Time to Switch to GHIN for Handicap Tracking

As you may be aware the USGA informed LPGA Amateurs that they would not accept handicaps from GolfNet after the end of this year. If you have been using GolfNet to maintain your handicap they did negotiate it's use for one more year until the end of 2022, but as of January 1, 2022 no new members may sign up for GolfNet. 

Members who have been using GolfNet have the opportunity to transfer their handicaps to GHIN (Golf Handicap Information Network). This is a service offered by the USGA to golf associations worldwide. GHIN is one of the largest handicap management tools in the world, serving more than 2.3 million golfers and 15,000 golf clubs. Its services include the USGA Admin Portal for golfer management, score posting products for golfers and USGA Tournament Management. 

Our Chapter has been set up as an Affinity Member Club with the Texas Golf Association so that ANY member, new or old, can join for only $24 and carry their handicap through GHIN with the TGA and also have the benefits that TGA membership brings.   This is the LOWEST price for TGA membership and some ladies may choose to transfer their membership to the Chapter instead of through a public course.  

Steps for setting up GHIN account for old and new members:

  1. Go to 
  2. If you have been using GolfNet for your handicap then you already have a GHIN # so the answer to the 1st question will be "yes". Enter your GHIN # in the box that pops up. 

  1. If you used GHIN in the past but it has been longer than 2 years since you used it your number was likely deactivated and you will have to get a new number and start tracking your handicap from scratch. You can check if your number is assigned to you by answering "I don't know" and then entering your old GHIN# but please make sure the number has not been re-assigned to a new person. Or you can contact Melinda Hipp at mhipp8822@gmail.com and have her check the database for you. 
  2. If you are currently using GHIN and would like to transfer to the LPGA Amateurs GHIN click on the link above and answer "yes" to the first question, enter your GHIN# and your scores will all be transferred. 
  3. If you have never used GHIN or Golfnet then your answer to the first question will be "no". Enter your information and pay the registration fee.
  4. After you have paid the membership fee you will receive a confirmation email. Once your application has been approved you will receive another email from TGA and are now a member of GHIN. Download the app and create a login using your GHIN# and start entering your scores!

Should you have questions, please contact Melinda Hipp at mhipp8822@gmail.com


How to Establish a Handicap

For many of us, golf is a social outing, a chance to have fun with some friends and get some fresh air and exercise. For others, golf is a serious sport and they want to compete in tournaments at a high level. Whichever type of golfer you are, one of the best ways to measure improvement in your game is to keep track of your scores and establish a handicap. This lets you compete on an even playing field with others whether its in fun tournaments or the serious national competitions. But how do you get started? This is part 1 of a 3-part series on keeping track of your scores so you can get a handicap index and watch it go down as you improve your game.

handicap index is the measure of a player’s demonstrated ability. It is expressed to one decimal point (eg. 8.5). When someone asks you "What is your handicap?" this is the number they are referring to. Your course handicap is based on your handicap index but takes into consideration the difficulty of the specific course you are playing. We will talk about that in part 2. 

Your LPGA Amateurs Membership fees include the LPGA Amateurs Handicap Service, an app that lets you  track your golf scores and establish a handicap. First you will want to download the app onto your phone. You can also enter your scores on a desktop computer by logging into your membership portal and clicking on My Handicap, then Post a Score

After you have logged in and set up your profile this is what you will see. (Obviously yours will be blank if you haven't entered any scores yet). First step is to click on Post a Score.

Screenshot_20210516-203427_LPGA Amateurs

The second step is to fill in the date, the course, the tees you played from and whether you played 9 or 18 holes. Your handicap index updates every day so it is important that you enter your score on the day you played to keep it accurate. There is also an adjustment that will be made for extreme weather if you happen to play during a hurricane your score will reflect that. At the very top you will see Total ScoreHBH (hole by hole) and Manual. Choose Hole by Hole.

Screenshot_20210516-203517_LPGA Amateurs

Tap on the Gross box under Hole 1 to take you to the next screen where you will enter your score on that hole. The maximum score you can take on any hole when you don't have a handicap is par + 5. If your score was higher than that the app will automatically adjust it to the max score. This is important to remember when you are worried about keeping the pace during a round of golf, any score above par + 5 will not matter for your handicap so you might as well pick up and move on to the next hole. (Note this does not apply if you are in a tournament, you must finish every hole no matter what your score is.)  Once you have your score entered on the first hole tap the arrow to the right and it will move to the next hole. Enter all of your scores and then tap the checkmark in the upper right hand corner.

