The unseasonably warm weather has many golfers chomping at the bit to get the season started. As some courses set to open in March here in Manitoba, there are still a few weeks to wait before you can officially post scores toward maintaining and establishing your Golf Canada Handicap Index with the official score posting season in Manitoba to open from April 15 to October 31. More on that later.
What is a Handicap Index?
A Handicap Index provides you with a portable measure of your playing ability that’s consistent with how golfers are measured world-wide and is always expressed as a number taken to one decimal place (e.g. 21.3). This number is used to calculate how many strokes you would potentially need to adjust your score back to par, and allows golfers of all skill levels to compete equitably regardless of ability or gender. For example, if you have a Handicap Index of 21.3, it means you generally shoot about 21 strokes above par on an average golf course. Under the World Handicap System, a golfer can use their Handicap Index on any golf course around the world.
However, your actual number of strokes will vary depending on the par and rating of the course and set of tees that you play, otherwise known as the Course Handicap. Once you know the Course Handicap for the course and set of tees you’re playing, you can take your gross score (what you actually shot) and subtract the Course Handicap to get your net score. Using the example above of 21.3, a Handicap Index of 21.3 equates to a Course Handicap of 23 when playing the blue tees at Neepawa Golf & Country Club, host of this year’s Nott Autocorp Men’s Amateur Championship (we’ll go over how to determine the Course Handicap in the next section). If you shoot a gross score of 94, you would subtract 23 strokes from this number to give you a net score of 71.
How do I determine my Course Handicap?
I have my Course Handicap, now what?
If you’re just playing a normal round of golf, it’s usually enough to just know your final net score. However, there are times when you’ll need to know exactly on which holes to allocate your strokes, such as match play, stableford, or even just playing for skins with your friends. Also, when playing in a handicapped tournament or event, you may see dots on different holes on your scorecard. Each dot represents how many extra strokes you are allocated on specific holes.
How do I apply the adjusted strokes?
Each hole on the course is given a number based on the difficulty, with 1 being the most difficult hole and 18 being the easiest. For each hole with a number less than or equal to your Course Handicap, you will subtract a stroke from your gross score for that hole. For example, if you score a 5 on a hole numbered 1-13, your net score will be 4. If your Course Handicap is greater than 18, you’ll subtract 1 stroke for every hole, then continue to subtract additional strokes restarting with 1 until you reach your Course Handicap. For example, a Course Handicap of 20 would subtract 2 strokes on holes rated 1 and 2, and 1 stroke on every other hole. You can always find the rating for each hole on the course scorecard.
Why do I need a Handicap Index?
By playing with a Handicap Index, you can compete with golfers of any golfer regardless of ability or gender. By using a Handicap Index, you can also compete against your own potential scoring ability instead of other golfer’s scores. Sticking with the example from the first section, let’s say you shoot a gross score of 94 with a Course Handicap of 23, and your friend shoots 86 with a Course Handicap of 14. Even though your friend shot a lower gross score (which, based on the handicap differences, they will almost every time), your net score is lower (71 vs. 72). An official Golf Canada Handicap Index is also required to be eligible to compete in many club level events, charity or corporate events, and also all Golf Manitoba provincial and Golf Canada national championships.
How do I get a Handicap Index?
You can obtain an official Golf Canada Handicap Index in three simple steps:
The first is to join a member club of Golf Manitoba/Canada. All member clubs in good standing of Golf Manitoba/Canada are officially rated using the World Handicap System Course Rating System as administered by Golf Canada. All games played at these clubs (and under the Rules of Golf and the Rules of Handicapping) are acceptable for handicap purposes and may be recorded toward establishing or maintaining an official Golf Canada Handicap Index. If you are not a member of an member club, you can still establish a Handicap Index by joining the Golf Manitoba/Canada public player program! The public player program provides the same level of member benefits that you would receive as a member of a club. Click HERE to learn more.
Step two requires you to post a minimum of three 18-hole scores (or a combination of 18-hole and 9-hole scores) at any registered Golf Manitoba/Canada member club that has an official course and slope rating under the World Handicap System.
Upon conclusion of posting your third 18-hole game, you will receive a Golf Canada Handicap Index the next day!
When can I post scores?
The World Handicap System stipulates every player is responsible for returning all acceptable scores into one’s scoring record from rounds played on courses observing their active season, which is part of the golf season when courses have acceptable playing conditions. As mentioned earlier, the active score posting season in Manitoba is always from April 15 to October 31. Click HERE to view the active seasons across the country.
Scores made at any golf course observing an inactive season are not acceptable for handicap purposes. The rationale behind this is that posting scores during inactive seasons (periods of poor course conditions) could artificially increase a player’s Handicap Index. It’s also important to note that if you are travelling to other countries, you should determine their active seasons to prevent posting unacceptable scores. Your home club needs all acceptable scores from the “off-season” as well to ensure your Handicap Index is accurate once recalculated at the beginning of the season.
