Handicapping FAQs

Q: How do I establish a USGA Handicap Index?

A: Ask the club to which you belong if they use the GHIN Service. If they do ask to be added to their roster and they will then assign a GHIN Number for your use. With this number you may begin posting scores at GHIN.com or as a guest at any club that uses the GHIN Service.

Q: How often is my Handicap Index Revised?

A: The USGA Handicap System runs on a national revision schedule. On the 1st and 15th of every month your Handicap will be revised and any scores that were posted between revisions will be factored into your new index.

Q: What Scores Should I Post?

A: To post a 9-hole score, the player must play 7 to 12 holes, and at least 7 holes must be played in accordance with the principles of the Rules of Golf. In order to post an 18-hole score, the player must play at least 13 holes. Scores for holes that are not played should be recorded as par plus any handicap strokes that the player is entitled to receive.

Q: Conceded Stroke or Holes

A: A player should record the most likely score or the hole when a concession has been made.

Q: What is Equitable Stroke Control?

A: The ESC system is a process of adjusting individual hole scores to better represent a player's potential. Adjusting hole scores after completing a round is a mandatory step in establishing a handicap index. When a player's score is higher than the maximum number, based on the table below, then it must be reduced and posted as such. A player without an established Handicap Index should use the maximum Handicap Index (36.4 for men and 40.4 for women) to determine their maximum hole score. Any hole where an Equitable Stroke Control reduction can be made should be done without restriction.

Course Handicap

Maximum Number on any Hole

9 or less

Double Bogey

10 through 19


20 through 29


30 through 39


40 or more


Q: Does your Handicap Represent your true potenetial?

A: Handicaps allow players of different abilities to compete on an equitable basis. The system trusts that golfers play honestly and post all scores. Remember that your USGA Handicap Index refelects your potential ability and not the average of all your scores. A player is expected to play to his or her Course Handicap or better only 25 percent of the time.


For Handicap Questions or information on using the GHIN Service, please call the MGA Office (601)939-1131 or email emily@missgolf.org