handicapping purposes only).
  • A maximum handicap limit of 54.0, regardless of gender, to encourage more golfers to measure and track their performance to increase their enjoyment of the game.

Quantitative research was conducted in 15 countries around the world, through which 76 percent of the 52,000 respondents voiced their support for a World Handicap System, 22 percent were willing to consider its benefits, and only 2% were opposed. This was followed by a series of focus groups, in which more than 300 golf administrators and golfers from different regions around the world offered extensive feedback on the features of the proposed new system.

This feedback has helped shape the WHS, which has been developed by the USGA and The R&A with support from each handicapping authority as well as the Japan Golf Association and Golf Canada.

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Golf Canada Handicap System Changes for 2018

 

An overview of these changes with more detailed information can be found here.

The complete Golf Canada Handicap System Manual will be posted to golfcanada.ca/handicapping, and is available for purchase on the Golf Canada e-store.

Handicap FAQs

The following is a list of frequently asked questions regarding handicapping and course rating. Please read carefully to see if any questions you may have are answered in this section. If you do not receive the answer you are looking for in the FAQ’s, feel free to submit a question using the email address at the end of this page.

Q. Can a person obtain a handicap without being a member of a golf club?

A. One of the main principles within the Golf Canada Score Centre is that you must be a member of a golf club in order to obtain a Handicap Factor. However, Golf Canada has a “Public Player” program that gives golfers the opportunity to play golf at different courses and still have the opportunity to obtain a Golf Canada Handicap Factor and be a member of Golf Canada and provincial golf association. To find out more click here.

Q. What is ESC (Equitable Stroke Control)?

A. Equitable Stroke Control (ESC) is the downward adjustment of individual hole scores for handicap purposes in order to make handicap factors 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. ESC is used only when a player`s actual or most likely score exceeds his maximum number.

Course Handicap

Maximum Score

9 or less Handicap

Double Bogey

10 to 19 Handicap

Maximum score of 7

20 to 29 Handicap

Maximum score of 8

30 to 39 Handicap

Maximum score of 9

40 and Over Handicap

Maximum score of 10

Q. I don’t seem to play to my handicap very often. Why?

A. Our Handicap System is based upon the potential ability of a player rather than the average of all his scores. As such, the average player is expected to play to his Course Handicap (your Handicap Factor adjusted for the Slope Rating of the course and tees you are playing) or better only about 25 percent of the time, average three strokes higher than his Course Handicap, and have a best score (of the last 20) which is only two strokes better than his Course Handicap.

A player’s Handicap Factor is reflective of his or her playing potential because it is based upon the best scores posted for a given number of rounds, ideally the best 10 of the last 20 rounds. Since the worst 10 scores are tossed out, the Handicap Factor reflects the player’s best golf.

Q. What scores are acceptable for posting purposes?

A. Almost all scores are acceptable because the basic premise of the Golf Canada Handicap System is that every player will try his or her best on every hole, in every round regardless of where the round was played. Therefore all of the following are acceptable scores:

  • 18 hole rounds
  • 13 or more holes played you must post an 18-hole score
  • 9 hole rounds
  • 7-12 holes played you must post a nine-hole score
  • Scores on all courses with a valid Course and Slope Rating, whether at home course, away course, or out of country
  • Scores in all forms of competition: match play, stroke play, team competitions
  • Scores played with preferred lies

For handicapping purposes, the following are unacceptable scores:

  • Scores of fewer than 7 holes
  • Scores made on a golf course in an area during its inactive season
  • Scores made not under the principles of the Rules of Golf
  • Scores from courses under 3,000 yards for 18 holes
  • Scores made in competitions stipulating the use of less than 14 clubs
  • Scores made on golf courses without valid Course and Slope Ratings
  • Scores made on courses that are not a member of an Authorized Golf Association
  • Scores made while playing alone

Q. What score do I post if I am conceded a stroke in match play?

A. If a player starts but does not complete a hole or is conceded a stroke, that player shall record for handicap purposes their most likely score. The most likely score consists of the number of strokes already taken plus, in the player’s best judgement, the number of strokes that the player would need to complete the hole from that position more than half the time. This number may not exceed the player’s Equitable Stroke Control limit. This most likely score should be preceded by an X, such as X6.

