Handicapping FAQ's

Handicapping FAQ's

The USGA Handicap System™ enables golfers of all skill levels to compete on an equitable basis.

There are links on the left for the USGA Handicap System manual 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. The current version of the USGA Handicap System went into effect on Jan. 1, 2016. Any modifications to the System are noted on the USGA Web site.

Below are a list of useful handicap questions:

Handicapping FAQ's for NHGA members:

  • How do I set-up an NHGA GHIN handicap index
    • You can obtain an handicap index through one of two ways.  You can visit one of our many NHGA member facilities, become a member and receive a handicap through that club (visit our course directory for a list of facilities in New Hampshire).  Or, you can obtain your handicap online through any of four NHGA clubs.  Click here for more instructions on how to obtain your NHGA GHIN handicap online.
  • Where do I post my score?
  • How do I edit a score that I've posted in error?
  • How do I update my GHIN email address on file?
  • Can I merge an old GHIN number if I move to a new club?
    • Yes.  Simply give your club your old GHIN number, or call the NHGA office and we can merge the old GHIN number with your new one.  
  • How do I sign up for GHIN's eGolfer service?
  • What is Equitable Stroke Control?
  • How many scores do I need to post in order to establish a handicap index?
    • A player needs to have five (5) 18-hole scores or ten (10) combined 9-hole scores to establish an 18-hole USGA handicap index or five (5) 9-hole scores to establish a 9-hole USGA handicap index (N).  
  • What do the different letter(s) mean next to my score?
    A Away Score
    I Internet Score
    AI Away Internet
    P Penalty
    C Combined Nines
    T Tournament
    TI Tournament Internet
    CI Combined Internet Score - At least one 9-hole score posted via internet
  • What do the different letter(s) mean next to my index?
    J 9-hole USGA handicap index exceeds 18.2 for men and 20.2 for women
    L This is a local handicap for a player's home course and the most common letter you'll see next to your handicap.  Additionally, it can be a USGA handicap index exceeds 36.4 for men and 40.4 for women, a handicap that is revised more frequently than allowed, or a handicap based on a player's temporary disability.  
    M Modified index (procedure done by players handicap committee)
    N 9-hole USGA handicap index
    R Reduction
  • What is a Reduction?
    • The "R" signifies that a "reduction" has been placed on your Handicap Index. The USGA has a section in its Handicap System that automatically reduces the Handicap Indexes of players who consistently score better in competitions than in informal play. To be used, the procedure requires that a player have two or more eligible tournament scores and a minimum of two tournament score differentials which are at least three strokes better than the player's current USGA Handicap Index.
      What most players don't realize is that an eligible tournament score under Section 10-3 of the USGA Handicap System Manual is a tournament score made within the current year or a tournament score contained within the player's last twenty scores. All tournament scores posted will stay on a scoring record for a year from the date that they were shot. A tournament score may stay on a record longer if in a year it is still a part of the most recent twenty scores. The Handicap Committee at the golfer's club, not the NHGA, may decide to override a reduction in certain cases.