Handicap Corner


Silver Lake Country Club 
Handicap Committee FAQs

What is my handicap supposed to represent?

In short, your handicap represents your potential scoring ability based on the average of your best 10 scores of your last 20.  This means that you should normally be shooting your handicap only about 25% of the time.  

Is my Handicap Index the number I use as my Handicap?

No.  Your handicap consists of two numbers, your Handicap Index and your Course Handicap.  Your Handicap Index is a “universal” handicap that represents your potential playing ability on a course of standard difficulty.  Your Handicap Index travels from course to course.  It is expressed as a number with one decimal place (i.e., 11.2).  Your Course Handicap is the number of handicap strokes you receive on the course you are playing based on your Handicap Index and the rating and slope of the course.  Each course should have a chart posted that tells you how to convert your Handicap Index to the Course Handicap for that course.  The GHIN system also will tell you both your Handicap Index and your Course Handicap from all the tees.

How is my Handicap Index calculated?

The calculation of your handicap index is a bit complicated.  Generally speaking, each time you post a score, a Handicap Differential is calculated based on the adjusted score you post (see below) and the rating and slope of the course and tees you played.  Your Handicap Index is calculated by taking the average of the lowest 10 differentials out of your last 20 rounds, times 96%, rounded down to one decimal point.  If you’d like a more detailed explanation, please contact the Handicap Committee, Head Pro or visit the USGA’s web site at www.usga.org.

I am a new member.  Can I use my prior rounds to establish a handicap?

Yes.  If you were a member of another club (public or private) with USGA handicaps, you should obtain your scoring records for up to the last 20 rounds and post these scores in our computer.  Even if you were not a member of another club, if you know your adjusted scores and the course rating and slope for up to your last 20 rounds, you should post these scores.   If you do not have either of these, you will have an official handicap once you have posted 5 rounds.  Any member of the Handicap Committee or the pro shop staff can show you how to post scores on our GHIN computer or online via www.ghin.com. 

When should I post a score?

You should post an 18-hole score for all rounds played under the following conditions: (1) the round was played according to the principles of the USGA rules of golf, (2) you completed at least 13 holes, (3) the course has a USGA course rating and slope; and (4) you played the round during the “active season” for the course you played.  You should post a score regardless of the form of play (i.e., stroke play, match play, best- ball, etc.)

Should I post 9-hole scores?

Yes.  You should post a 9-hole score for all rounds played under the following conditions: (1) the round was played according to the principles of the USGA rules of golf, (2) you completed at least 7 holes, (3) the course has a USGA course rating and slope; and (4) you played the round during the “active season” for the course you played.  You should post a score regardless of the form of play (i.e., stroke play, match play, best- ball, etc.)  Your 9–hole score will be held until you post another 9-hole score, when it will be combined for an 18-hole score and recorded to your scoring record (regardless of whether you played the same 9-holes or had an intervening 18-hole score).  


What if I don’t play according to USGA rules?

Unless specifically waived by the Golf Committee for certain events, USGA rules apply to all golf played at SLCC, so you should play according to USGA rules and post a score if you play at the club.  You would not post a score if you play a “practice round” and play more one than ball, if you are taking a playing lesson, or if you are playing with a non-conforming club or ball (which is not permitted during any SLCC-sanctioned play).   If you avoid playing by USGA rules to avoid posting a score for handicap purposes, your handicap may be subject to review and revision by the Handicap Committee. 

What about “preferred lies” or “winter rules”?

As you know, conditions at SLCC during the spring are often wet, and to protect the course, we sometimes play winter rules. While the USGA generally does not endorse playing winter rules, they may be used to protect the course during adverse conditions.  When winter rules are in effect, the Handicap Committee will determine whether scores should be posted.  The starters and pro shop will have the information on whether winter rules are in effect and whether scores should be posted. We will also post signs at the computer if scores are not to be posted because conditions are too adverse.

Do I post a score played at another course?

