The Rules of Handicapping include safeguards to ensure a player’s Handicap Index™ accurately reflects their demonstrated ability. Caps (including soft caps and hard caps) are part of these important safeguards in the World Handicap System™, but sometimes certain circumstances call for them to be reviewed for a player. In general, caps should only be overridden by the Handicap Committee if special circumstances such as an injury or illness have taken place. However, in rare instances where the handicap calculation and safeguards do not accurately reflect their demonstrated ability, it will be necessary for the Handicap Committee to consider taking action. In many cases, the impact of a soft cap is only a few tenths of a stroke and may not result in a change in their Course Handicap™. To learn more about caps, click here.
If the Handicap Committee has determined that removing a cap is warranted it needs to take into account a few numeric/math items as well as a procedural requirement:
- The spread between the average of the best 8 of 20 Score Differentials™ and the Low Handicap Index™ is key. If the spread is greater than 3.0, with the Low Handicap Index being lower, this results in the cap formula applying.
- The average of the best 8 of 20 Score Differentials can be found in the USGA Admin Portal through either: a Capped Golfer Report (Avg 8 of 20 column); or the player’s audit log (Full Handicap Index reference).
- Duration of any adjustments – if the Low Handicap Index is adjusted upward with an expiration date a week from now (program defaults to one day), then it is highly likely that the Low Handicap Index causing the cap to apply will result in the cap coming back. Note: A modification to a Low Handicap Index cannot be for more than one year.
- A downward modification to the “current” Handicap Index can also impact whether a cap applies (the 3.0 spread referenced earlier).
- Any modification should only be made after a Handicap Review has been conducted, including communicating to the player (in writing recommended) what the Committee is proposing and when and giving that player an opportunity to respond.
Adjustments can be made in the USGA Admin Portal. Please click the link below for a step-by-step guide on how to modify a golfer’s Handicap Index.
Here are some helpful links below:
- USGA Handicap Committee Guide - The guide is meant to assist the Handicap Committee in the practical application of the Rules of Handicapping, and provide guidance on how to carry out its responsibilities to ensure all players have an opportunity to play or compete on an equal and fair basis with fellow players.
- Step-by- step guide on Modifying a Golfer's Handicap Index in the USGA Admin Portal