fbpx

Do you have to put your handicap on your scorecard?

The fundamental responsibilities for handicaps on golf scorecards has changed. Here’s what you now need to know

 

Your scorecard, your responsibility. That’s how the Rules of Golf viewed the requirement to input your handicap on that bit of paper.

But with the changes to the Rules of Golf in 2023, there was a significant change in what was expected of players in that regard. So let’s get stuck in and see what’s coming…

What did the rules used to say about handicaps on golf scorecards?

Rule 3.3b (4) said that in handicap competitions, a player was responsible for making sure “that his or her handicap is shown on the scorecard”. If a player presented a card with no handicap shown on it, or a handicap that was too high, they were disqualified if this affected the number of strokes the player received.

If the handicap on the scorecard was too low, there was no penalty but the player’s net score stood using the lower handicap.

What does the new rule say about handicaps on golf scorecards?

Rule 3.3b (4) now says a player is no longer required to show their handicap on their scorecard or to add up their own scores.

It is the committee’s responsibility to calculate the player’s handicap strokes for the competition and to use that handicap to calculate the player’s net score.

It says: “If the player returns a scorecard on which they have made a mistake in showing or applying a handicap, or on which they have made a mistake in adding up the scores, there is no penalty.”

A committee, though, can employ a new Local Rule – Model Local Rule L-2 – which puts the responsibility back on the player.

Handicaps On Golf Scorecards

What was the R&A’s view on the change?

Grant Moir, R&A director of rules, said: “It’s [about] simplification and part of the analysis of the necessity for certain penalties – particularly with this one potentially bringing in a very severe penalty of disqualification.

“Pretty much all our scores nowadays go through some kind of digital process where that machine tells you what your handicap is, and your principal responsibility is simply to enter in the correct scores for each hole and it will reveal your result and the results of everybody playing in that competition.

“So to have a situation where we put in the right scores for each hole, and the results sheet is accurate, but because you might have put the wrong number down on a bit of paper, you’re then disqualified or playing under a handicap that’s lower than that to which you are entitled just didn’t seem to make sense in terms of the way we play the modern game.

“It seemed to us like such a good opportunity to remove a penalty and have the Rules just better reflect the way the practice has become.”

NCG verdict

This was an eminently sensible change which left players only concerned with ensuring their gross scores are correct and that their scorecard is signed by themselves and a marker.

The test of this rule, though, is how committees enforce it. Some have ignored previous requirements and exceeded their powers to disqualify players who failed to include details such as dates and net totals. Rule 3.3b sets clear requirements of what is expected from golfers and what’s expected from committees. Let’s hope both sides stick to them.

What do you think about the new rule on handicaps on scorecards? Let me know with a tweet.

Steve Carroll

Steve Carroll

A journalist for 25 years, Steve has been immersed in club golf for almost as long. A former club captain, he has passed the Level 3 Rules of Golf exam with distinction having attended the R&A's prestigious Tournament Administrators and Referees Seminar.

Steve has officiated at a host of high-profile tournaments, including Open Regional Qualifying, PGA Fourball Championship, English Men's Senior Amateur, and the North of England Amateur Championship. In 2023, he made his international debut as part of the team that refereed England vs Switzerland U16 girls.

A part of NCG's Top 100s panel, Steve has a particular love of links golf and is frantically trying to restore his single-figure handicap. He currently floats at around 11.

Steve plays at Close House, in Newcastle, and York GC, where he is a member of the club's matches and competitions committee and referees the annual 36-hole scratch York Rose Bowl.

Having studied history at Newcastle University, he became a journalist having passed his NTCJ exams at Darlington College of Technology.

What's in Steve's bag: TaylorMade Stealth 2 driver, 3-wood, and hybrids; TaylorMade Stealth 2 irons; TaylorMade Hi-Toe, Ping ChipR, Sik Putter.

Latest Posts

wagers golf

Iron Out Your Wagers: A Guide to Successful Golf Betting

By

Read full article about Iron Out Your Wagers: A Guide to Successful Golf Betting
Colin Montgomerie Legends Tour

DP World Tour

Colin Montgomerie to Host European Legends Tour Flagship Event

By

Read full article about Colin Montgomerie to Host European Legends Tour Flagship Event

PGA Tour

Everyone should be more like Alex Fitzpatrick…

By

Read full article about Everyone should be more like Alex Fitzpatrick…
Why do golf balls have dimples?

Features

Why do golf balls have dimples?

By

Read full article about Why do golf balls have dimples?
golfers' paradise

Golfers’ Paradise: The Best Golf and Casino Destinations Around the World

By

Read full article about Golfers’ Paradise: The Best Golf and Casino Destinations Around the World
golf gambling

Betting on the Greens: Unconventional Golf Side Bets to Spice Up Your Game

By

Read full article about Betting on the Greens: Unconventional Golf Side Bets to Spice Up Your Game

This week’s hottest golf equipment deals

By

Read full article about This week’s hottest golf equipment deals
nicolai hojgaard liv golf

PGA Tour

Nicolai Hojgaard ‘holds nothing against’ Ryder Cup teammates becoming LIV Golf rebels

By

Read full article about Nicolai Hojgaard ‘holds nothing against’ Ryder Cup teammates becoming LIV Golf rebels

Buying Guides

The shoes that supported the top players at The Masters

By

Read full article about The shoes that supported the top players at The Masters