Screenshot_20210516-203553_LPGA Amateurs
Now you can look at each hole and see where the app automatically adjusted your score down to the max score on a hole. Tap Save and then tap on Profile and you will go back to the main page, where your rounds will be listed. The handicap will not be updated until the next day. Once you have entered scores for 54 holes you will get a handicap index. It is important to enter both 9-hole and 18-hole rounds of golf every time you play. Your handicap index is based on the best 8 18-hole rounds of the last 20 that you played, so one bad round will not affect your handicap. The scores with the asterisk are the ones being used for the handicap.
Screenshot_20210518-110300_LPGA Amateurs
The app will automatically combine 2 9-hole rounds into 1 18-hole round to be used in the handicap calculation, even if it is 2 front 9's played on the same course or 2 9's on completely different courses. 

I have a Handicap Index, Now What?

In Part 1 we talked about how to establish your Handicap Index by entering your scores into the LPGA Amateurs Handicap Service. Once you have entered scores for 54 holes, you will see your Handicap Index in your profile on the app.  As you enter more scores you should see your Handicap Index move down as you improve your game. The Handicap Index is a representation of your potential scoring ability and is always taken to one decimal place. So if your handicap index is 24.3 it generally means you will shoot 24 strokes over par on an average golf course (in other words 24+72=96). 

Now you need to know how to find your Course Handicap. This is different for every course because it is based on the difficulty of the course, which is measured by the slope and rating of each course. There are several different ways of finding this on the app. The easiest way is to click on the little white arrow in the top left corner near the logo and then choose Golf Courses. This will bring up a list of courses you have already played, or you can search for a course. If I choose Falconhead Golf Course, it will show my CH (Course Handicap) from the white tees and the red tees. 
Handicap 3
Another way to find out your course handicap is to pretend you are going to play that course and tap Post a Score. When you choose the course and tee box you are playing, you will see Par/Slope/Rating/CH: and then 4 numbers. CH is your Course Handicap on that course. 

Handicap 1

A third way to find your Course Handicap is to calculate it. From the main profile page click on the white arrow in the top left corner again and choose Course Handicap Calculator. You will need to manually enter your Handicap Index as well as the slope, rating and par of the course you are playing. These are normally found on the scorecard. Make sure you enter the numbers for the tees you are playing from as those numbers are different for different tees. The app defaults to a handicap index of 8.2, so you can see this person would have a course handicap of 8 on that particular course. 

Handicap 2
Now this means you can enter tournaments whether for fun or money because it evens the playing field for all the competitors. If I have a course handicap at Falconhead of 26 and I shoot 98, my net score is 72. If I am playing someone with a course handicap of 12 and they shoot 85, their net score is 73. Guess what? I just won!

What are Max Scores?

In Part 1 we talked about how to establish your Handicap Index by entering your scores into the LPGA Amateurs Handicap Service. In Part 2 we talked about how to find out your Course Handicap. Now it's time to talk about Maximum Scores, what they mean and how to figure them out. 

Remember that a Handicap Index is a reflection of your demonstrated ability. So it makes sense that one really bad hole during a round should not unduly raise your handicap index. This is achieved by a) only using the best 8 of the last 20 rounds of golf played, and b) setting a Maximum Score on every hole. A Maximum Score also speeds up the pace of play, because if your Maximum Score on a hole is 7 and you are putting for an 8 because you took a penalty stroke on the hole, then you can just pick up your ball, record your 7, and move on to the next hole. However this does not apply in any kind of competition, it is only used for handicap purposes. 

First did you know that every hole on a golf course is rated on its difficulty compared to the other holes on the course? This is called the handicap of the hole.  If you look at the scorecard below you will see every hole has a yardage, a handicap and a par. So Hole 1 is 339 yards long from the red tees, it is the 7th hardest hole on the course, and it is a par 4. (The hardest hole has a handicap of 1, and the easiest hole has a handicap of 18.) Note that on this particular course some of the holes from the red tees have a slightly different handicap than the other tees. For example Hole #4 is the 17th hardest hole from the red tees, but only 15th hardest from the white, blue, gold and black tees.

