USGA Handicapping System
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™.
The USGA Handicap System™ enables golfers of all skill levels to compete on an equitable basis. This section of the site will help golfers understand why having a Handicap Index® is important.
There are links to "The USGA Handicap System" manual, the USGA's handicapping equivalent of "The Rules of Golf", and a Course Handicap™ calculator to allow players to convert their Handicap Index to the Course Handicap of any course that has been properly rated. Articles and resources are available for anyone interested in starting a golf club or for current Handicap Committee chairmen who need assistance in maintaining handicaps for their respective clubs.
In order to establish a HANDICAP INDEX, you must join a GOLF CLUB that meets any of the following criteria:
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.
A golf club must be licensed by the USGA® to utilize the USGA Handicap System. A club can obtain a license agreement through its membership in an authorized golf association that is already licensed by the USGA such as the Puerto Rico Golf Association and that has jurisdiction in the geographic area that includes the principal location of the golf club.
Each golf club must determine its type taking into consideration any of the three (3) descriptions below:
It is located at a single specific golf course with a valid USGA Course Rating and USGA Slope Rating® where a majority of the club's events are played and the club's scoring records reside;
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;
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., the Internet, newspaper).
Once you have joined/formed your club, you will need to at least accumulate ten 18-holes scores for rounds you have played, observing the Rules of Golf, and enter them into the GHIN System for calculation of your first USGA Handicap Index. This number will determine your ability in the game in relation to par, and taking in consideration the Course Rating and Slope for the Set of Tees you played during each round.