Handicap Info

Handicapping enables golfers of differing skill levels to play equitably together- a vital and important component in the overall golf experience. As the authorized golf association and central handicapping authority in Rhode Island, the RIGA strives to uphold these values:

  • Peer Review - Golf clubs issuing USGA Handicap Indexes® must have a minimum of 10 members, and members must have a regular opportunity to play golf together
  • Score Posting - Each golfer will post every acceptable round for peer review
  • Rules of Golf - Golfers must follow the Rules of Golf when posting scores for handicap purposes.
  • Revision Schedule - Golf Clubs issuing USGA Handicap Indexes® must follow the RIGA’s handicap revision schedule and score-posting season.
  • Handicap Chairperson - Golf Clubs issuing USGA Handicap Indexes® must have an appointed Handicap Chairperson to work with all handicap-related issues.
  • Club Licensing - The RIGA has jurisdiction over all Rhode Island golf clubs and has been designated by the USGA to administer the USGA Handicap System™ Licensing Program.

Golf Handicap Program (GHP)

GHP provides accurate and timely Handicap Indexes for more than 1.6 million golfers. It is the world’s largest handicapping service. Scores are submitted by members at any GHIN club in the nation. The scores are promptly routed to the national server where, through a license with the USGA, Handicap Indexes are calculated and distributed to RIGA members clubs at two-week intervals during the golf season. In addition to a user-friendly interface for golfers, GHP’s powerful management module provides a handicap committee with tools for player maintenance and a custom report writer. The RIGA provides the GHP software, installation and technical support as part of membership.

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 for 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.

Handicapping Frequently Asked Questions

How do I establish a USGA Handicap Index?

Ask the club to which you belong if they use the GHIN Service. If they do ask to be added to their roster and they will then assign a GHIN Number for your use. With this number you may begin posting scores at GHIN.com or as a guest at any club that uses the GHIN Service.

How often is my Handicap Index Revised?

The USGA Handicap System runs on a national revision schedule. On the 1st and 15th of every month your Handicap will be revised and any scores that were posted between revisions will be factored into your new index.

What Scores Should I Post?

To post a 9-hole score, the player must play 7 to 12 holes, and at least 7 holes must be played in accordance with the principles of the Rules of Golf. In order to post an 18-hole score, the player must play at least 13 holes. Scores for holes that are not played should be recorded as par plus any handicap strokes that the player is entitled to receive.

Conceded Stroke or Holes

A player should record the most likely score or the hole when a concession has been made.

What is Equitable Stroke Control?

The ESC system is a process of adjusting individual hole scores to better represent a player's potential. Adjusting hole scores after completing a round is a mandatory step in establishing a handicap index. When a player's score is higher than the maximum number, based on the table below, then it must be reduced and posted as such. A player without an established Handicap Index should use the maximum Handicap Index (36.4 for men and 40.4 for women) to determine their maximum hole score. Any hole where an Equitable Stroke Control reduction can be made should be done without restriction.

Course Handicap - Maximum Number on any Hole

  • 9 or less - Double Bogey
  • 10 through 19 - 7
  • 20 through 29 - 8
  • 30 through 39 - 9
  • 40 or more - 10

Does your Handicap Represent your true potential?

Handicaps allow players of different abilities to compete on an equitable basis. The system trusts that golfers play honestly and post all scores. Remember that your USGA Handicap Index refelects your potential ability and not the average of all your scores. A player is expected to play to his or her Course Handicap or better only 25 percent of the time.