By applying to a club, you are committing to becoming a member of a “Golf Club” that is licensed to used the USGA Handicap System™ .
Each club has its own requirements and procedures, but is offering a Handicap Index® as one of its benefits to its members under uniform requirements defined by the USGA. Please review the following information to better understand some of the requirements for you as a member to receive a Handicap Index and for your club to be able to provide this to you. For more information, consult the USGA Handicap System™.
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 (see Compliance Checklist, Section 8-2m and Decision 2/7). A golf club must be licensed by the USGA to utilize the USGA Handicap System™. A club can obtain a license (see Appendix F) directly from the USGA or through its membership in an authorized golf association that is already licensed by the USGA and that has jurisdiction in the geographic area that includes the principal location of the golf club.
Members of a golf club must have a reasonable and regular opportunity to play golf with each other. They must be able to return scores personally, and these scores must be readily available for inspection by others, including but not limited to fellow members and the club’s Handicap Committee.
A Golf Club fits into one of the following three types:
Type 1. It is located at a single specific golf course with a valid USGA Course and Slope Rating where a majority of the club’s events are played and where the club’s scoring records reside; or
Type 2. 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; or
Type 3. 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., newspaper, Internet)
For administrative reasons, some authorized golf associations may require a golf club to have more than the USGA minimum of ten members in order for the golf club to be a member of the authorized golf association.
Decision 2/7. Clarification of Compliance/License Issues for Golf Club Categories Described in the Golf Club Definition
“Principal Location” (applies to types 2 and 3 only)
The principal location of a golf club shall be the physical address in the city or town which the club first identified in its application for a license to utilize the USGA Handicap System. So long as the golf club is in existence, the principal location shall not be changed without the prior written consent of the authorized golf association of which the golf club is a member, or if the club is not a member of a golf association, of the USGA. Members of a golf club who are issued a Handicap Index must be from a small defined geographic area, e.g., the residence or business address of each member of the golf club must generally be within approximately a 50 mile radius of the principal location of the golf club.
“Identification” (applies to type 3 only)
Each individual must provide proof of identification and residence to the golf club in order to be a member of the Club.
“Playing Requirements and Club Size” (applies to type 3 only)
The USGA will consider the playing requirement met if each member returns at least three scores played with other club members during the season, and at least one of those rounds is played in a club sponsored event. Anyone not meeting this minimum requirement should be dropped from the handicap rolls.
A golf club’s size is limited: If membership in a club exceeds the number of available tee times offered in club sponsored events, the playing requirements cannot be met. For example, if a club has 200 members and conducts only eight organized events with a maximum of 15 players each, not all members will have played in a club sponsored event.
“Group Cohesion/Activities” (applies to all types)
In order to be able to utilize the USGA Handicap System, the golf club must have group cohesion. Group activities should go beyond playing in tournaments. There should be a group orientation policy and other functions, such as group meetings, award banquets and the like.
“Contact Information” (applies to all types)
Contact information for each member of the golf club must be made readily available to all members.