124th U.S. Open

Pinehurst No. 2

The Loop

Our readers have spoken -- and they'd really like USGA handicaps to be free

January 27, 2016

In his February column, Golf Digest Editor-In-Chief Jerry Tarde pointed out that the number of people holding USGA handicaps has flatlined. Of the approximate 25 million golfers in this country, less than 20 percent have one. And that disappointing number might only go down following the backlash to the USGA's new provision that rounds played alone don't count towards one's handicap anymore.

Of course, there's a simple fix to increasing the number of golfers who partake in the system: Make it free.

Golf Digest recently conducted two Twitter polls, and the results from our readers were overwhelming. Here's how you responded when we asked, "Should the USGA and SRGAs let every golfer have a free handicap?"

As you can see, a whopping 83 percent said yes. But the feedback was even more lopsided when we asked, "If it were free and easy to obtain, say as an app on your phone, would you get a handicap?"

Hmm. If only there were a free handicap system out there. . . Oh, right! We've got one!

The Golf Digest Handicap is free and easy to use. Although not a substitute for an official USGA handicap, it comes pretty close when you consider it was developed by Dean Knuth, the former Senior Director of Handicapping for, you guessed it, the USGA.

So sign up now and be ready to track your progress and play competitive matches with golfers of all abilities whenever your golf season starts. Here's that link one more time. . .