Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Ask Linda #1193-Update handicap when competition spans a revision date

Hi Linda,

I am here to bother you again, but before I proceed I want to thank you very much for the previous problem you solved for us.

We had a two-game championship competition held last Oct. 29th & Nov. 5th which encompasses two months.

We had our handicap index in October and a new handicap index in November (because the NCGA updated our handicap index every end of the month).

So what we did in the two-game competition was use the October handicap index for the first game in October and use the updated November handicap index for the second game.

Some of our members are questioning that procedure, claiming that we should have used the October handicap index for both games because it is consider as one competition.

Please advise the right thing to do, because we are scheduled again to hold a two-game competition next October and November.

Thanks again so much,
Lou from Daly City, California

Dear Lou,

The USGA publishes a booklet entitled “How to Conduct a Competition.” I would recommend that anyone running a tournament buy a copy. The following information is taken from that booklet, Section 2, #8:

The USGA recommendation* for handicaps to use in a competition is as follows:
1. At the start of the competition, the player should use the Handicap Index that is in effect on the date of the competition.
2. If the competition involves more than one round, the player should use the Handicap Index that is in effect at the start of each round.

Since your handicaps are updated at the end of each month, the players should use the revision at the end of September for the October competition, and the revision at the end of October for the November competition.

Note that this is a “recommendation,” not a “requirement.” However, handicaps can change significantly over the course of a month, and I would strongly recommend that you follow the USGA guidelines on this matter. I do in the tournaments that I run.

*For those of you outside the jurisdiction of the USGA Handicap System, please be aware that –unlike the Rules of Golf– handicap systems are not the same throughout the world. The governing body in your country may have different requirements or recommendations than the USGA.

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