An authorized golf association or golf club must obtain a license from the USGA in order to utilize the USGA Handicap System, to use the USGA marks, and to issue a Handicap Index. Only an authorized golf association may issue a USGA Course Rating and Slope Rating. If a golf club or authorized golf association does not follow all of the procedures of the USGA Handicap System, it is not permitted to use any part of the System or to refer to any handicap that it issues or certifies as a “Handicap Index,” or as a handicap authorized by the USGA.

To determine if a golf club is complying with the USGA Handicap System License, the club must meet all standards of the Club Compliance Checklist.

Does the golf club…

  • Meet the USGA definition of a golf club?
  • Have a handicap committee composed mostly of members and chaired by a member? (Section 8-1)
  • Make it possible for a player to record the correct USGA Course Rating and Slope Rating with each posted score from every set of tees? (Sections 5-2 and 8-2b and c)
  • Require the posting of all scores made at home and away? (Section 5-1)
  • Require use of USGA procedures to adjust hole scores before posting? (Section 4)
  • Require that nine-hole scores be posted? (Sections 5-2c and 5-2d) Insist that the principles of the Rules of Golf be followed? (Section 5-1d)
  • Follow the revision schedule and posting season of the authorized golf association having jurisdiction in the region? (Section 8-3a and b)
  • Ensure that all acceptable scores are entered correctly? (Section 5-2)
  • Perform computations and adjustments in accordance with the USGA Handicap Formula? (Sections 8-4 and 10)
  • Make current scoring records and a Handicap Index listing of all members readily available for inspection by others? (Section 6-3)
  • Reduce or increase a Handicap Index of any player whose handicap does not reflect the player’s potential ability? (Section 8-4c)
  • Notify an authorized golf association when permanent changes have been made to the golf course so that the association can issue a new USGA Course Rating and Slope Rating? (Section 14-5b)
  • Include the letter “L” after local handicaps, which exceed the USGA maximum limits of 36.4 for men and 40.4 for women? (Section 3-4)
  • Utilize the current USGA Course Rating and Slope Rating issued by and authorized golf association? (Section 14)
  • Have a representative from the golf club participate in a USGA Handicap Seminar (whether conducted by the USGA or an authorized golf association) including passing a test exhibiting knowledge about the system?
  • Have a signed license agreement in place with a local authorized golf association or the USGA prior to issuing a Handicap Index?