Chicago District Golf Association (CDGA)


Members in the Chicago area who would like to get a Handicap Index should go through the Chicago District Golf Association (CDGA).  This is the only option locally for maintaining an official Handicap.  Other states/regions also have qualified organizations.  Sign up on the CDGA website - the cost is $40 for a year with auto renewal.  Choose the LPGA Amateur Golf Association as your home club.  Use the CDGA website or app to post your scores, or you can post at the course's handicap terminal – usually in the pro shop. 

About Handicaps

Basically, all you need to know is: Get a handicap, play golf, and post your scores daily hole by hole.

A handicap, or handicap index, enables golfers of different abilities, age, and sex to play and compete on a fair basis, in any format, on any course, from any tees, and anywhere around the world as the USGA implemented the World Handicapping System. 

The most common reason for getting a handicap index is for use in competitions.   Many of you participate in our Chicago Metro events or CDGA Member Days and tournaments. Most require a handicap index to play. 

Even if you don’t compete, it’s still useful to get a handicap index. It’s a good tool to watch your progress over the season and feel good about your successes.  Tracking your scores pushes you to improve and because you must enter a valid score, it teaches you to pay more attention to and learn the rules of golf and handicaps.  It also makes a friendly match more fun.

Only 54 holes are needed in any combination of 18- or 9-hole rounds to get your first handicap index and the maximum handicap index is now 54!  So, do it!  The system will start calculating your Handicap Index once you have posted 54 holes. 

The biggest misconception about a handicap is that it indicates the average number of strokes you generally score over par. A handicap index is now calculated using the lowest 8 scoring differentials of your most recent 20 rounds; it is an indicator of your potential playing ability.  You should only play to your course handicap on average once in every 4-5 rounds (20% of the time).

Remember to post your score after you play.  Your handicap index will adjust the next day.

What if I don’t want to post my scores hole by hole?

There are a lot of calculations that go into determining your handicap. Most of these happen behind the scenes. If you want to enter your total score for a round instead of hole by hole, make sure you understand the concept of net double bogey.  

Before you submit your total score, you might need to adjust some bad holes.  The highest score you can post on a hole is net double bogey, which is Par + 2 + any handicap strokes received on a hole.  In order to calculate net double bogey, you need to know your course handicap.  Your handicap app or the USGA course handicap calculator can quickly calculate your course handicap based on the course and tees you are playing.  

Remember, if you are past your net double bogey, you may pick up at any time to speed play.

What if I didn’t finish a hole or didn’t play a few holes?

For holes you started but did not finish, use your Most Likely Score.  Here is the new guidance to determine how many strokes to add to the number of strokes you were at when you stopped playing the hole.

Position of the ball: Strokes to be added:

On the putting green within 5 feet of the hole

Add 1 additional stroke

Between 5 feet and 20 yards from the hole 

Add 2 or 3 additional strokes, depending on the position of the ball, the difficulty of the green and the ability of the player

Beyond 20 yards from the hole Add 3 or 4 additional strokes, depending on the position of the ball, the difficulty of the green and the ability of the player

For holes you did not start, use net par (par + any handicap strokes received on a hole) based on your course handicap.

If you didn’t finish your round or skipped a couple holes, handicap rules require that you post a 9-hole score if between 7 and 13 holes are completed.  If you play 14 or more, a player must post an 18-hole score.

Biggest Handicap Loser Competition (BHLC)

Join your fellow members in a friendly, FREE competition to see if you can become the Biggest Loser for this year's golf season.  This is a free contest for Chicago Metro Chapter members.  It is separate from the national Biggest Loser Handicap Challenge run by the LPGA Amateurs Golf Association.  

You are automatically entered if you keep your handicap with CDGA and list LPGA Amateur Golf Association as your home club.  You don’t have to do anything!  If you keep your handicap with CDGA or other service and don’t list LPGA Amateur Golf Association as your home club, you can still participate but YOU MUST contact our Handicap Chair to enter (so she knows where to find your handicap index).

Click here for more information about the BHLC.

For More Information

For more detailed explanations of the calculations and rules of handicapping, check out this site:


For further assistance, please contact our Handicap Chair at handicap@lpgaamateurschicago.com


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