USGA Web Site Explanation for Handicap Adjustment from Gold Tees


Players Competing from a Different Course Rating™ or Tees


When players are competing from a different U.S.G.A. Course Rating or tees, why do you make a Course Handicap™ adjustment? What if players are competing from more than two sets of tees? Can a Committee ignore this adjustment?


A Course Handicap represents the number of strokes needed from a specific set of tees to play to the level of a scratch golfer; i.e., to the U.S.G.A. Course Rating. The calculation of a Course Handicap only includes a player’s Handicap Index® and the Slope Rating® of the tees being played. When a U.S.G.A. Course Rating difference exists among competitors, they are playing to different benchmarks, and an adjustment equal to the full difference in U.S.G.A. Course Rating must be made in order for the competition to be equitable.

Players competing from two different tees:
Player A is competing from the Blue tees (71.0) and Player B is competing from the White tees (69.0). Since the U.S.G.A. Course Rating difference is two strokes, Player A must add two to the Course Handicap calculated from the Blue tees. As an alternative, Player B may deduct two from the Course Handicap calculated from the White tees, as the overall effect would be the same (see Decision 3-5/1).