Your Spring Handicap Checklist: Nine Things to Know April 6, 2018 | Liberty Corner, N.J. By Eric Lahman, USGA

Many states in the northern regions of the U.S. have begun their active season to allow for score posting. A few begin on April 15. (USGA/Jed Jacobsohn)

March and April generally mark the beginning of the active (posting) season for players who live across northern regions of the country. So, as you begin to dust off the clubs and prepare to hit the course this season, here are nine valuable things to know:

  • Play 9! Sometimes getting in a full 18-hole round early in the season can be difficult, whether it’s due to daylight, weather or time constraints. But golfers should know that posting nine-hole scores is permissible and the USGA encourages individuals to Play9.
  • Are we active? Make sure to check the active/inactive season calendar to confirm when your Authorized Golf Association begins its active season. This can also be useful if you’re playing outside your region to ensure that area is active.

  • Playing it as it lies? Be aware that the golf club’s Handicap Committee may declare preferred lies for intermittent soggy spring conditions. Check with the club for more information as this is generally updated daily.

  • What scores can/can’t I post? Need a refresher on what scores are acceptable and unacceptable? Check here.

  • Promoting continuity. Scoring records are maintained continuously from season to season, year to year, so a player doesn’t have to worry about starting anew each season or year.

  • Where has it gone? If your Handicap Index® shows “Inactive” or “NH,” reach out to the Handicap Committee at your club or the Authorized Golf Association in your area, as it may need to be renewed. (The USGA® does not have access to individual scoring records or computation service data.)

  • Stay current. The current USGA Handicap System Manual is valid through 2019 with these minor changes, which are also incorporated into the online USGA Handicap System Manual.

  • Be the expert. Watch the Online Handicap Seminar and take the quiz to become an expert on the USGA Handicap System™  for your authorized golf club.
  • Belong to more than one club? Then you’re considered a “multi-member” in the USGA Handicap System. Be sure that your scoring records are linked, or that you’re posting all acceptable scores across your golf clubs. This ensures the same scoring record at all clubs and an accurate reflection of your playing potential.

Now it’s time to get back out on the course and start posting. And remember, Play9 if you can’t play 18!

Eric Lahman is the manager, Course Rating and  Handicapping. Email him at elahman@usga.org.