There is no limit to the number of unfinished holes a player may have in a round provided that failure to finish is not for the purpose of Handicap Factor manipulation.

Example 1: A and B are partners in a four-ball stroke play competition. On a hole on which neither player receives a handicap stroke, A lies two, 18 feet from the hole. B lies two, 25 feet from the hole. B holes a putt for a three. A picks up their ball because they cannot better B’s score. A records X4 on the score card because 4 is their most likely score.

Example 2: A and B are playing a match. On a hole on which neither player receives a handicap stroke, A has holed out in 4; B has a 30 foot putt for a 5. B has lost the hole, and picks up. He records X6 on the score card because 6 is their most likely score.

Example 3: A and B are playing a match. On a hole on which neither player received a handicap stroke, A is one foot from the hole, lying 4. B is 10 feet from the hole, lying 3. B putts and misses. They agree to a half. Both players record 5 because that is the score they most likely would have made.

Q. What score do I post for a hole not played?

A. If a player does not play a hole or plays it other than under the Rules of Golf (except for preferred lies), their score for that hole for handicap purposes shall be par plus any handicap strokes the player is entitled to receive on the hole. When recording this hole score, precede the score with an “X”. This concept can also apply to a hole with a temporary green or tee which renders the hole substantially different from its usual form.

Example: A player with a Course Handicap of 10 receives a handicap stroke on the first 10 allocated handicap-stroke holes. If the player does not play the sixth allocated stroke hole because of construction on the green, the player shall record a score of par plus one for handicap purposes.

Q. We’ve made changes to our course and/or don’t think our Course Ratings are correct. What do we do?

A. All Course Ratings are determined and issued by your provincial golf association. A club may never rate its own course or make adjustments to the course rating you have been issued. If you have made temporary (e.g. temporary tees/greens) or permanent changes to your golf course your club should notify the provincial golf association.

In the case of temporary changes, the association will decide whether scores made under those conditions will be accepted for handicap purposes and whether the Course or Slope rating should be modified temporarily. If you have made permanent changes to your course, the course will be re-rated by the provincial association.

Q. Does Golf Canada provide handicap calculation software?

A. Yes, all member clubs are entitled to utilize the internet-based Golf Canada Network as a member service.

Q. We have a number of questions regarding Handicap & Course Rating systems. What do we do?

A. Your handicap committee should have an up-to-date copy of the Golf Canada Handicap Manual.

If you can’t find the answer you are looking for in the manual, please call our toll-free Handicap Help Desk 1-800-263-0009 ext. 399.

Q. Should I post the scores from my winter vacation?

A. If the round(s) played were in an area observing an Active Handicap Season then you must post the score(s). Most of the southern United States observe a year-round Active Season, but you can confirm the Active Season for where you are playing by calling the State golf association for that area.

Q. What are the Active Handicap Seasons for posting rounds played in Canada?

A. BC = Mar.1 – Nov.15
AB = Mar.1 – Oct.31
SK = Apr.15 – Oct.31
MB = Apr.15 – Oct.31
ON = Apr.15 – Oct.31
QC = Apr.15 – Oct.31
NS = Apr.15 – Oct.31
NB = May.1 – Oct.31
PE = Apr.16 – Nov.14
NL = Apr.1 – Nov. 30

Q. How soon after playing do I have to post my score for handicap purposes?

A.The score must be posted immediately following the round, or if that is not possible, as soon as practicable.

Q. How do I know if a score is supposed to be posted as a Tournament Score?

A. The committee in charge of the competition and the Handicap Committee at the club must decide if a particular score is to be posted as a ‘T’ score. It is important that the committee declare to the players beforehand whether or not the score must be posted as a ‘T’ score.