So what is the Maximum Score on a hole? It is defined as "net double bogey" or in other words Par +2 +(or -) handicap strokes. Your Course Handicap can be broken down on a hole by hole basis so you know how many "free" or extra strokes you get on every hole. It makes sense that you get strokes on the hardest holes on the course first. At Falconhead my course handicap is 26, so I get 26 free strokes over 18 holes. This means that I get 1 stroke on every hole, and then on the 8 hardest holes I get an extra stroke (because 18+8=26). This is represented by the little dots in the upper right hand corner for every hole. Now I can figure out manually what my Maximum Score is on every hole. On hole 1 it will be an 8 because its a par 4 and I get 2 strokes (4+2+2=8). On Hole 2 it is also an 8. On Hole 3 it is a 9 because its a par 5 and I get 2 strokes (5+2+2=9). On hole 4 it is only a 6 because I only get 1 stroke because it's an easy hole (handicap 17 means its the second easiest hole on the course). 3+2+1=6. Luckily when we post our hole by hole scores in the GolfNet app, it will calculate your Maximum Score and make an adjustment if you forget and go over your Maximum Score on any hole. 

If you have any questions please reach out to our handicap chair Melinda Hipp 

Jan. 6, 2020

PLEASE remember that the new WHS (World Handicap System) will be in place starting January 6.  Be sure and see last month's Handicap article in the newsletter for additional information but here is another reminder for what to do:

For the first time in the United States, every Handicap Index will now be computed through a centralized database to ensure consistency and integrity in every number. In anticipation of this change, golfers in the U.S. will not be able to post scores or access their Handicap Index between January 1-5, 2020, as courses and organizations transition to the new technology. Starting on January 6, golfers will be able to post any scores they missed during this temporary down time, and any rounds played between January 1-5 will be used for handicapping purposes under the new World Handicap System.  

In addition, you will now have a COURSE handicap and a PLAYING handicap.  A score of Net Par will be used for holes not played, and the maximum hole score for handicap purposes will be a Net Double Bogey. Having a Course Handicap that is relative to Par will ensure that the correct number of strokes are received and applied for both procedures.  Playing Handicap = Course Handicap x Handicap Allowance and If players are competing from tees with different Pars, then the player(s) competing from the tees with the higher Par will receive an additional stroke(s) based on the difference.  This will assist in various formats of golf to make the playing equitable.  

We WILL be having a Handicap seminar for your soon, but start posting your scores now on a DAILY basis.  PLEASE be sure and post hole by hole if possible until you get used to seeing how the total score is adjusted.   If you need assistance, please email me at mhipp8822@gmail.com .

For more information, videos and FAQ's, please visit the following link:  https://www.usga.org/content/usga/home-page/handicapping.html

Melinda Hipp, Handicap Chair

December 16, 2019

This month’s exciting news is that the USGA and World Golf Handicap systems will be merging and changing the way that golfers compare themselves against other players.  This means that handicaps can move more easily around the world.  The US will roll theirs out the first week of January and there COULD be a blackout period where you cannot enter your scores.   I would suggest waiting until the 2nd week of January.   Here are 7 things you need to know about the new system:

  1. Your handicap index may change a few decimal points when the update happens, but it will be very little.
  2. The system was tweaked to where it will use the BEST 8 scores out of your past 20 (versus 10).This will benefit the more consistent players where their scores are normally tightly bunched.
  3. The new system will take a harder look at PAST performance and demonstrated ability versus trying to identify future potential.
  4. Players will have a playing handicap where slope rating, course rating and PAR will be used.This will allow players to compete from different tees on the same course more easily.
  5. The max score for handicap purposes will be limited to net double bogey (par + 2) which will definitely speed play up on the par 3’s!
  6. You handicap will now update the DAY after a score is posted.That means you will want to post your scores immediately upon finishing the round and not save up scorecards for a bi-weekly posting party.
  7. The system will also account for abnormal playing conditions and limit extreme upward movement of an index (sandbagging in our language) and an index may be reduced if an exceptional score is posted.

Please realize that each governing body can still make tweaks to the system for golf in their country, but these may come much later.  Players will simply need to post their scores in GHIN or an Association’s version of GHIN to get a worldwide handicap.   LPGA Amateurs could also still make adjustments to your handicap index for a particular competition (in rare cases.) 

If you need additional information, please be sure and contact me at mhipp8822@gmail.com or visit the USGA’s website and Handicap links at www.usga.org  

Sincerely ‘til next month, your Chapter Handicap Chair,

Melinda Hipp

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