Yes.  If you play a round at a course that has a USGA course rating and slope, you should post your score into our computer at the club.  This is called an “away” score.  You need your adjusted score for the round as well as the course rating and slope for the tees you played.  You do not need to turn a scorecard to post an away score. The course rating and slopes for most courses are available on www.ghin.com.  You may post your score at the club or via the Internet at www.ghin.com.    If you are a member of two clubs and maintain handicaps at both clubs, you must post all rounds, regardless of where played, at both clubs.  If you have any questions about how to post an away score, any member of the Handicap Committee or any pro shop staff can show you how.    

What does “active season” mean? 

Under the rules established by NOGA, our local active season generally runs from early April to late October.  The golf calendar and pro shop has the specific dates.  You should only post scores for rounds played during a course’s active season.  Scores for rounds played during the inactive season should not be posted.  However, if you play on another course during that course’s active season, you should post the score even if it is during our inactive season.  For example, if you play in Florida or Arizona during the winter (where there is no inactive season), you should post them in the order played (most recent last).  These scores will count with the first revision of the handicaps in April. 

Am I required to turn in a scorecard to post a score?

No, you are not required to turn in a scorecard to post a score.  However, cards must be returned for certain events, like TPC, FTC, and club tournaments.The Handicap Committee may use these scorecards to make sure that scores are being accurately posted.  

What score should I post on each hole? 

You should post your score for each hole played during the round, adjusted as required under the Equitable Stroke Control (explained below), and adjusted for holes not completed or where strokes are conceded (see below). 

What are the Equitable Stroke Control rules?

Equitable Stroke Control (ESC) is the downward adjustment of a score for an individual hole for handicap purposes in order to make handicaps more representative of a player’s potential ability.  ESC sets the maximum number of strokes a player can post for handicap purposes on any hole based on the player’s Course Handicap, as shown in the table below.  This adjustment is taken after the round is completed.  This limit should be applied for handicap purposes for all rounds, including Tournament Rounds.   There is no limit to the number of holes on which a player must adjust his score under this rule.

                                        Course Handicap          Max # on Any Hole
                                                      9 or less                        Double Bogey
                                                  10 through 19                             7
                                                  20 through 29                             8
                                                  30 through 39                             9
                                                    40 or more                              10

What happens if I don’t finish a hole?

If you start a hole but do not complete it, or if you have a stroke conceded, you should record as your score for that hole the score you “most likely” would have made. The “most likely score” consists of the strokes already taken plus, in your best judgment, the number of strokes you would need to complete the hole from your position more than half the time.  The number of strokes you would have likely made cannot exceed your ESC maximum as explained above.  Your score should be recorded on your scorecard accompanied by an “X”.

Example 1: A and B are partners in a four-ball (i.e., better ball) stroke play competition, and, on a hole where neither receives a stroke, both lie two on the green. A is 15 feet from the hole and B is 20 feet from the hole.  B holes his put for a three.  A picks up because he cannot beat B’s score.  A would record a 4, the score he would have most likely have made. 

Example 2: A and B are playing a match.  On a hole where neither receives a stroke, A holes out for a 4.  B has a 20-foot putt for a 5.  B picks up and records a 6 because 6 is his most likely score.

Example 3: A and B are playing a match.  On a hole where neither receives a stroke, A is lying one foot from the hole in 4 and B has a 10-foot put for a 4.  B misses and both agree to a half.  Both should record a 5 because that is the score each would have most likely had. 

Please keep in mind that if you are playing in a Men’s or Women’s Club event and your score might count for the event, you should hole out and record your actual score regardless of whether strokes have been conceded in your own group. 

What happens if I don’t start a hole?

If you don’t start a hole, you should record a par plus the number of strokes you are entitled to receive on the hole.  For example, A and B are playing a match at SLCC, which A wins on the 17th hole.  They decide not to play number 18.  A is a 3 handicap and B is a 10 handicap.  Since number 18 is our number 4 handicap hole, A would record a 4 on the hole, and B would record a 5 on the hole. Another example occurs if you decide to quit playing because of rain or other adverse conditions. As long as you complete 13 holes before you quit (7 holes for a 9-hole score), you should post a score for that round, recording strokes for the holes you don’t play according to this rule.  You would also follow this rule if you did not play the hole according to the Rules of Golf (e.g., a mulligan).  Again, you would record your score accompanied by an “X” by it (i.e., 5-X) to indicate you did not complete the hole. 


