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USGA Handicaps
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The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrew  (R&A) requires
adherence to the rules of golf, and preserves the integrity of golf at all of
amateur status in all parts of the golfing world, except the United States
and Mexico (where the USGA defines the rules).  Since 1952, the R&A
and the USGA have worked closely together to produce a uniform code of
rules so that wherever the game is played the same laws apply.

With regards to handicaps, the USGA has devised a system with the
purpose of making the game of golf more enjoyable by enabling players
of differing abilities to compete on an equitable basis.  Only authorized
golf associations and golf clubs that have obtained a license from the
USGA can issue the USGA Handicap Index from this system.

In order to be an authorized golf club that may apply for a license,
all of
the following conditions must be met - and more.  This is only a small  

  • The group must have at least 10 individual members, sometimes
  • The group must have approved bylaws and committees
    (especially a Handicap Committee) that supervises golf activities,
    provides peer review and more
  • The group must insist that the principles of the Rules of Golf be
  • The group must have a representative participate in a USGA
    Handicap Seminar, including passing a test exhibiting
    knowledge about the system.
  • The group must have a signed license agreement in place with a
    local authorized golf association or the USGA prior to issuing a
    USGA Handicap Index.
  • and quite a bit more...

USGA handicaps are available from many state and regional golf
associations.  Full details of the USGA requirements should be obtained
from the

The following terms are trademarks and service marks of the United
States Golf Association:  Course Handicap    , USGA Course Rating    ,
Slope Rating    , Handicap Index     , Bogey Rating   and Slope System     .