Hole closed? Temporary greens or tees in play? Now what?! April 12, 2017 By Eric Lahman, USGA

A temporary tee doesn't mean you can't post your score for handicap purposes. (USGA)

It’s an unfortunate situation, but sometimes players are faced with a hole that is under construction or has temporary greens or tees in play. When a player is faced with this occurrence, the USGA Handicap System has procedures in place that the club handicap committee and players follow to adhere to the USGA Handicap System and keep a player’s accurate scoring record intact.   

It’s important to note that as long as the Rules of Golf can be followed during the temporary period, scores are acceptable for handicap posting purposes.

Closed Holes:

The handicap committee is accountable for notifying club members when a hole is not played (closed) due to construction. The score for that hole must be posted using “par plus” any handicap strokes the player is entitled to on that hole, “par minus” for the extraordinarily good/plus handicap players. What’s par plus? See here for more info.

Temporary Greens/Tees:

The handicap committee at the golf club must notify its local authorized golf association when temporary greens and/or tees will be utilized (Decision 5-1a/3). The authorized golf association will decide whether the USGA Course Rating and Slope Rating® should be modified temporarily, or have other procedures temporarily put into place.

In the event of a permanent change, the club must notify the authorized golf association. The association will review the situation and determine if the course requires modifications to its ratings. Any questions about this topic should be directed to an authorized golf association, as they are responsible for issuing and maintaining these ratings.


Q. Is there a limit of temporary tees I can play in order to maintain an acceptable score?

A: There is no limit to the number of holes played with temporary tees that would keep a player from posting a score. See Section 5-2g and 15 of “The USGA Handicap System.”

Q: How many temporary greens can there be before a player cannot post a score?

A: Temporary greens are treated as “holes not played” under the Rules of Golf, as they don’t reflect normal green conditions and USGA Ratings of the course.

According to Section 5-1 of “The USGA Handicap System,” a player must play a minimum of seven holes to post a nine-hole score and 13 holes to post an 18-hole score under the Rules of Golf. Therefore, a maximum of two holes for a nine-hole score, or five holes for an 18-hole score, could have temporary greens, within the respective nine or 18 holes, to maintain the score to be posted, provided all other aspects of the score remain acceptable.

Q: If the overall length of the golf course has been adjusted, how should the handicap committee handle the adjustments?

A: If the length of the golf course cannot be maintained, the handicap committee should contact its authorized golf association to review the posting alternatives and utilize Section 5-2g of “The USGA Handicap System” to establish a temporary USGA Course Rating and Slope Rating. 

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