Handicap Procedures And Controls

The World Handicap System as adopted by United States Golf Association (USGA) is the official handicapping system of the Southern California Golf Association (SCGA) and therefore also of the Los Verdes Men's Golf and Country Club (LVMGCC).

The World Handicap System includes the Rules of Handicapping and the Course Rating System. Its purpose is to enhance the enjoyment of the game of golf and to give as many golfers as possible the opportunity to:

  • Obtain and maintain a Handicap Index,
  • Use their Handicap Index on any golf course around the world, and
  • Compete, or play a casual round, with anyone else on a fair and equal basis.
This is achieved by:
  • The establishment of Course Ratings and Slope Ratings for each set of tees of all golf courses based on length and playing difficulty of the respective hole.
  • Limiting the maximum score per hole for handicap purposes to ensure a player’s index continues to reflect a player’s demonstrated ability.
  • Applying a uniform calculation method for updating an Index for all acceptable scores submitted.
  • Reviewing a player’s Index on a regular basis to ensure it continues to reflect the player’s demonstrated ability.
  • Assessing the impact of playing conditions, using the scores of all players on a course on a specific day and applying adjustments when necessary. – If playing in a heavy storm makes a player shoot 10-15 strokes higher than his normal performance on the course, the posted score would have an unfortunate impact on his Handicap Index. However, if all players on that course on that day have similar unusually high scores, his posted score may be subjected to an automatic adjustment along with the posted scores of everybody else!
Unless otherwise communicated by the Tournament Chair or Captain, each member is responsible for the correct posting of his adjusted gross score of all rounds played anywhere.

LVMGCC uses the SCGA / USGA GHIN computer system to collect and record scores and to calculate handicap indices. After each round a golfer must check his score, make the proper adjustments using the Net Double Bogey system for each hole, and post his adjusted gross score online or via the GHIN App.

The Club recommends members post their scores by hole instead of as a total score, as doing so will calculate and post any adjustments automatically!

A golfers GHIN Index is updated daily, so the Club is not able to calculate and distribute handicap indices on a regular basis. The Golf Handicap Information Network (www.ghin.com) allows golfers to post their scores and access their index in real time. It recommends downloading the GHIN Mobile App, as this also replaces the printed Membership and Handicap Index Card of the past.

Apple: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/ghin-mobile/id491796218?mt=8
Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.advancedmobile.android.ghin&hl=en_US


A basic rule of handicapping is that all rounds played at any course (except for "scores not acceptable" as defined below) should be posted.

For an 18-hole score to be acceptable for handicap purposes, a minimum of 14 holes must be played. If a player plays more than 9 holes but fewer than 14, all surplus hole scores are disregarded, and a 9-hole acceptable score must be submitted.

An acceptable 9-hole score must be played over 9 holes with a current Course Rating and Slope Rating, and when a score is scaled back to a 9-hole acceptable score, it will automatically be combined with another acceptable 9-hole score to create an 18-hole score for Handicap Index purposes.

For a 9-hole score to be acceptable for handicap purposes, a minimum of 7 holes must be played. If a player has not recorded a score on at least the minimum number of holes required for a 9-hole score, the score is not acceptable for handicap purposes.

Scores made under the following conditions are not acceptable for index calculation purposes and should not be posted in any form:

  • When less than 13 holes are played for posting an 18-hole score or less than 7 holes are played for posting a 9-hole score. If 7 or more holes but less than 13 holes are completed in any single round, the golfer may post the score as a 9-hole round score subject to the SCGA guidelines.
  • When the types of clubs used are limited or the number of clubs used is limited to less than 14 i.e., a competition in which only iron clubs or 3 clubs and a putter are allowed.
  • When the format does not allow the player to play his own ball for the entire round. (Scotch Two-some, Alternate Shot, Scramble, etc.)
  • When a game is played on a course under repair and temporary tees and/or greens are used - unless the SCGA office is notified, when this type of situation exists and a temporary rating has been established, while the course is under repair.
  • When a game is played on a course with no SGCA/USGA Course or Slope Rating

Incomplete Holes:

In normal play, as well as Better-Ball and Match Play tournaments, a player who picks up and does not finish a hole must record (for indexing purposes) a score as follows:

  • The player picks up before completing a hole must record his score as the number of strokes taken to that point plus the number of strokes, he most likely would have taken most of the time from that point to complete the hole. – His score for that hole is subject to not exceeding the maximum stokes allowed under the Net Double Bogey rule.
  • When a putt is conceded, the score for index purposes shall be the number of strokes taken to that point plus the number of strokes the player most likely would have taken most of the time from that point to complete the hole. – His score for that hole is subject to not exceeding the maximum stokes allowed under the Net Double Bogey rule.
  • It is not contemplated that a player will discontinue play on a hole, if there is a reasonable chance that he will play the hole in fewer strokes than allowed under the Net Double Bogey rule. However, if this does happen, he must follow the guidelines in 1 or 2 (above).

Under no circumstance shall these provisions be utilized to artificially control one's index. If these provisions should be used for such purposes, the Handicap Committee may adjust the player's index arbitrarily downward.

