10 Things for Golfers to Know After Signing Up for a Handicap Index​® ​


  1. A Handicap Index represents your demonstrated playing ability. Your number is based on your scores relative to the course and tees played during those rounds. (Learn More) 
  2. After you post a score, it’s converted to a Score Differential™ - which accounts for the Course Rating™ and Slope Rating™ of the tees played. (Learn More) 
  3. A Handicap Index is calculated by averaging your 8 best Score Differentials from your most recent 20 scores. There are also built-in safeguards applied when: 
    1. you post an exceptional score, or 
    2. there is extreme upward movement in your Handicap Index.
    3. A Handicap Index can be calculated with as few as 54 holes worth of scores. When less than 20 scores are in your scoring record, fewer scores are used to calculate your Handicap Index. (Learn More) 
  4. Your first Handicap Index will be issued the day after you have posted scores from 54-holes to your scoring record. These scores can be made up of any combination of 9- or 18-hole rounds. (Learn More) 
  5. A Handicap Index is updated at midnight local time the day after you post a score. (Learn More) 
    1. As a result, it’s important to post your scores on the same day of play. 
  6. A Course Handicap is the number of strokes needed to play to par of the tees being played. (Learn More) 
    1. You will have the ability to convert your Handicap Index to a Course Handicap once a Handicap Index has been established (see #4). 
  7. The max hole score for handicap purposes is a net double bogey, equal to double bogey + any handicap strokes received, based on your Course Handicap. (Learn More) 
    1. Until a Handicap Index is established, the max hole score is 5 over par. 
    2. If using the hole-by-hole option, the adjustment for max hole score is made automatically. 
  8. If you don’t play a hole, for instance, due to darkness - you are required to enter your played holes as hole by hole scores and the formula will generate an expected score (and Score Differential) for a composite of played and unplayed holes (minimum nine holes played).
    1. You must play at least 9 holes on a rated nine to post a 9-hole score, which will be converted to an 18-hole Score Differential (once a Handicap Index is issued)
    2.  A round of 10-17 holes played will be converted to an 18-hole Score Differential, if the unplayed holes are left blank during the score entry process.
  9. If you start but don’t finish a hole, for instance, because a putt is conceded during match play - the score recorded for handicap purposes is your most likely score. (Learn More) 
  10. It is important to post all acceptable scores so your Handicap Index continues to accurately reflect your game. A popular method for posting scores is through a mobile app. For additional ways to post a score, or for help with correcting a score posted in error, contact a member of the Handicap Committee at your club or the SCGA. (Learn More) 

            10 Things to Know Handicap Index - updated for 24