Q. Are tournament scores calculated differently than regular scores?

A. No. Tournament scores are calculated the same as regular scores, but if tournament scores posted are much lower than regular scores posted the Handicap Factor may be subject to an automatic reduction. See Section 10-3 of the Handicap Manual.

Q. Should only a percentage of a player’s Course Handicap be used in competition?

A. In most forms of competition, Golf Canada recommends that players be allowed to compete with their full Course Handicap. However, there are certain forms of team competition where Golf Canada recommends a percentage be used in order to ensure a fair competition. See Section 9-4 of the Handicap Manual.

Q. Does my club have to have a Handicap Committee?

A. Yes. As per the Golf Canada Member Club Handicap License Agreement, in order to issue Handicap Factors to its members, a club must have a Handicap Committee.

Q. How is a Course Handicap calculated?

A. A player’s Course Handicap is determined by multiplying a Handicap Factor by the Slope Rating of the course played and then dividing by 113. The resulting figure is rounded off to the nearest whole number (.5 or more is rounded upward).

Q. In a match between a man and a woman, if a hole is par-5 for women and a par-4 for men and both players score a 4 on the hole, who wins the hole?

A. In match play, par is irrelevant. The player who scores the lowest on the hole wins the hole.

Q. What is the maximum handicap a person can have?

A. The maximum Handicap Factor for men is 36.4 and for women is 40.4. A Handicap Factor exceeding these limits must be identified as a Local Handicap.

Note: A maximum Handicap Factor will convert to a Course Handicap that exceeds the max. on golf courses with a Slope Rating greater than 113. Ex. A player with a Handicap Factor of 36.4 will have a Course Handicap of 43 on a course with a Slope Rating of 133.

Q. I’ve just played golf in the UK. Can I post the scores for handicap purposes?

A. Only scores from courses with a Course and Slope Rating are eligible for handicap purposes. Most courses in the UK do not have a Course and Slope Rating, so scores from these courses are not eligible. Some courses in the UK do have a Course and Slope Rating and its becoming more and more common as North American golfers have requested the ability to post scores for handicap purposes. Check the scorecard for a listing of Course and Slope Rating, or ask a golf course official.

Q. How are 9-hole score combined to create an 18-hole score?

A. 9-hole scores are combined regardless of where they were played, i.e. a front nine score from Pebble Beach will be combined with a front nine score from Hamilton GCC. The 18-hole combined score is the sum of the nine-hole Course Ratings and the average of the nine-hole Slope Ratings (.5 rounded up).

Q. How do I post a score for hole with a temporary green?

A. If the hole’s character and playing length have not been altered and you can play the hole under the Rules of Golf, then you can post your actual score on the hole. Otherwise, you must post par, plus any handicap strokes you would be entitled to on that hole. See Section 4-2 of the Handicap Manual.

Can I post a score if I play alone?

A. No, a golfer cannot post a score for Handicap purposes if you are unaccompanied during a round. If a golfer is accompanied for 7 holes on a 9-hole round or 13 holes on an 18-hole round then the golfer can post their score and use Par plus and Handicap strokes they are eligible for on any unaccompanied holes. For further information on solo rounds see FAQs.

Q. Can I post a score if I have played two balls?
Note: See Decision 5-1d/2

ANo. A score made with either ball must not be posted as such scores are not made in accordance with the Rules of golf.

Q. How can I become Handicap Certified?

A. Each provincial golf association conducts a series of handicap seminars throughout the year. The seminars are generally 3 hours long, including a brief quiz. Upon passing the quiz an attendee is then considered handicap certified (every Golf Canada member club must have a representative attend a handicap seminar) and prepared to be part of the Handicap Committee at their club (every Golf Canada club must have a Handicap Committee). Golf Canada also offers an online certification program which members are able to register to take. Visit handicap.golfcanada.ca for more information.


If you have any additional questions, please contact 
members@golfcanada.ca or call 1-800-263-0009 x 399.

 

Handicapping Manual

This manual is the complete book of information and instruction about the Golf Canada Handicap System.

