What scores are acceptable for handicap posting purposes?
Almost all scores are acceptable because of the basic premise of the USGA Handicap System™ which states that every player will try to make the best score at each hole in every round, regardless of where the round is played, and that the player will post every acceptable round for peer review.
Therefore, all of the following are acceptable scores:
- When at least seven holes are played (7-12 holes are posted as a 9-hole score;
13 or more are posted as an 18-hole score)
- Scores on all courses with a valid Course Rating™ and Slope Rating®
- Scores in all forms of competition: match play, stroke play, and team competitions where each player plays his own ball
- Scores made under The Rules Of Golf
- Scores played under the local rule of “preferred lies”
- Scores made in an area observing an active season*
Score Not Acceptable for Handicap Posting Purposes:
- When fewer than seven holes are played
- When made on a golf course in an area in which an inactive season established by the authorized golf association is in effect
- When, as a condition of the competition, the maximum number of clubs allowed is less than 14, or types of clubs are limited as, for example, in a competition that allows only iron clubs
- When scores are made on a course with no USGA Course Rating or Slope Rating
- When a player uses non-conforming clubs, non-conforming balls, or non-conforming tees; or when a player incurs a second breach of Rule 14-3. (NEW 2016)
- When a player plays alone; (NEW 2016) – Click here for more information on why!
- When a player ignores one or more Rules of Golf and fails to post an adjusted hole score as required under Section 4-1 and 4-2, or fails to record the appropriate penalty for a breach of rule. For example, if a player anchored the club while making a stroke during a round and did not record a penalty for doing so (See Rule 14-1b), the score would not have been played under the Rules of Golf and therefore would not be acceptable for handicap purposes. (NEW 2016)
Please visit Section 5-1 of the USGA Handicap System manual for further reference.
Equitable Stroke Control
*The active season for posting scores shot in Vermont runs from April 15th through the end of October. For posting purposes only, golfers must adjust their scores on holes that are typically higher than what they normally shoot based on the ESC (Equitable Stroke Control) chart. So, for example, a player with a course handicap of 9 or less would post no more than a double bogey on any hole, so if that score of 12 happened on a par 3, this player would post a 5 for that hole. A player with a course handicap between 10 and 19 can post no more than a 7 on any hole, so this player would adjust that 12 down to a 7. For more information on posting scores with ESC, click here.