Rules Of GolfNovember 23, 2015

The USGA says scores shot when playing by yourself no longer count for your handicap

On Monday, the USGA announced that beginning Jan. 1, 2016 scores shot while playing by yourself are no longer acceptable for handicap purposes. This is a dark day for people everywhere with vanity golf handicaps. Here's an explanation of the new policy:

Playing alone and necessary peer review: To further support the key [USGA Handicap] System premise of peer review, scores made while playing alone will no longer be acceptable for handicap purposes. This change underscores the importance of providing full and accurate information regarding a player’s potential scoring ability, and the ability of other players to form a reasonable basis for supporting or disputing a posted score. (Section 5-1: Acceptability of Scores)

The USGA later tweeted this:

Sure, we all have friends who just happen to always play their best when no one else was there, but this new rule produces a lot of questions. First off, doesn't this fly in the face of the notion that golf is a game of honor? Aren't golfers supposed to be trusted to police themselves on matters like these?

And what happens if you're playing with people you don't know who aren't keeping track of your score? How does that factor in? Also, what if you happen to play most of your rounds alone? Maybe you play at odd times, or you have no friends. How is this rule fair to those people who need solo rounds to maintain an accurate handicap index?

The provision was the most significant of six changes made to the handicap system for 2016 that will affect the 10 million golfers who have an official handicap index. Well, that will affect golfers in theory. It seems like this will be difficult to enforce, so keep posting those "75"s weekend hackers.


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