First, you will find the purpose and requirements of the Handicap System followed by definitions of important terms . The responsibilities of the player are covered in the next two sections, followed by those that the player shares with the Handicap Committee at the golf club. Next, you will find responsibilities of the Handicap Committee . The Handicap System Formulas, Checks and Balances of the System, Course Rating, Golf Course Set-Up, Par Computation, and Allocation of Handicap Strokes are covered in the last eight sections. Information about Short Course Handicap and Junior Par are in the Appendices. Handicap Decisions follow each section of the manual.

Use this manual whenever a question arises about the Handicap System. Knowing the proper procedure will help provide a framework for fair and enjoyable games.

With the exception of the terms “Golf Canada”, “Golf Canada Handicap Factor”, “Handicap Factor”, and “Factor”, some of the trademarks and service marks in this manual are the property of the United States Golf Association (USGA), which has generously given Golf Canada permission to use the system.

As the owner of the term Golf Canada and a Licensee of those well established trademarks and service marks, Golf Canada has the sole right to authorize the use of those marks by others.

To order copies of Golf Canada’s Handicap Manual, call 1-800-263-0009 x283

Golf Canada’s Handicap Manual

 

Ask a Handicap Expert

To ask a Handicap question, please email Craig Loughry at cloughry@golfcanada.ca.

 

Course Rating

The purpose of the Course Rating System is to measure and rate the relative difficulty of golf courses across Canada so that a player’s Handicap Factor is accurate and transportable from golf course to golf course. The Course Rating System takes into account factors that affect the playing difficulty of a golf course including yardage, effective playing length and number of obstacle factors such as topography, elevation, doglegs, prevailing wind, bunkering, etc. After a thorough study of the Course and Slope Rating System developed by the United States Golf Association (USGA), Golf Canada approved and adopted the system for Canada in January 1995.

The Course Rating System consists of two basic elements:

Course Rating – the evaluation of the playing difficulty of a course for scratch golfers under normal course and weather conditions expressed as number of strokes (e.g. 72.5).

Slope Rating – the evaluation of the relative difficulty of a course for players who are not scratch golfers compared to the difficulty of the course for scratch golfers. The lowest Slope Rating is 55 and the highest 155. A course of standard playing difficulty will have a Slope Rating of 113.

Every member golf course should have a Course Rating and Slope rating for each set of tees at the course.

Accuracy and consistency are the keys to effective course rating. Golf Canada and the provincial golf associations work together to rate golf courses and ensure that Course Ratings are accurate and uniform from coast to coast. Only Golf Canada authorized provincial golf associations may rate golf courses. If a club disagrees with its ratings, it may request that the provincial golf association review the ratings.

 

Handicap Training Seminars & Workshops

As the governing body of golf in Canada, Golf Canada requires that all member clubs have at least one certified Handicap Official, as well as have a Handicap Committee in place.

In order to help each club achieve this requirement, Golf Canada is working with the Provincial Associations to present a number of seminars & workshops throughout the season. These sessions are an opportunity for club representatives, volunteers and any member interested to improve their knowledge in Handicapping. These sessions offer the chance to share ideas, ask questions and ensure that each club operates under the same standard across the country.

New this year, Golf Canada and your Provincial Golf Association are offering our Handicap Certification program online. Handicap Committee members or other interested members are welcome to take our online course.

This $35 course is suitable for anyone who wishes to gain a better understanding of the basics of handicapping and explains how the system was designed and how it works.

Upon completion, participants will receive an electronic certificate via email, as well as the latest edition of the Golf Canada Handicap Manual.

To sign up for the online Handicap Seminar, click here and login with your Golf Canada Membership number and your Golf Canada Score Centre password.

