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USGA Handicap Week: Learn about the USGA Handicap System

Each year, the CSGA and state golf associations across the country celebrate USGA Handicap Week (#USGAHandicapWeek), an initiative developed by the USGA to raise awareness on the importance of having an official handicap. Below are just a few of the common questions the CSGA receives every day about the Handicap system and its associated parts. 

What is the purpose of the USGA Handicap System?

The purpose of the USGA Handicap System is to make the game of golf more enjoyable by enabling players of differing abilities to compete on an equitable basis. The System provides a fair Course Handicap for each player, regardless of ability, and adjusts a player’s Handicap Index up or down as the player’s game changes. At the same time, the System disregards high scores that bear little relation to the player’s potential ability and promotes continuity by making a Handicap Index continuous from one playing season or year to the next. A Handicap Index is useful for all forms of play, and is issued only to individuals who are members of a licensed golf club.

Two basic premises underlie the USGA Handicap Systemnamely that each player will try to make the best score at every hole in every round, regardless of where the round is played, and that the player will post every acceptable round for peer review. The player and the player’s Handicap Committee have joint responsibility for adhering to these premises. A Handicap Index, issued by a golf club or authorized golf association (through its member clubs), indicates a player’s skill and is a number taken to one decimal place, (e.g., 10.4).

Handicap Index compares a player’s scoring ability to the scoring ability of a scratch golfer on a course of standard difficulty. A player posts scores along with the appropriate USGA Course Rating and Slope Rating, and date of each score to make up the scoring record. A Handicap Index is computed from no more than 20 scores plus any Eligible Tournament Scores. It reflects the player’s potential because it is based upon the best Handicap Differential(s) posted for a given number of rounds, ideally the best 10 of the last 20 rounds.

Handicap Index is portable from course to course, as well as from one set of tees to another set of tees on the same course. A player converts a Handicap Index to a Course Handicap based on the Slope Rating of the tees played.


What is the GHIN handicap system?

GHIN (pronounced “jin”) stands for the Golf Handicap and Information Network®. This department was founded by the USGA more than 30 years ago to assist state and regional golf associations (SRGAs) by providing a high quality handicap computation service. We work only through SRGAs, never directly with individual clubs or members. GHIN believes a handicap computation service must be dynamic and be driven by customer desire and changing technology. The primary purpose of GHIN is to be of assistance to its golf associations so that they can attract and retain members.

The CSGA is the only authorized golf association licensed by the USGA® to utilize the USGA Handicap System™ through their member clubs in Connecticut. The CSGA uses GHIN as its handicap computation service which is the most widely accepted in the world and is offered to clubs and golfers exclusively through State or Regional Golf Associations. Your GHIN handicap gives you access to eGolfer with myGame allowing you to post scores, view your handicap index and score histories, as well as track statistics related to your game. Download the popular CSGA Mobile App to post scores, use the interactive course handicap calculator, perform a Handicap index lookup, view your most recent scores or enter tournaments from your smartphone.


Why do I need one even though I never play in tournaments?

Golf is a numbers game, and your handicap subscription allows you to you crunch those numbers – especially when it comes to your own performance statistics. Aside from experiencing a sense of community, below are a few of the many benefits of an official USGA handicap:

  • A Handicap Index allows you to have an equitable game with anyone, on any course from any set of tees
  • Track your scoring history and your game stats online
  • Eligibility for local, state and national events (regardless of age, skill or gender)
  • CSGA E-Revision Newsletter (bi-weekly e-newsletter)
  • Bi-weekly handicap updates sent to your email on the 1st and 15th
  • Ability to post your scores online or via mobile app
  • Part of the largest Handicap Network (GHIN, a service of the USGA)
  • Support of developmental programs and other “good of the game” initiatives in Connecticut


How can I get an official handicap?

Golfers can become a member of the CSGA in one of the following three ways. CSGA membership includes a number of benefits, primarily an official USGA Handicap.

1) Join a CSGA Green-Grass Club. 
CSGA Green-Grass Clubs are CSGA golf clubs located at a specific golf course. A CSGA Green-Grass Club can be a private, semi-private, public, or resort golf course.  Contact the club directly to get started! If you are a member of a CSGA Member Club and are a GHIN handicap holder. you are already a member of the CSGA. Find a club to join >>

2) Join the CSGA Online. 

If you are a GHIN Handicap holder through a CSGA member club you are already a member of the association. If not, CSGA membership is available to all golfers throughout Connecticut who wish to take advantage of the benefits of belonging to the oldest state golf association in the country. The cost of joining the CSGA online is $49 per season (April 1 through November 15) and includes several member benefits.

3) Join via the CSGA Golf Clubs for Connecticut Schools Program (FREE for ages 18-and-younger).

The CSGA Golf Clubs for Connecticut Schools Program offers students, teachers, coaches, and administrators CSGA membership including a USGA Handicap Index through one of five regional Online Clubs for Schools. Click here to join!



Handicapping Informtion – General information about the USGA Handicapping services

Post a Score – Post a score online via our website

Handicap Revision Schedule – View the 2016 Handicap Revision Schedule and important dates

FAQ’s – Frequently asked questions about posting scores for handicap purposes

Join the CSGA E-mail list – Add your e-mail address to receive your handicap revision and CSGA news via e-mail