Handicaps 101

What is LPGA Amateur requirements for handicaps?

Any member interested in playing in the LPGA Amateur Championship series (match cup, par 3 challenge, stroke play, or competitive scramble team) must enter two (2) 18-hole rounds of four (4) 9-hole rounds before the championship season begins.

 So, You Want to Establish a Handicap Index … What’s Next?

All LPGA Amateur Hampton Roads members can obtain an official WHS Handicap Index through the Virginia State Area Golf association www.VSGA.com. Every member who is playing well enough to keep score is encouraged to obtain a Handicap Index through GHIN with your current club affiliation or with GolfNet as a part of your LPGA Amateurs membership. If you are an existing GHIN user and want to change your Club to the Hampton Roads Chapter, send your GHIN member number to Susan Cherry our Handicap Chair.

I just enter my scores, right?

Yes, assuming you played the hole to completion, taking the necessary number of strokes to hole out. This eliminates double-par rules and “gimmies”, requiring you to enter your true score for each hole. Play 9, Post 9!

GHIN accepts 9-hole and 18-hole scores. Be sure to include all rounds.

Which scores can’t be tracked?

Those rounds where you played alone cannot be tracked. The USGA “peer review” rule, enacted 1/1/2016, requires you play with a fellow competitor, caddie, opponent, tournament marker, or friend riding along in the cart for the round to be considered not playing alone.

During winter months in some states, scores are not posted. This is referred to as the inactive season, which in Virginia does not apply as posting is allowed year round. A state-by-state list of inactive season information is available on www.USGA.com.

 How does the WHS differ from the old USGA handicap index?




1. Fewer scores count toward your Index

Under the old USGA system, 10 of your past 20 rounds contributed to your Handicap Index.

With the WHS, that number falls to eight of your past 20. The reduction allows for greater responsiveness to good scores and rewards more consistent play.

2. Your Index updates in your sleep

A new Index was generated on the first and 15th of each month

A new Index is calculated daily (or at least any day after a golfer posts a new score). This is meant to create a more responsive handicap and keeps players from having to wait up to two weeks for new scores to have an impact.

3. Welcome to the net-double-bogey world

To safeguard against (cough) sandbagging (cough), the USGA system employed Equitable Stroke Control (ESC) to cap the maximum score on any hole. ESC was calculated on a sliding scale, depending on your course handicap (10-19 could take no more than a 7 on any hole, 20-29 took a max of 8, etc.).

The WHS also has a maximum, but it uses net double bogey as the universal standard. This provides consistency in its application and is a nod to handicap systems used in other parts of the world, particularly those that use Stableford scoring, where net double bogey is the equivalent of zero points.

4. Your Index will weather the storm


A “playing conditions calculation” (PCC) that adjusts how your score impacts your Index depending on the average of all scores posted at that course that day. Say 20 mile-per-hour winds cause you to shoot in the high 80s when you normally post 78s and 79s. The WHS algorithm accounts for this to keep the score from negatively affecting your Index, particularly if all scores that day were high.

5. How many shots you’re getting will change.

Previously, your course handicap represented the number of strokes you got based on your Handicap Index in relation to course rating

Now course handicaps reflect the strokes you get in relation to par, a more intuitive measure for most golfers. Note that course-handicap values from tee to tee will vary more under the new system. Golfers playing forward tees will get fewer strokes than before, and those playing back tees will get more. This might affect matches in which you’re playing from one tee and your opponent is playing from another. It’s possible you’ll receive or have to give more strokes than in the past. But if you’re playing the same tees, the difference in the shots you’re giving/getting from an opponent should be minimal.

There are many other nuances to this new system that can be found in the link below:

Chapter Sponsors & Partners