2018 Workshops:

Date Province Club AREA Language Registration link
Apr-28 Quebec Cap-Rouge Quebec City FR http://www.golfquebec.org/en/pages.asp?id=352
May-01 Quebec Elm Ridge Montreal FR http://www.golfquebec.org/en/pages.asp?id=353
May-05 Ontario Nobleton Lakes Golf Club Nobleton EN https://gao.ca/golfer-resources/about-handicapping/handicap-certificationtraining/
May-08 Quebec Rivermead Ottawa EN http://www.golfquebec.org/en/pages.asp?id=354
May-09 BC TBA Victoria EN http://britishcolumbiagolf.org/rules/workshops
May-12 Ontario Golt Country Club Cambridge EN https://gao.ca/golfer-resources/about-handicapping/handicap-certificationtraining/
May-14 BC Arrowsmith Golf & Country Club Arrowsmith EN http://britishcolumbiagolf.org/rules/workshops
May-26 Ontario Sarnia Golf & Curling Club Sarnia EN https://gao.ca/golfer-resources/about-handicapping/handicap-certificationtraining/
Jun-02 Ontario Dalewood Golf Club Cobourg EN https://gao.ca/golfer-resources/about-handicapping/handicap-certificationtraining/
Jun-09 Ontario Grandview Golf Club Huntsville EN https://gao.ca/golfer-resources/about-handicapping/handicap-certificationtraining/
Jun-11 BC TBA Vancouver EN http://britishcolumbiagolf.org/rules/workshops
Aug-24 BC TBA Kelowna EN http://britishcolumbiagolf.org/rules/workshops
Apr-21 Manitoba Breezy Bend Country Club Headingley EN http://golfmanitoba.mb.ca/index.php?page=education-pathway
TBA Saskatchewan TBA TBA EN http://www.golfsaskatchewan.org/default.aspx?page=64

 

For more information regarding additional dates, venues and registration please follow the below links for each Province:

Alberta Golf Association
British Columbia Golf Association
Golf Association of Ontario
Golf Manitoba
Golf New Brunswick
Golf Newfoundland Labrador
Golf Quebec
Prince Edward Island Golf Association
Saskatchewan Golf Association

Handicap Certification

As the governing body of golf in Canada, Golf Canada requires that all member clubs have at least one certified Handicap Official, as well as have a Handicap Committee in place.

In order to help each club achieve this requirement, Golf Canada is working with the Provincial Associations to present a number of seminars & workshops throughout the season. These sessions are an opportunity for club representatives, volunteers and any member interested to improve their knowledge in Handicapping. These sessions offer the chance to share ideas, ask questions and ensure that each club operates under the same standard across the country.

Golf Canada Partner Facilities under License as of April 11, 2018

Game Formats from the Golf Canada Handicap Manual

Below are examples of game formats which can be found in the Golf Canada Handicap Manual and describe how to use Handicap Factors in play. Further examples and explanations can be found in section 9-4 Handicap Allowances.

Match Play

In match play, the game is played by holes, which is won by the side that holes its ball in fewer strokes.

(i) Singles Match Play

In singles match play, the match is won by the player who is leading by a number of holes greater than the number of holes remaining to be played. After handicap allowances are determined, Section 9-3c must be applied in competitions from different tees, or in competitions between men and women from the same tees.

Allowance: The higher-handicapped player receives the full difference in Course Handicap between the two players; the lower-handicapped player plays from scratch.

Example: A player with a Course Handicap of 17 receives four strokes from a player with a Course Handicap of 13. The player receives them on the first four allocated handicap-stroke holes.

(ii) Singles Match Play vs. Par or Bogey

Bogey or par play are forms of play in which play is against a fixed score at each hole. The reckoning is made as in match play. Any hole for which a competitor returns no score must be regarded as a loss. The winner is the competitor who is most successful in the aggregate of holes (“The Rules of Golf”, Rule 32-1). After handicap allowances are determined, Section 9-3c must be applied in competitions from different tees, or in competitions between men and women from the same tees.

Allowance: Each player receives full Course Handicap.

Example: Player A with a Course Handicap of 17 receives one stroke on the first 17 handicap-stroke holes.

(iii) Four-Ball Match Play

In four-ball match play, two play their better ball against the better ball of two other players (“The Rules of Golf”, Rule 30 and Definitions). After handicap allowances are determined, Section 9-3c must be applied in competitions from different tees, or in competitions between men and women from the same tees.