For more information on the Rules of Handicapping under the World Handicap System, please visit our resource page HERE.
Ready to establish your Handicap Index today? Get started HERE.
The R&A and the USGA modernize Amateur Status Rules
The USGA and The R&A have announced proposals for significant changes to the Rules of Amateur Status that govern the game worldwide.
These proposals result from a modernization initiative that has identified a clear need to bring the Rules up to date to reflect today’s global amateur game and ensure that the Rules are easier to understand and apply.
The proposed Rules, along with explanations to key changes, have been posted on usga.org and randa.org and the organizations are now inviting feedback from golfers and stakeholders. Comments will be accepted through Friday, March 26, with the new Rules scheduled to be adopted on January 1, 2022.
A comprehensive review of the Rules of Amateur Status began in late 2017, focusing on three main goals: to ensure the Rules are in the best interests of the game, reflect the modern game, and are easily understood and applied.
This review reaffirmed amateur golf’s important position in the game and the value in maintaining amateur status Rules to safeguard all the ways golf is played and enjoyed.
The result is a set of Rules that redefine the distinction between amateur and professional golf and provide a condition of eligibility – amateur status – for amateurs who compete in golf competitions.
As part of the modernization effort, it is proposed that the new Rules will identify only three acts that will result in a golfer losing their amateur status:
Accepting a prize in excess of the prize limit
Accepting payment for giving instruction
Accepting employment as a golf club professional or membership of an association of professional golfers
To achieve this simplified approach, the following key changes are proposed:
Eliminating the distinction between cash prizes and other prizes.
Using the prize limit as the only way an amateur can lose amateur status through their play (meaning that entering or playing a competition as a professional would not, of itself, result in the loss of amateur status).
Removing restrictions from the Rules surrounding competitions such as long-drive events, putting competitions and skills competitions that are not played as part of a tee-to-hole competition; and
Eliminating all sponsorship restrictions.
“Golf is unique in its broad appeal to both recreational and competitive golfers,” said Craig Winter, USGA Senior Director, Rules of Golf and Amateur Status. “We understand and value how important amateur status is, not only to those who compete at the highest level of the amateur game, but for the millions of golfers at every age and skill level who enjoy competitive events at their home courses. These updates should help simplify these Rules and ensure the health of the amateur game.”
Grant Moir, Director of Rules at The R&A, said, “The Rules of Amateur Status play an important role in protecting the integrity of our self-regulating sport but the code must continue to evolve. This is particularly so in relation to the modern elite amateur game, where many of the players need financial support to compete and develop to their full potential, and the proposed new Rules will give much greater scope for this.”
“Today marks another important step in the process to modernize the Rules of Amateur Status,” said Akash Patel, Rules and Competitions Manager at Golf Canada. “A great amount of work has gone into making the Rules easier to understand and apply for both the recreational and competitive golfer. We are confident that the proposed changes reflect the modern game and will help with our continued efforts to grow the game.”
The proposed new Rules are accompanied by an overview document and explanations that detail the rationale for why changes are being proposed and, in some instances, why they have stayed the same.
2021 Winter Rules of Golf & Handicapping Education
Get ready for the 2021 golf season by learning more about the Rules of Golf and the World Handicap System!
GENERAL RULES OF GOLF & HANDICAPPING EDUCATION
Golf Manitoba will be offering three virtual sessions for the public to provide an overview of the Rules of Golf and the World Handicap System. The sessions will be held from 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on the following dates:
Tuesday, February 16 – Rules of Golf RULES 1 – 13
Tuesday, March 16 – World Handicap System
Tuesday, April 13 – Rules of Golf RULES 14 – 24
Attendees are welcome to submit questions that will be answered during the sessions. Please email all questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. No prior knowledge or experience is required to attend!
To register please send your name and the sessions you wish to attend to either Amy at email@example.com or Lisa at firstname.lastname@example.org. There is no cost to “attend”.
Rules of Golf Level 1
Level 1 focuses on easy ways to learn the basics of the Rules of Golf with its main interest on Etiquette, the principle definitions and commonly encountered situations on the course. Level 1 is available online and students will be able to test their knowledge by taking the review questions at the end of each section before attempting the online Level 1 Exam. There is no cost to take the Level 1 course and certification.
Visit our World Handicap System resources page at golfmb.ca. This page provides a number of digital, print and video resources to help the golfer to better under the World Handicap System. The resources are available at no cost.
RULES OF HANDICAPPING CERTIFICATION
As part of the Handicap License Agreement, Golf Canada requires that every member club and league have a Handicap Committee in place, and that one person (ideally the Chairperson of the Committee) has successfully completed a Handicapping certification seminar.
