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World Handicap System

Can my score still count for handicap if I’ve been disqualified?

Been booted out of the competition? Your round may still appear on your World Handicap System record even though you've been DQd
 

Maybe you forgot to sign your card. Maybe your marker did. Maybe your hole scores weren’t correct. Maybe you did something you shouldn’t.

There are many weird, wonderful, and woeful ways you can be disqualified from a golf competition, but did you know that the scores you’ve recorded may still end up going on your World Handicap System record?

That’s right. There are examples where a committee can correct your scores, following disqualification from a competition, and it will still be classed as acceptable for handicap purposes.

But which scores can be corrected and which can’t? Let’s take a look…

disqualified golf

Disqualified golf scores for handicapping

Appendix B, note 10, in the Rules of Handicapping is not the place you’d immediately go hunting for answers but there’s a key phrase here that allows a handicap committee to include “end of process adjustments” that, including disqualified scores, may be acceptable for handicap purposes.

If that all sounds very vague, thankfully a WHS guidance document issued by CONGU goes into further detail.

It says disqualified golf scores must be verified as a correct score according to the Rules of Handicapping and posted before the end of the day to be included in the PCC calculation.

The guidance then gives a huge number of examples given where scores can be corrected for handicap purposes following a disqualification by a committee and when they can’t.

I’m not going to list them all here – there are two pages of do’s and don’ts and you can the guidance document easily enough on the internet.

But for those who don’t have either the time or the inclination to go down that particular rabbit hole, here are a few rules you can breach where being disqualified under the Rules of Golf won’t stop your score (adjusted for any penalties) appearing in your World Handicap System record:

No handicap included on card, or course handicap on card too high (if a Model Local Rule is in place putting the responsibility on players to include it); Card not signed by player or marker; Failure to hole out in stroke play; Playing from outside the teeing area and not corrected; Playing a wrong ball and not correcting it; Playing a second ball and not reporting it to the committee.

And here are a couple of examples where the offence is clearly so beyond the pale that no one will touch your score with a barge pole:

Players deliberately agreeing to ignore a Rule or penalty they know applies; Making strokes with non-conforming clubs; Repeated offences of undue delay of play; Failing to start within five minutes of a correct starting time and returning a score; Unauthorised practice before a round; Agreeing not to lift a ball that might help another player.

What do you think? Should your golf disqualified round ever count, or should those cards just be put in the bin? Let me know with a tweet.

Want more on the World Handicap System?

England Golf’s head of handicapping James Luke recently joined the From the Clubhouse podcast for an in-depth chat about all things WHS. You can listen to that episode, and others, on the player below.

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.

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