Allowance: The Course Handicap of all four players is reduced by the Course Handicap of the player with the lowest handicap, who then plays from scratch. Each of the three other players is allowed 100 percent of the difference. (See Decisions 9-4a/2, 9-4a/3).

Example: Players A, B, C, and D have a Course Handicap of 5, 10, 15 and 20, respectively. Player A plays at scratch, B receives 5 strokes, C receives 10 strokes, and D receives 15 strokes. In mixed four-ball match play, strokes are taken as assigned on the players’ respective Stroke Allocation Table. The committee in charge of the competition designates the tees to be played (see Section 9-3a).

(iv) Four-Ball Match Play vs. Par or Bogey

In four-ball match play vs. par or bogey, two play their better ball against par or bogey at each hole. The winner is the team who is most successful in the aggregate of holes. After handicap allowances are determined, Section 9-3c must be applied in competitions from different tees, or in competitions between men and women from the same tees.

Allowance: Men receive 90 percent of Course Handicap; Women receive 95 percent of Course Handicap.

Example: On men’s side A-B, Player A with a Course Handicap of 10 would receive 9 strokes (10 x 90% = 9) and Player B with a Course Handicap of 16 would receive 14 strokes (16 x 90% = 14.4, rounded to 14). Strokes are taken as assigned on the players’ respective Stroke Allocation Table.

(v) Total Score of Partners Match Play

Two players form a side, but play their own ball. The combined total of their scores for each hole is the score recorded for the side. After handicap allowances are determined, Section 9-3c must be applied in competitions from different tees, or in competitions between men and women from the same tees.

Allowance: The Course Handicap of all four players is reduced by the Course Handicap of the player with the lowest handicap, who must then play from scratch. Each of the three other players is allowed 100 percent of the difference. 60 Section 9

Example: Side A-B is comprised of Player A with a Course Handicap of 5 and Player B with a Course Handicap of 10. Side C-D is comprised of Player C with a Course Handicap of 15 and Player D with a Course Handicap of 20. Player A plays at scratch, B receives 5 strokes, C receives 10 strokes, and D receives 15 strokes.

(vi) Best-Ball-of-Four Match Play vs. Par or Bogey

In best-ball-of-four match play vs. par or bogey, four play their best ball against par or bogey at each hole. The winner is the team that is most successful in the aggregate of holes. After handicap allowances are determined, Section 9-3c must be applied in competitions from different tees, or in competitions between men and women from the same tees.

Allowance: Men receive 80 percent of Course Handicap; Women receive 90 percent of Course Handicap.

Example: Men’s side A-B-C-D with a respective Course Handicap of 5, 10, 15, and 20 would each receive 80 percent of their Course Handicap (4, 8, 12, and 16 respectively). Their best net ball of the four would then be used to score vs. par or bogey. Strokes are taken as assigned on the players’ respective Stroke Allocation Table.

(vii) Foursome Match Play

In a foursome match, two play against two and each side plays one ball. In a foursome during any stipulated round the partners play alternately from the teeing grounds and alternately during the play of each hole (“The Rules of Golf”, Rule 29-1, and Definitions). After handicap allowances are determined, Section 9-3c(iii) must be applied in competitions from different tees, or in competitions between men and women from the same tees.

Allowance: The allowance for the higher-handicapped side is 50 percent of the difference between the combined Course Handicap of the members of each side. (When selected drives are permitted, the allowance is 40 percent.) The lower handicapped side competes at scratch.

Example: Side A-B with a combined Course Handicap of 15 competes against side C-D with a combined Course Handicap of 36. The higher handicapped side, C-D, receives 11 strokes (36 – 15 = 21 x 50% = 10.5 rounded to 11). Strokes are taken as assigned on the players’ respective Stroke Allocation Table.

(viii) Foursome Match Play vs. Par or Bogey

In foursome match play vs. par or bogey, a match is played against par or bogey. The winner is the side that is most successful in the aggregate of holes. After handicap allowances are determined, Section 9-3c(iii) must be applied in competitions from different tees, or in competitions between men and women from the same tees.

