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Handicap Frequently Asked Questions

What is the “R” next to my index?

The “R” indicates that a golfer is being reduced due to exceptional tournament scores. The reduction is an automatic part of the Index calculation. Eligible tournament scores stay in a stored tournament file for a year from the date they were posted or within the scoring record. Each revision, the computer looks at what the golfer’s calculated (10-2) Handicap Index is. If there are at least two tournament differentials in the file at 3.0 points below the calculated Index, then the golfer may be reduced. The calculation also takes into account the total number of eligible tournament games the golfer has posted. If the golfer has shown they can play to a certain level but the current Index is not reflecting that potential, the system automatically reduces the golfer down to his or her playing potential.

How long it lasts depends upon the calculated index, which is based on the scores the golfer has posted, what the two low tournament differentials are and how many eligible tournament games are in the player’s file.

To be clear, this is not a penalty, but rather part of the formula for calculating a player’s Handicap Index. If you feel this reduction is not warranted, you can speak to your Handicap committee about removing or modifying the reduction.

I have an incorrect score in my file. How do I fix it?

To have a score corrected or removed, a golfer must contact the Handicap Chair at his/her golf club. We do not perform any file maintenance requests that come directly from individual members.

How is a Handicap Index calculated?

For each score posted, a handicap differential is calculated. The formula is:
Handicap Differential = (Adjusted Gross score – USGA/SCGA Course Rating) x 113 / USGA/SCGA Slope Rating

Using this example:
Bill’s adjusted gross score was 95 at a course with 73.5/130 (Course Rating/Slope Rating)
Adjusted Gross Score 95.0
Minus the course rating (73.5)
Result = 21.5

Multiply Result by standard Slope (113) of a golf course: 21.5 X 113 = 2429.5
Divide by the slope of the tees played: 2429.5/130 = 18.688 Handicap Differential = 18.7 (rounded)

Once your score file consists of 20 scores, your ten lowest differentials are added together, divided by ten and then multiplied by 96%, the result being your Index. You do not round the result. Your ten lowest differentials are used, not necessarily the ten lowest scores in your score file.

A player needs a minimum of five scores to calculate a Handicap Index. If a player has at least five but fewer than 20 differentials available, the Handicap Index will be computer as follows:

Scores Available
  =     Differentials
to be used
5 or 6   = Lowest 1
7 or 8   = Lowest 2
9 or 10   = Lowest 3
11 or 12   = Lowest 4
13 or 14   = Lowest 5
15 or 16   = Lowest 6
17   = Lowest 7
18   = Lowest 8
19   = Lowest 9


How many scores does it take to establish a Handicap Index?

A player needs a minimum of five 18-hole scores to calculate a Handicap Index (or 10 nine-hole scores). See “How is a Handicap Index Calculated?” above for more details.

I am new to golf. How do I figure my Course Handicap?

The easiest way to determine your Course Handicap for the tees you will be playing is to use the Slope tables at the back of the Southern California Golf Association Directory of Golf.   Take your calculated Index (example 16.1) and locate the Slope table (example: 136 for the middle tees 72.0/136).  For a 16.1 playing on a 136 Slope, the Course Handicap converts to a 19. Other places to determine your Course Handicap is the Slope Conversion Charts at the golf course. Or visit the Handicap Index Lookup feature on this website’s homepage. Enter your member number to bring up your scoring file and under the tab C.H. Calculator, enter the Slope for the tees you will be playing.

I heard that I had to use my adjusted gross score as the score to post. What is that?

An adjusted gross score is a player’s gross score adjusted under the USGA Handicap System procedures for unfinished holes, conceded strokes, holes not played or not played under the Rules of Golf, or Equitable Stroke Control (ESC). ESC is the downward adjustment of individual hole scores for handicap purposes, in order to make handicaps 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.

Say a player has a 19 Course Handicap: the most he could post for any hole would be a 7. So if he scored 102 and had an 11 on the sixth hole (a par 5) and had a 9 on hole 14 (a par 4), he would need to deduct four strokes for the sixth hole (11 – 7 = 4) and two on hole 14 (9 – 7 = 2) for a total of six strokes deducted from the 102 gross score. This gives him an adjusted gross score of 96 (102 – 4 – 2 = 96).