Posting Golf Scores For Your Handicap Index

Posting your golf score after every round should be second nature. Of course, not all players think this is important because of the evolution of golf tournaments over the past 20 years. Somewhere along the way, between marketing and apathy, net events have lost their shine and have fallen to the weigh side. But, as an avid golfer you better beware if you do not have an official handicap. The changes to how scores are calculated have changed and understanding what “net” means will be important to future golf events.

In years past, every golf tournament I played in had both gross and net prizes. The overall winner of the tournament was always the winner of the gross championship flight, but second place went to the top net player/team of the championship flight. It was automatic and everyone understood how the standings were determined. Additionally, most players had an official handicap (even if it was only determined by stand alone golf applications managed by their golf course), it was a requirement.

Fast forward a bunch of years and most players I talk to only guess at what their official handicap. They do not see the requirement to join Golf Canada or the Ontario Golf Association to establish a handicap because they never use it. Not having a handicap does not exclude them from any events, so why go through the effort of posting golf scores after every round.

Personally, I cannot see not establishing an official handicap because it is provides a great bench mark. Additionally, if by chance a tournament happens when I need an official handicap I am ready. For those players at Osprey Links Golf Course, my home course, this particular stat might be of value in the near future…..more to follow!

What Is a Sandbagger in Golf?
Are you a sandbagger?

There are other benefits of joining Golf Canada or the Ontario Golf Association, but I will discussing that very soon. Needless to say, it is about time that all golfers actively participate in establishing a handicap.

If nothing helps, it helps establish the real standings for side games that many golfers like to play. We all know who the sandbaggers are and an official handicap might help eliminate this annoying animal.

An interesting side conversation about posting golf scores happened between Brian and Kevin (avid readers of The Grateful Golfer). Brian suggested in comments of the following article: Breaking 70 in the 2020 Golf Season. Brian suggested that the temporary use of hole protectors because of COVID-19 will preclude him from posting scores. Kevin suggested that there will be instances when a score should be posted. I actually agree with both and will have to make the call at the time. Regardless, on what I decide this type of conversation was a good one because both believe that recording their golf score after each round is a great idea. And so do I!

How about you? Do your record score to establish an official handicap?

I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!


6 thoughts on “Posting Golf Scores For Your Handicap Index

  1. Jim,
    In 2018 I carried a USGA handicap but never used it so I didn’t renew in 2019, but kept a Fairway Files (free on-line) handicap and the one tournament that required handicaps accepted it. Fairway uses the same algorithm to calculate USGA because I compared my scores in both for 2018.

    As you mentioned, this COVID emergency has things all out of whack. I will not post because different courses have different COVID setups. When everyone plays by the same rules is when I post. As it is, my last official round was March 15 and I had three before that in 2020. We’re not supposed to post scores during winter but as long as playing surfaces aren’t frozen, I like to track.

    Previous to Fairway Files, I used Golfhound, which is now defunct, but did the same thing. I have found that tournament organizers are more willing to accept a single-digit handicap from a non-official system. They seem to be more concerned about sandbagging in the 10-20 range.

    Hope you can get out there soon. I saw Alberta lifted restrictions. Any word on Ontario?



    • Brian

      Your logic makes sense moving forward. It is a challenge to determine which score to post and which not too. Personally, I will trust that golfers will be honest and post their scores as they see fit. It is interesting that the tournament will not question a single digit handicap much but worried about the 10 to 20 range….this absolutely makes sense. I actually played in an event where the player in A flight (one below championship flight) with a 12 handicap was leading the tournament by 2 strokes after the first day. He shot the “round of a lifetime” at 74. Many eyebrows were lifted until he followed that up with a mid-80s round and came second in his flight. All was forgiven after that. Ontario courses will be opening soon. Our Premier (equivalent of your Governor) said to get ready. So I expect the week starting 11 May we will be playing. How about your courses?

      Cheers Jim

      Liked by 1 person

      • Jim, we are one of three in the 50 states with no re-opening plan. All our neighboring states are open and I travel to Virginia every weekend to practice. My club sent out email to the membership asking them to petition the governor to reopen, which I did. Fortunately, the course I hit up in Virginia is a 20 minute ride and it’s the new normal for now. I’d really prefer to play at my club where I’ve purchased the rounds that I’m supposed to be playing. Hopefully soon.


        Liked by 1 person

  2. Jim,

    Great discussion for sure as it is very different here in Canberra. There are only two ways to post a scorecard; an official event/tournament or go out officially with a member and declare that round as official prior to starting.

    Social golf does not count unless you state (up front) your intention to insert a card and you are playing with a member. For example, when I joined my current course I needed to play three official rounds before getting a handicap and allowed entry into official events. I did not know anyone, therefore I went out with the General Manager. I now play every Wednesday official event, therefore maintain an official handicap.

    The pro for this method is that we get lots of players for events, however the con is that those without an official handicap cannot play in the official portion of the events. You can play in the event to gain a card toward your handicap, however it counts no matter how you play. In this regard, you are not entitled to enter officially and not eligible for prizes.

    Getting back to your story above, posting scores is something that I believe makes you a better player as you try your best on every shot knowing that your card will be posted. A bad front nine means that you need to work hard on the back to salvage an OK round.

    I will still take 5 shots per side from you…..



    • Kirk,

      That is very interesting how official handicaps are determined down under. As you know, it is way more loosey Goosey here. Far more trust is given to the players. This is a good and bad thing I guess. I agree that posting all scores does help players adjust their playing throughout their rounds. Happened to me last year where I shot 4 over on the front and 4 under on the back. I was far more aggressive on the back and more relaxed.

      All I can say to your suggestion of 5 strokes a side is no. With your new launch monitor and ability to play year around, I think you need to slide me some strokes. Besides, you cannot want to get rid of the duck that much….I heard he is good company! Play well and stay safe.

      Cheers Jim


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