Allowance: The allowance is 50 percent of the partners’ combined Course Handicap. (When selected drives are permitted, the allowance is 40 percent.)

Example: On side A-B, Player A has a Course Handicap of 5 and Player B has a Course Handicap of 10. Side A-B receives 8 strokes (15 x 50% = 7.5, rounded to 8). Strokes are taken as assigned on the players’ respective Stroke Allocation Table.

(ix) Chapman or Pinehurst Match Play

In a Chapman or Pinehurst match, two play against two. Each partner plays from the teeing ground, but plays the partner’s ball for the second shot. After the second shot, partners select the ball with which they wish to score, and play that ball alternately to complete the hole. After handicap allowances are determined, Section 9-3c(iii) must be applied in competitions from different tees, or in competitions between men and women from the same tees.

Allowance: The partner with the lower Course Handicap receives 60 percent of Course Handicap. The partner with the higher Course Handicap receives 40 percent of Course Handicap. The side with the higher Course Handicap receives the difference between the Course Handicap of each side. The lower-handicapped side plays from scratch.

Example: Side A-B is comprised of Player A with a Course Handicap of 5 and Player B with a Course Handicap of 10. Player A (5 x 60% = 3) + Player B (10 x 40% = 4) = 7 strokes for side A-B (3 + 4 = 7). Side C-D is comprised of Player C with a Course Handicap of 14 and Player D with a Course Handicap of 17. Player C (14 x 60% = 8.4 rounded to 8) + Player D (17 x 40% = 6.8 rounded to 7) = 15. Side A-B plays at scratch and Side C-D receives one stroke per hole on the first 8 allocated handicap-stroke holes.

Stroke Play Formats

The golfer who plays the stipulated round or rounds in the fewest net strokes is the winner (“The Rules of Golf”, Rule 3-1). After Handicap Allowances are determined, Section 9-3c must be applied in competitions from different tees, or in competitions between men and women from the same tees.

(i) Individual Stroke Play

Allowance:

Each golfer receives full Course Handicap (A plus Course Handicap must be added to the gross score to determine the net score.)

Example: Player A has a Course Handicap of 10 and scores 82. A’s net score is 72. Player B has a Course Handicap of +2 and scores 70. Player B’s net score is 72.

(ii) Four-Ball Stroke Play

In four-ball stroke play, two golfers play as partners, each playing their own ball. The lower of the partners’ scores is the score for the hole (The Rules of Golf, Rule 31 and Definitions). After handicap allowances are determined, Section 9-3c must be applied in competitions from different tees, or in competitions between men and women from the same tees.

Allowance: Men receive 90 percent of Course Handicap; Women receive 95 percent of Course Handicap.

Example: On men’s side A-B, Player A has a Course Handicap of 8 and Player B has a Course Handicap of 20. At 90 percent of Course Handicap, Player A receives 7 strokes (8 x 90% = 7.2, rounded to 7) and Player B receives 18 strokes (20 x 90% = 18). In mixed four-ball stroke play, strokes are taken as assigned on the players’ respective Stroke Allocation Tables, and players must play from the sets of tees designated by the committee in charge of the competition.

(iii) Total Score of Partners Stroke Play

In this format, two players form a side, each plays their own ball, and the combined total of their scores for the round is the score for the side. After handicap allowances are determined, Section 9-3c must be applied in competitions from different tees, or in competitions between men and women from the same tees.

Allowance: Partners receive full combined Course Handicap.

Example: Player A has a Course Handicap of 12 and scores 87. Player B, A’s partner, has a Course Handicap of 26 and scores 101. The team score is: (87 – 12) + (101 – 26) = 75 + 75 = 150.

(iv) Best-Ball-of-Four Stroke Play

In best-ball-of-four stroke play, four players score with their best ball at each hole. After handicap allowances are determined, Section 9-3c must be applied in competitions from different tees, or in competitions between men and women from the same tees.

