Handicap Procedures And Controls

The United States Golf Association (USGA) Handicap System is the official handicapping system of the Southern California Golf Association (SCGA) and the Space Park Golf Club (SPGC). The purpose of the handicap system is to allow players of differing abilities to compete on an equitable basis. All SPGC members' handicap indices will be computed in accordance with this system. A handicap index must be earned. No player has the inherent right to an index without providing evidence of his playing ability. Handicapping is the heart of the game of golf and the prime responsibility lies with the individual golfer to maintain his scores in the spirit of the handicapping rules delineated in this section.


Each member is responsible for the correct posting of his adjusted gross score. SPGC uses the SCGA/USGA GHIN computer system to collect and record scores and to calculate handicap indices. After each round you should check your score, make the proper adjustments using the Max Score system for each hole and post your adjusted gross score on the computer. This is the score that the SCGA/GHIN will use to determine your handicap index.

On the 1st and 15th of each month, handicap indices are calculated and distributed to members via email. They are also posted on this website. Scores posted after 9:00 PM the night before this index calculation will be used in the following period’s index calculation.

The SCGA website allows you to print onto your personal printer your current index information twice a month (after the 1st and after the 15th). You may download this information at the following website: http://www.scga.org/Handicap/HandicapIndexLookup.aspx


Your SCGA Membership and Index Card is one way to verify and record your monthly index. The card is included in the year's first issue of the FORE magazine that is sent to you by the SCGA. Two cards will be provided for each club to which you belong. One card is for your wallet and the other can be attached to your golf bag if you so choose.. For each handicap period, you receive an email with your current handicap data which displays the last 20 rounds you played, the low rounds (highlighted) used for your index calculation, your lowest index in the past twelve months and your current index. This card should be kept handy and current, especially if you play away rounds or tournaments. It is recognized nationwide and, if needed, is a convenient way to introduce yourself to an "Away" club and verify your index at the same time.


As a basic rule of handicapping, all 18 hole rounds played at any course (except for "scores not acceptable" as defined below) should be posted.

Scores not acceptable for posting

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

  1. 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 you play 7 or more holes but less than 13 holes in any single round you may post the score as a 9 hole round score subject to the SCGA guidelines.

  2. 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.

  3. When the format does not allow the player to play his own ball for the entire round. (Scotch Twosome, Scramble, etc.)

  4. When a game is played on a course under repair and temporary tees and/or greens arc being used - unless the SCGA office is notified when this type of situation exists and a temporary rating can be established while the course is under repair.

  5. 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 the hole must record (for indexing purposes) a score for the hole or holes as follows:

  1. The player picks up before completing the hole he should record his score as 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 Max Score system.

  2. 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 Max Score system.

  3. 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 Max Score system. If this does happen follow the guidelines mentioned in 1 or 2 (above).

In any of the three previous situations an "X" should be marked next to the score for the hole(s) affected.

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.

Incomplete Rounds

If a player has an incomplete round, but has completed a majority (13 or more) of the holes, he must record a "Net Par" for those holes not played. In this way he will provide a complete 18-hole round score for indexing purposes.

Example: On a par four hole that he receives a stroke on, the player would put a "5X" down as the score for that hole. If he did not receive a stroke then he would put a "4X" as the score for that hole.

Tournament Scores

All tournaments played by a member shall be recorded on a card that is either available from the course starter or the tournament host. The card should contain the first and last name 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 identify 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.

Immediately following the completion of that round the player will post their adjusted score on the GHIN computer as a "T''' tournament round and the card turned into the tournament host. The Handicap Committee will review Tournament scorecards and compare them to scores posted on a regular basis.

Away Scores

All Away games should be posted. Most golf courses have the GHIN computerized handicapping system where you can post your score. It is the responsibility of the player to make certain that his correct SCGA/GHIN identification number and adjusted score (according to the MAX Score system) has been entered.

The scoring peculiarities of many golfers must be considered in order to produce equitable indexes. This is why a handicap is not simply the difference between a player's average score and the course rating. It is also why index controls are incorporated as checks and balances to offset abnormal scoring.

Max Score

Under the Max system an 18-hole score is adjusted downward when, due to one or more unusually high scores on an individual hole or number of holes, the score is abnormal in relation to the player's general playing ability.

Each player is responsible for adjusting his score in accordance with the USGA Max score system before it is turned in for indexing purposes. Your Max Score is net double bogie for each hole. Max Score applies to all 18 holes and not just to incomplete holes on which a player is entitled to handicap strokes.

Max score is based on your course handicap for the applicable course being played.  Thus if your index is an 8.9 and you play a course with a Rating of 100 you handicap would be a 9.  Thus the maximum score on the the 9 hardest holes is par + 2 + 1.  The 9 easiest holes would be par + 2. 

In tournaments, your playing handicap may differ from your course handicap. This often happens when golfers are playing from different tee boxes with different total pars. The tournament information sheet will show both handicaps. Make sure you adjust your scores based on your course handicap.

Temporary Index

A player may have a temporary index established on as few as 5 scores and based on the lowest of the 5 scores and continue according to a formula until he has accumulated 20 scores. Scoring records shall be maintained continuously from year to year. Scores made in a new calendar year shall be added to those of the preceding calendar year to make up the required total of 20 scores from which to select the player's 10 lowest index differentials used to calculate his monthly index.

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:

  1. Failure to Post

  2. Scorecard omissions such as first and last name, date, scorer's signature, attester's signature, SCGA number, handicap not indicated, tees used, etc.

  3. Failure to return a scorecard.

  4. Posting a tournament score as Away (A) instead of Tournament (T).

  5. Failure to make proper adjustments prior to posting

  6. 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 who scores consistently better in tournaments than what his index indicates is his "normal" playing ability.

USGA/SCGA Penalty Policy

Continued violations or deviations by an individual player from written or stated policies of the U.S.G.A., S.C.G.A 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 Max Score system (see below). The adjusted score shall be used for index calculation purposes only.

Max Score System

"Max Score" is the downward adjustment for handicap purposes of unusually high score(s) 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 handicap is a numerical measure of a golfer's potential playing ability based on the tees played for a given course. It is used to calculate a net score from the number of strokes actually played during a competition, thus allowing players of different proficiency to play against each other on somewhat equal terms. The higher the handicap of a player, the poorer the player is relative to those with lower handicaps.

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

"Rating" is the evaluation of the playing difficulty of a golf course compared with other rated courses. It is expressed in strokes and decimal fractions of a stroke, based on the play of a theoretical amateur scratch golfer. The SCGA Rating Committee establishes the golf course rating for member clubs. In addition to rating new courses, the committee is responsible for re-rating existing courses due to major changes in the course, changes in its playing conditions or every 5 to 7 years, whichever occurs first. The members of the rating committee playing the course establish the ratings from both actual yardage measurements and course topography affecting play.