Handicap Q&As

The following is a list of frequently asked questions regarding handicapping and course rating. If you do not receive the answer you are looking for in the FAQ’s, feel free to submit a question to the Handicap Committee or Proshop.

Equitable Stroke Control (ESC) is the downward adjustment of individual hole scores for handicap purposes in order to make handicap factors more representative of a player`s potential ability. ESC sets a maximum number that a player can post on any hole depending on the player`s Course Handicap. ESC is used only when a player`s actual or most likely score exceeds his maximum number.
Course Handicap Maximum Score
9 or less Handicap Double Bogey
10 to 19 Handicap Maximum score of 7
20 to 29 Handicap Maximum score of 8
30 to 39 Handicap Maximum score of 9
40 and Over Handicap Maximum score of 10
The Handicap System is based upon the potential ability of a player rather than the average of all his scores. As such, the average player is expected to play to his Course Handicap (your Handicap Factor adjusted for the Slope Rating of the course and tees you are playing) or better only about 25 percent of the time, average three strokes higher than his Course Handicap, and have a best score (of the last 20) which is only two strokes better than his Course Handicap.

A player’s Handicap Factor is reflective of his or her playing potential because it is based upon the best scores posted for a given number of rounds, ideally the best 10 of the last 20 rounds. Since the worst 10 scores are tossed out, the Handicap Factor reflects the player’s best golf.
Almost all scores are acceptable because the basic premise of the Golf Canada Handicap System is that every player will try his or her best on every hole, in every round regardless of where the round was played. Therefore all of the following are acceptable scores:
  • 18 hole rounds
  • 13 or more holes played you must post an 18-hole score
  • 9 hole rounds
  • 7-12 holes played you must post a nine-hole score
  • Scores on all courses with a valid Course and Slope Rating, whether at home course, away course, or out of country
  • Scores in all forms of competition: match play, stroke play, team competitions
  • Scores played with preferred lies
For handicapping purposes, the following are unacceptable scores:
  • Scores of fewer than 7 holes
  • Scores made on a golf course in an area during its inactive season
  • Scores made not under the principles of the Rules of Golf
  • Scores from courses under 3,000 yards for 18 holes
  • Scores made in competitions stipulating the use of less than 14 clubs
  • Scores made on golf courses without valid Course and Slope Ratings
If a player starts but does not complete a hole or is conceded a stroke, that player shall record for handicap purposes their most likely score. The most likely score consists of the number of strokes already taken plus, in the player’s best judgement, the number of strokes that the player would need to complete the hole from that position more than half the time. This number may not exceed the player’s Equitable Stroke Control limit. This most likely score should be preceded by an X, such as X6.

There is no limit to the number of unfinished holes a player may have in a round provided that failure to finish is not for the purpose of Handicap Factor manipulation.

Example 1: A and B are partners in a four-ball stroke play competition. On a hole on which neither player receives a handicap stroke, A lies two, 18 feet from the hole. B lies two, 25 feet from the hole. B holes a putt for a three. A picks up their ball because they cannot better B’s score. A records X4 on the score card because 4 is their most likely score.
Example 2: A and B are playing a match. On a hole on which neither player receives a handicap stroke, A has holed out in 4; B has a 30 foot putt for a 5. B has lost the hole, and picks up. B records X6 on the score card because 6 is their most likely score.
Example 3: A and B are playing a match. On a hole on which neither player received a handicap stroke, A is one foot from the hole, lying 4. B is 10 feet from the hole, lying 3. B putts and misses. They agree to a half. Both players record 5 because that is the score they most likely would have made.
If a player does not play a hole or plays it other than under the Rules of Golf (except for preferred lies), their score for that hole for handicap purposes shall be par plus any handicap strokes the player is entitled to receive on the hole. When recording this hole score, precede the score with an “X”. This concept can also apply to a hole with a temporary green or tee which renders the hole substantially different from its usual form.

Example: A player with a Course Handicap of 10 receives a handicap stroke on the first 10 allocated handicap-stroke holes. If the player does not play the sixth allocated stroke hole because of construction on the green, the player shall record a score of par plus one for handicap purposes.
The Handicap Committee and the Proshop have an up-to-date copy of the Golf Canada Handicap Manual.
If the round(s) played were in an area observing an Active Handicap Season then you must post the score(s). Most of the southern United States observe a year-round Active Season, but you can confirm the Active Season for where you are playing by calling the State golf association for that area.
The Active Handicap Seasons for posting rounds played in Canada are:

ON = April 15 - October 31
For handicap purposes, the score must be posted immediately following the round, or if that is not possible, as soon as practicable.
The Proshop and the Handicap Committee at TGC will decide if a particular score is to be posted as a “T” score. Notice will be given for events where “T” scores will be in effect.
No. Tournament scores are calculated the same as regular scores, but if tournament scores posted are much lower than regular scores posted the Handicap Factor may be subject to an automatic reduction. See Section 10-3 of the Handicap Manual.
Yes. As per the Golf Canada Member Club Handicap License Agreement, in order to issue Handicap Factors to its members, a club must have a Handicap Committee.
A player’s Course Handicap is determined by multiplying a Handicap Factor by the Slope Rating of the course played and then dividing by 113. The resulting figure is rounded off to the nearest whole number (.5 or more is rounded upward).
The maximum Handicap Factor for men is 36.4 and for women at TGC is 40 and in some events, less. A Handicap Factor exceeding these limits must be identified as a Local Handicap.
If the hole’s character and playing length have not been altered and you can play the hole under the Rules of Golf, then you can post your actual score on the hole. Otherwise, you must post par, plus any handicap strokes you would be entitled to on that hole. See Section 4-2 of the Handicap Manual.
Yes, provided the round is played in accordance with the Rules of Golf.
Note: See Decision 5-1d/2

No. A score made with either ball must not be posted as such scores are not made in accordance with the Rules of golf.