Since 2003, Golf Manitoba and Golf Canada have been providing member clubs with educational sessions relating to the handicap system. These seminars provide and more in-depth look into Handicapping and will give attendees a thorough knowledge of the World Handicap System. The Handicap Seminars are beneficial for Handicap Committee members, Golf Professionals, Superintendents, General Managers, Club Members and others interested in learning more about Handicapping in general.
Participation in the Handicapping Seminar ensures that the individual is educated about the World Handicap System and can oversee and implement policies at their home club. Once an individual has successfully completed the seminar their certification is valid for 4 years (with the individual and club), after which they must re-certify.
ONLINE RULES OF HANDICAPPING CERTIFICATION
Golf Canada is pleased to launch the Online Rules of Handicapping Certification — a series of videos will guide you through the Rules of Handicapping, providing the knowledge necessary to achieve certification and successfully oversee handicap duties at your club. Click here to access the Rules of Handicapping certification videos.
A short quiz will test your knowledge, and successful completion will provide you with certification.
*Please note that there is no cost to certify online.
2021 HANDICAP INFORMATION & CERTIFICATION WEBINARS
Our partners at Golf Ontario are hosting several Handicap Certification seminars this season as part of Handicapping education and to help member clubs, members, and general public achieve certification.
Webinar Schedule (all times are Eastern Standard Time)
Wednesday March 10, 2021 from 6:30pm-8:30pm (EST)
Saturday March 20, 2021 from 9:00am- 11:00am (EST)
Thursday, April 15, 2021 from 2:00pm- 4:00pm (EST)
Wednesday, May 5, 2021 from 6:30pm – 8:30pm (EST)
Cost of each webinar is $35 + HST. For information and to register, please click HERE. When registering, please indicate you are a member of Golf Manitoba when it asks for the member club designation.
For more information on any of the above education and certification programs, please contact us at email@example.com or at 204.925.5730.
Members are encouraged to enter hole-by-hole scores
Post your score
How do I track my stats?
Members can enter their statistics for each game by selecting which stats they wish to maintain such as Fairways in Regulation (FIR), Putts, Penalty Strokes, Driving Distance etc.
Post their score Hole-By-Hole and select “Yes” in the “Track Stats” bar.
Enter in the statistical fields they wish to track and click “Post Score.”
How do I delete or edit a score?
Members can edit their scores at any time but can only delete an unedited score within 24 hours from the time the score was posted. After 24 hours or if an edit has been made, only the club administrator can delete a score. Scores that are edited will be denoted by a “#” beside the score in the scoring record.
Click on the “Pencil” icon to the right of the appropriate score.
Make the adjustment(s) to the score and click “Post Score.”
There may be some clubs that have changed their default setting (which may not allow golfers to edit or delete at all).
What if the course I played isn’t found in the directory?
If the club a golfer is looking for is not listed, please notify Golf Canada at firstname.lastname@example.org or 1.800.263.0009 x4520. All member courses in Canada will appear in the course directory. Please note that courses that are not current members in Canada do not have valid course and slope ratings and scores from these courses cannot be entered for handicap purposes.
Not a member? Join Canada’s largest golf community here.
The World Handicap System stipulates every player is responsible for returning all acceptable scores into one’s scoring record from rounds played on courses observing their active season, which is part of the golf season when courses have acceptable playing conditions.
Ultimately, it is the responsibility of authorized provincial golf association to declare active and inactive periods, and it is the responsibility of the area club and golfers to observe these dates for posting purposes.
Each year, provincial associations analyze numerous factors to determine their active seasons. This ensures consistency of when scores would be posted by the majority of golfers to help keep Handicap Factors accurate.
Scores made at any golf course observing an inactive season are not acceptable for handicap purposes. The rationale behind this is that posting scores during inactive seasons (periods of poor course conditions) could artificially increase a player’s Handicap Factor.
Scores made at a golf course in an area observing an active season must be posted for handicap purposes, even if the golf club from which the player receives a Handicap Factor is observing an inactive season. The club’s Handicap Committee must make it possible for a player to post these away scores at the beginning of the active season.
For example, if a player belonging to a golf club in Ontario plays golf in Florida during January, any scores made in Florida are acceptable and must be returned to the player’s Ontario golf club. If the player is also a member of a golf club in Florida, scores must be posted to the player’s Florida club.
In Canada, the active season in each province is as follows:
BC = Mar.1 – Nov.15 AB = Mar.1 – Oct.31 SK = Apr.15 – Oct.31 MB = Apr.15 – Oct.31 ON = Apr.15 – Oct.31 QC = Apr.15 – Oct.31 NS = Apr.15 – Oct.31 NB = May.1 – Oct.31 PE = Apr.16 – Nov.14 NL = Apr.1 – Nov. 30
It’s also important to note that if you are travelling to other countries, you should determine their active seasons to prevent posting unacceptable scores. Your home club needs all acceptable scores from the “off-season” as well to ensure your Handicap Factor is accurate once recalculated at the beginning of the season.
