You are not the only one to wonder, “How do I get a golf handicap?” Many golfers do. Here’s what the USGA says:
“While the USGA® develops the formula used in tabulating handicaps, it does not issue them directly to individual golfers. A USGA Handicap Index is issued through licensed golf clubs that follow all the procedures of the established USGA Handicap System™.”
“Licensed golf clubs,” then, are your ticket to establishing a golf handicap. You can join a club or create a club starting with a minimum 10 members. There are three types of clubs:
- A club located at a specific golf course
- A club based on affiliation such as business, fraternal, ethnic or social
- A club largely made up of people who joined because of a solicitation through newspaper, Internet, etc. The newest of the clubs, the USGA calls this type “golf clubs without real estate.”
If you are unable or don’t want to join a club at a golf course, or are not part of an affiliation-based club, then you could find or form your own golf club without real estate by finding nine other like-minded golfers. You do have to follow established USGA procedures. So you wanted to know “how do I get a golf handicap?” Find and join or form a golf club! If you are curious about what your handicap is, you can view the steps to calculating your golf handicap.
Handicap System Web Edition is a tool appropriate for all three types of clubs. Golfers can post scores, view personal scores and handicap as well as view club members’ scores and handicaps.
If you use the right software, will your handicap be “official.” Not necessarily. Software may help with the accuracy of your golf handicap calculation, but it cannot give you an official USGA handicap. The USGA says:
Q. Does the USGA® offer or recommend any handicap software?
A. The USGA does not offer or recommend handicap software to golf clubs.
How then do you acquire an official USGA handicap? Whether you use software, a spreadsheet or scribbles on a napkin, ultimately it is an approved golf club – organization – that provides you with an official USGA Index which can be used to calculate a course handicap. Here is what the USGA Handicap Manual says:
Section 2 of the USGA Handicap System™ defines a golf club as follows:
A “golf club” is an organization of at least ten individual members that operates under bylaws with committees (including a Handicap Committee) to supervise golf activities, provide peer review, and maintain the integrity of the USGA Handicap System (see Compliance Checklist, Section 8-2m; Decision 2/7). A golf club must be licensed by the USGA® to utilize the USGA Handicap System. A club can obtain a license agreement directly from the USGA or through its membership in an authorized golf association that is already licensed by the USGA and that has jurisdiction in the geographic area that includes the principal location of the golf club.
Each golf club must determine its type. A golf club is one of three (3) types:
1. It is located at a single specific golf course with a valid USGA Course RatingT and USGA Slope Rating® where a majority of the club’s events are played and the club’s scoring records reside; or
2. Its members are affiliated or known to one another via a business, fraternal, ethnic or social organization. The majority of the club members had an affiliation prior to organizing the club; or
3. The members had no prior affiliation and a majority of the recruiting and sign-up of the membership is done by solicitation to the general public (e.g., Internet, newspaper).
Our Handicap System software calculates exact USGA Indexes. However exact it is, though, it is a club licensed by the USGA that provides you with a golf handicap with its “official” USGA stamp of approval.