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  • BFRMC Executive Board

World Handicap System - CSGA Memo #5

This is the fifth in a series of weekly emails introducing CSGA golfers to the new World Handicap System and GHIN Golfer tools. This week we will discuss the Limit of the Upward Movement of a Handicap Index. A Soft Cap and Hard Cap will be applied to limit the upward movement of a player’s Handicap Index within a 12-month period.

To understand the Soft Cap and Hard Cap, you must first understand the following definition:

Low Handicap Index

The lowest Handicap Index achieved by a player during the 365-day period (one year) preceding the day on which the most recent score on their scoring record was played (see Rule 5.7 Low Handicap Index). A Low Handicap Index will be established once a player has at least 20 acceptable scores in their scoring record. A newly determined Low Handicap Index will be considered each time an acceptable score is submitted and a Handicap Index is updated.

Capping Excessive Increases in Handicap Index

A “Soft Cap” and “Hard Cap” are included within the Handicap Index calculation. The Soft Cap will suppress the upward movement of a Handicap Index by 50 percent if a 3.0 stroke increase takes place within 12 months. The Hard Cap will restrict upward movement if, after the application of the Soft Cap, a 5.0 stroke increase takes place within 12 months.

There is no limit on the amount by which a player’s Handicap Index can decrease, but the Soft Cap and Hard Cap will ensure that a temporary loss of form does not cause a player’s Handicap Index to increase to a level inconsistent with their demonstrated ability.

In exceptional circumstances, the Handicap Committee has the ability to increase a player’s Handicap Index more than 5.0 strokes above their Low Handicap Index. For example, when a player’s scoring potential has been affected by a temporary or permanent injury or illness which is significant enough to impact the player’s ability to play with or against all other players on a fair and equal basis.

Watch a video on this topic

If you have any questions about the World Handicap System or the new GHIN golfer tools, please reach out to us via email.


Bill Bigler

Director, Member Services

Connecticut State Golf Association

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