For a detailed list of active and inactive schedule in the United States, click here.
Temporary Greens and Score Posting under the World Handicap System
It’s not uncommon for some courses in Manitoba to close greens due to seasonal turf conditions. This is normal practice early in our season especially given our harsh winter climate. But what does that mean for score posting for handicapping purposes?
If the use of temporary greens and/or tees is due to seasonal turf conditions which change from day-to-day, scores should be posted for handicap purposes to the normal course rating and Slope rating if the following criteria are met: (1) the Rules of Golf can be followed during this time period (i.e., no automatic two putts, no oversized holes); (2) the effective playing length of the course remains intact (i.e., loss of yardage from temporary tees and greens offset by less than normal roll).
If the Rules of Golf cannot be followed, the score to be posted for that hole is NET PAR (Par of the hole being played plus any handicap strokes received on that hole) which is in accordance with Rule 3.2 of the Rules of Handicapping. If a majority of holes on the course cannot be played in accordance with the Rules of Golf, scores shall not be posted.
The COVID-19 global pandemic is an unprecedented and difficult time for Canadians and Golf Canada stands with our entire golf community during this unprecedented time.
We all love the game for the escape it provides and its positive impact on our physical, social and mental well-being. We look forward to better and healthier days and when the time is right for Canadians to return to recreational normalcy, clubs and courses will be ready to welcome golfers back to the tee.
We continue to urge golfers to follow the guidelines from health and governmental officials to keep you and those around you safe, and to minimize any possible exposure to coronavirus. This is especially true on a golf course, where golfers, workers and operators should heighten their level of awareness on exposure to surfaces like flagsticks, golf balls, bunker rakes, tees, carts and scorecards. We all need to do our part to respect expert advice and make the right decisions to protect each other.
It is not the intended purpose of the below guidance to either encourage or discourage anyone from playing the game, but rather, in our governance role, to help golf course operators, committees and golfers better understand how the Rules of Golf and Rules of Handicapping apply to the various questions received by the governing bodies.
The Modernized Rules of Golf were drafted to offer each Committee the flexibility to make decisions as to how golf is played at their course or in competition and the Committee Procedures section of the Official Guide to the Rules of Golf (available online here) offers a significant amount of guidance and recommendations on how to address circumstances unique to each course or competition.
This flexibility will prove to be very helpful as Committees look to address many of the challenges they are facing within the current environment. While the Committee Procedures section is a tremendous resource and has much to offer, many of the current questions were not originally contemplated under the Rules of Golf and therefore there is no history or guidance provided. To better address the questions that have come about because of these unique circumstances and the related challenges, additional guidance can be accessed by clicking here. This will continue to be updated as additional questions are received.
As active seasons start to open across the country, we would like to discuss impacts on Handicapping. From the perspective of the Rules of Handicapping, the most frequent questions received are primarily related to the acceptability of scores for posting to a player’s scoring record. In particular, to modifying the hole and not requiring the player to “hole out” as required under the Rules of Golf. These are founded in a desire to minimize the possibility of exposing golfers to coronavirus and have included leaving the hole liner raised above the putting surface or placing various objects into the hole so the ball can be more easily removed. In these specific cases, ensuring guidance from health and governmental officials is being followed, a temporary measure is in place in Canada to accept scores played under these conditions for handicap purposes using the most likely score guidelines (Rule 3.3, Rules of Handicapping), even though the player has not holed out.
Please remember that this temporary measure is now in effect within Canada until advised otherwise by Golf Canada.
For more information and detailed guidance, please contact your Provincial Golf Association or Golf Canada.
Golf Manitoba is saddened to have learned that Eric Henke, formally of Rapid City, Manitoba passed away in Minnedosa, Manitoba on December 20, 2019 at the age of 68 years.
Eric was a volunteer rules referee with Golf Manitoba since 2008. Over the past 11 years, Eric officiated at numerous provincial and national level amateur golf championships. In the spring of 2019, he completed his Level 3 certification, the highest level of referee certification offered through Golf Canada.
In order to increase his knowledge of the rules, Eric attended a number of Golf Canada and USGA golf rules seminars, at his own expense, in Canada and the U.S. Invariably his exam marks were amongst the highest, if not the highest, in a class composed of senior golf referees. In the words of one of the top USGA referees: “Eric REALLY knew the rules.”
Eric also was very helpful in sharing his knowledge and understanding of the rules with his fellow officials . He thoroughly enjoyed volunteering his time and expertise and he will be missed both as a colleague and a friend.