All games played by a member of the LVMGC must be recorded on a score card containing the first and last name of each player, the SCGA identification number of each player, the handicap of each player (if one exists), the number of strokes taken on each hole, and the gross, net, and adjusted score for each player. The card should identity which set of tees were used and be signed and dated by the player keeping score and attested by another person present during the round. The score keeper is responsible for the safe keeping of such score card in case a copy is requested by the Handicap Chair.

Immediately following the completion of each round (same day), a player must post his adjusted score on the GHIN computer, online, or via the GHIN App. Indices are updated daily, so failure to comply with this rule might cause issues in future rounds.

Rules of Handicapping, Adjusted Scores, etc.

Before a Handicap Index Has Been Established:

  • For a player submitting his first scores to obtain an initial Handicap Index, the maximum score for each hole played is limited to Par + 5 strokes!

After a Handicap Index Has Been Established (after 3 18-hole scores):

  • For a player with an established Handicap Index, the maximum score for each hole is limited to Net Double Bogey!
  • Net Double Bogey = Double Bogey +/- any handicap strokes received on a hole, or put differently:
  • Par of the hole + 2 strokes +/- any handicap strokes the player receives on that hole!

Net Double Bogey:

The World Handicap System retired the Equitable Stroke Control (ESC) system two years ago and replaced it with the much simpler and more equitable Net Double Bogey rule!

Net Double Bogey is the maximum allowed hole score for handicap purposes for all players.

The adjustment procedure is typically applied after the round and before a score is posted, and as mentioned, the Club highly recommends hole-by-hole posting to take advantage of the automatic adjustment algorithm provided by the system.

Net Double Bogey prevents the occasional bad hole from impacting a golfers Handicap Index too severely.

Temporary Index

World Handicap System did away with the concept of a Temporary Index when it lowered the requirement for obtaining a handicap index to 3 18-hole or 6 9-hole postings.

Penalty Assessments (Local Rules)

During the regularly sponsored club tournaments the player is responsible for his score on the scorecard. He is also responsible for posting his correctly adjusted gross score on the GHIN computer. The tournament committee will correct scorecards for errors in addition and net score as relates to the tournament. The Handicap Committee will review the cards for proper score adjustment and correct posted scores for the tournament for any posting errors.

During tournament or regular play, a warning or penalty may be assessed on a player for:

  • Failure to Post
  • Scorecard omissions such as first and last name, date, scorer's signature, attester's signature, SCGA number, handicap not indicated, tees used, etc.
  • Failure to return a scorecard.
  • Posting a tournament score as Home (H) instead of Tournament (C).
  • Failure to make proper adjustments prior to posting
  • When there is an error in addition indicating a higher score than the player actually incurred, and that gross score was adjusted and posted.

No penalties will be assessed by the handicap committee for scorecards incorrectly added resulting in a lower score than the player actually incurred. The incorrect lower score may be corrected or may be allowed to remain.

Handicap Increases and Decreases (USGA Rules: Section 8-3d.)

Arbitrary Penalty:

  • Based on analysis, and at the discretion of the Handicap Committee, a player's handicap may be reduced, or frozen, when normal computation methods produce a handicap obviously too high for the individual's ability. Example: A player scores consistently better in tournaments than what his index would indicate is his "normal" playing ability.

USGA/SCGA Penalty Policy

  • Continued violations or deviations by an individual player from written or stated policies of the USGA, SCGA or local Handicap Committee may result in a player’s suspension from tournament play by deletion of his handicap index.


Adjusted Gross Score
  • "Adjusted Gross Score" is a players' gross score minus any adjustment under the Net Double Bogey rule. The adjusted score shall be used for index calculation purposes only.
Net Double Bogey
  • "Net Double Bogey" is the downward adjustment for handicap purposes of an unusually high score on an individual hole or number of holes.
Gross Score
  • "Gross Score" is a player's actual score before it is adjusted by his handicap,
  • A "Minus Handicap" is the number of artificial strokes a player receives to adjust his scoring ability to the common level of scratch or zero-handicap golf.
  • A "Plus Handicap" is the number of artificial strokes a player gives to adjust his scoring ability to the common level of scratch or zero-handicap golf.
Net Score:
  • A "net score" is a player's score after his gross score has been adjusted by his handicap.
Course Rating and Slope Rating:
  • The Course Rating and Slope Rating make up the evaluation of the playing difficulty of the course for the scratch player and the bogey player under normal playing conditions.
  • The effective playing length is determined from the measurement of each hole, adjusted for the impact of roll, wind, elevation changes, altitude, doglegs and forced lay ups.
  • In addition to the effective playing length, there are 10 obstacle factors evaluated on each hole for both the scratch player and the bogey player. These are:
    • Topography
    • Fairway
    • Green target
    • Recoverability and rough
    • Bunkers
    • Crossing obstacles
    • Lateral obstacles
    • Trees
    • Green surface, and
    • Psychology
The Course Rating System uses table values, adjustments, and formulas to calculate ratings.
  • The Course Rating is calculated from the effective playing length and obstacle factors for 9 or 18 designated holes.
  • The Course Rating is expressed in strokes to one decimal point and represents the expected score for a scratch player.
  • The Bogey Rating represents the expected score for a bogey player.
  • The Slope Rating represents the difference between the Course Rating and the Bogey Rating.
  • A golf course of standard relative difficulty has a Slope Rating of 113.