Allowance: Men receive 80 percent of Course Handicap; Women receive 90 percent of Course Handicap.

Example: On a mixed side A-B-C-D (A,B men, C,D women), Player A with a Course Handicap of 8 receives 6 strokes (8 x 80% = 6.4, rounded to 6). Player B with a Course Handicap of 10 receives 8 strokes (10 x 80% =8). Player C with a Course Handicap of 12 receives 11 strokes (12 x 90% = 10.8, rounded to 11). Player D with a Course Handicap of 14 receives 13 strokes (14 x 90% = 12.6, rounded to 13). The lowest net score for each hole is then counted towards the overall score for the stipulated round. Strokes are taken as assigned on the players’ respective Stroke Allocation Table.

(v) Two-Best-Balls-of-Four

In two-best-balls-of-four, four players score with their two best balls on each hole. After handicap allowances are determined, Section 9-3c 64 Section 9 must be applied in competitions from different tees, or in competitions between men and women from the same tees.

Allowance: Men receive 90 percent of Course Handicap; Women receive 95 percent of Course Handicap.

Example: On women’s side A-B-C-D, Player A with a Course Handicap of 11 receives 10 strokes (11 x 95% = 10.4, rounded to 10). Player B with a Course Handicap of 16 receives 15 strokes (16 x 95% = 15.2, rounded to 15). Player C with a Course Handicap of 22 receives 21 strokes (22 x 95%= 20.9, rounded to 21). Player D with a Course Handicap of 35 receives 33 strokes (35 x 95% = 33.25, rounded to 33). Strokes are taken as assigned on the players’ respective Stroke Allocation Table.

(vi) Foursome Stroke Play

In foursome stroke play, partners play one ball. The partners play alternately from the teeing grounds and alternately during the play of each hole (“The Rules of Golf”, Rule 29-1). After handicap allowances are determined, Section 9-3c(iii) must be applied in competitions from different tees, or in competitions between men and women from the same tees.

Allowance: The allowance is 50 percent of the partners’ combined Course Handicap. When selected drives are permitted, the allowance is 40 percent. A plus combined Course Handicap side must be added to the gross score to determine the net score.

Example: On side A-B, Player A has a Course Handicap of 5 and Player B has a Course Handicap of 12. Side A-B’s combined Course Handicap is 17. Side A-B will receive 9 strokes (17 x 50% = 8.5, rounded to 9).

(vii) Chapman or Pinehurst Stroke Play

In Chapman or Pinehurst stroke play, two players play as partners, each playing from the teeing ground and each playing the partner’s ball for the second shot. After the second shot, partners select the ball with which they wish to score, and play that ball alternately to complete the hole. After handicap allowances are determined, Section 9-3c(iii) must be applied in competitions from different tees, or in competitions between men and women from the same tees.

Allowance: The player with the lower Course Handicap is allowed 60 percent of Course Handicap. The player with the higher Course Handicap is allowed 40 percent of Course Handicap.

Example: On side A-B, Player A has a Course Handicap of 10 and Player B has a Course Handicap of 18. 60% of Player A’s Course Handicap is 6 (10 x 60% = 6); 40% of Player B’s Course Handicap is 7 (18 x 40% = 7.2, rounded to 7) so the total is 13. Side A-B will receive 13 strokes.

(viii) Stableford Competition The calculation in Stableford competitions is made by points awarded in relation to a fixed score (usually par or net par) at each hole as shown below: The winner is the golfer who scores the highest number of points (“The Rules of Golf”, Rule 32-1b). After handicap allowances are determined, Section 9-3c must be applied in competitions from different tees, or in competitions between men and women from the same tees.

Allowance: Players use full Course Handicap, and strokes are taken as they are allocated on the Stroke Allocation Table.

Example: Player A has a Course Handicap of 16 in a Stableford competition based on net scores with par as the fixed score. Player A’s gross score of 5 on a par 4 allocated as the 15th handicap-stroke hole results in a net score of 4 (par). Player A receives two points for the hole.

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