How does a Tournament Score affect my Handicap?

Tournaments are events which are designated as Tournaments by the Handicap Committee because of their significance in the Club’s Tradition.  When you post a Tournament Score, the round is marked with a capital “T.”  This round will be counted in your most recent 20 scores just like any other round.  However, the computer also keeps track of all Tournament Scores posted within the prior 12 months.  If you have two or more Tournament Scores in your history, the computer will calculate a Handicap Index based on the lowest two Handicap Score differentials in your history.  If this Handicap Index is 3 or more points lower than your regular Handicap Index, your Handicap Index will be reduced based on a formula set by the USGA.  If your Handicap Index has been reduced based on exceptional Tournament Scores, your Handicap Index will be marked with a “R” on the computer printout.  

How long after a round do I have to post a score?

All members are expected to post acceptable scores in a timely fashion.  Timely means upon completion of the round, except in cases of "away" scores or when the pro shop is closed, when timely means within 48 hours.  Scores maybe posted on the computer in the Handicap Corner, via the Internet at www.ghin.com, or using the GHIN mobile application.  Scores posted for rounds datedprior to the most recent effective Handicap Revision are subject to audit by the Handicap Committee.  Handicap Revisions will take place on the 1st and 15th of every month.If we find that a member has failed to post a score in a timely fashion, the following actions will be taken:

First offense:  member will receive a "friendly" warning asking him or her to post the score immediately or adjust an incorrect score.  The Handicap Committee will post the score if known. 

Second offense:  member receives a second warning.  The Handicap Committee will post the score if known and will post an additional penalty score equal to the lowest score on the member's scoring record (except if the score is known to be extraordinarily high, in which case the penalty score will be equal to the highest score on the member's record.)  

Third offense:  the member's handicap will be withdrawn for the balance of the current handicap revision period and through the next handicap revision period.  This means that the member will not be eligible to play in any sanctioned events such as Men's Club, Women's Club and tournaments (including NOGA events) during this penalty period. 

Fourth offense:  the member's handicap will be withdrawn for the balance of the golf season, with the consequences outlined in the prior step.  

These penalties apply only the case of a failure to post.  The Handicap Committee may invoke other penalties including handicap adjustment and handicap withdrawal for other violations such as posting incorrect scores.

How will the Handicap Committee enforce the Handicap Rules?

The Handicap Committee will be randomly checking the daily tee sheet and the records in GHIN to see if scores are posted.  We will also be reviewing Men’s and Women’s Club and tournament scorecard to ensure that the procedures outlined above have been followed and scores are posted.  If we find that scores are not being posted, we will contact the member and may post the score (if we know it) or post a Penalty Score equal to the lowest score on the player’s scoring record.  Additional violations may result in further adjustment, as explained in the prior paragraph.  

The Committee has broad powers to adjust or even withdraw a member’s handicap for failure to post scores, for manipulating scores, or other repeated violations.  If a member’s handicap is withdrawn, he or she will not be eligible to play in any club competition, such as TPC, FTC, Club tournaments, or in any other USGA events (such as NOGA events). 

Can I see another member’s scoring record?

Yes.  One of the key component’s of the USGA Handicap System is peer review.  This mean that any member can view any other member’s scoring record.  Scoring records can be viewed at the computer in the pro shop, or online at www.ghin.com.  To view a member’s record online, click on the Handicap Lookup menu and search on the member’s last name in Ohio. 

Can I report a suspected infraction?

If you are aware of any infraction of these rules, please bring the infraction to the attention of the pro shop staff or any member of the Handicap Committee.  We will investigate all reports.  All reports will be held in strictest confidence.    


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