Getting an Officially Recognised Golf Handicap

Short cut to getting an idea of what you have to do:
You need to complete 3 cards and the best card will be the one which determines your Initial ACTIVE Handicap.
Please call in at the Golf Shop to sign for each card and post completed card in the Handicap Card Box in the Lobby.
Once you have an Official Handicap you will not lose it unless you cease to be a member of a Recognised Golf Club, when your Handicap will LAPSE.
You must submit at least 3 Official Cards each year to keep your Handicap ACTIVE in order to be able to compete in Official Competitions, whether Home or Away.
If you do not complete 3 Official Cards in a calendar year, your Handicap will become INACTIVE.
This does not mean that you have lost your Handicap or that it has lapsed.  You still have your Handicap but in order to play in Official Competitions, you will have to complete 3 Supplimentary Cards to re-ACTIVATE it.
It is the players responsibility to play off the correct Handicap at all times.
If you have any queries, please call the Handicap Secretary or the Golf Shop.

What is a Handicap in Golf  ?
A handicap is a measure of the standard of golf that typically represents the number of strokes per round a player takes more than that which a "scratch" (zero handicapped) golfer is considered likely to score. For gents, there is a maximum handicap of 28. For Ladies, the maximum is 36.


Is Handicapping the same for Ladies and Men?
With the introduction of the CONGU Unified Handicapping System on 1st February 2004 the same handicap system applies.

Congu Handicap Body

Who is the "Council of National Golf Unions"?
The Council of National Golf Unions (CONGU) is a collection of representatives from the England Golf, English Ladies Golf Association, Scottish Golf Union, Scottish Ladies Golfing Association, Welsh Golfing Union, Welsh Ladies Golf Union, the Golfing Union of Ireland and Irish Ladies Golf Union.In addition, the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews and the Ladies Golf Union each have a representative on the Council.
Who can be given a CONGU? Handicap?
The only organisations that can allocate and administer CONGU? handicaps are "affiliated Clubs". These are clubs who have become a member of one of the National Unions, usually through affiliation to a County Union or Association.
These member clubs must pay a subscription for each playing member to their local 'Area' Authority and to their National Union, in part to cover the cost of operating the national scheme.
Golf Societies may not allocate CONGU? handicaps to their members. A handicap given by any organisation other than an "affiliated club" is not a CONGU? handicap.
How can I get a Handicap?
The only way to obtain a CONGU? handicap is to become a member of an affiliated club.
Can I lose my Handicap once I have been given one?
A Handicap is lost at the time you cease to be a member of an affiliated club. Handicaps can be suspended by the club when there has been a breach of the rules.

It is not normally possible for a club to remove or lapse a handicap simply because you have not played in many competitions. The exception to this is for clubs belonging to the Scottish Golf Union. Scottish Golf Clubs are be expected to 'star' players handicaps where the player has not played a minimum of three qualifying competitions between 'Annual Reviews'. Players who have a starred handicap will not be able to enter competitions requiring a CONGU? handicap.


How will I be allocated a Handicap by my Club?
Please sign in at the Golf Shop to collect each card. Your club will ask you to submit three (or more) cards for consideration. A calculation is performed on each of the cards to discount any strokes you will have taken which are more than 2 over the par of any hole. The card with the lowest total (after this calculation) is then used to allocate a handicap. Your handicap is likely to be the difference between this total and the "Standard Scratch Score" of the course (clubs may vary from this if there is good cause to).

You will be given an "Exact Handicap" which will (typically) be a whole number and can be changed to a decimal number (e.g. 22.4) later on by the process described below. Your "Playing Handicap" (Handicap which will be used for competitions, etc.) is your Exact Handicap rounded to the nearest whole number (e.g. 22.4 = 22 Playing Handicap). Exact Handicaps ending in 0.5 are rounded up (e.g. 22.5 = 23 Playing Handicap).

What is the "Standard Scratch Score" of a course?
This is a score which a "scratch" (zero handicapped) player is considered to be expected to score around any particular golf course. It is usually identified on the scorecard as the SSS of the course.
How is the "Standard Scratch Score" of a course calculated?
The Standard Scratch Score (SSS) assessment is typically made by the County Unions on behalf of their National Union (especially England). Provisionally, it is based upon the total length of the course and need not match the sum of the Par's for each hole. Consideration is given to difficulty of natural conditions (number of hazards, etc.). Ultimately, it is a subjective assessment, typically made by a small 'committee' of top amateur golfers.

The Welsh Golfing Union and the Scottish Golfing Union now rate their courses using the 'Course Rating System of the United States Golf Association' as the basis.

The English Golf Union uses their own criteria for assessment. Here, when a club first requests a Standard Scratch Score for a course (perhaps the club is a new club, or they are opening a new or revised course), they will be allocated a 'Provisional' Standard Scratch Score based on the overall length of the course. This is based upon the 'Table of Provisional Standard Scratch Scores'. Later, a visual inspection and assessment may be made, taking into account playing difficulty of the course, etc. This may recommend an adjustment to the Provisional SSS, for the final SSS.

Currently, the English Golf Union weight the final assessment on the basis of 85% overall length and 15% difficulty of course, etc.
Table of Provisional Standard Scratch Scores

Standard length of Course

Lengths included in Standard Length

Provisional Standard Scratch Score



















































What will cause my Handicap to change?

Handicaps change for one of two reasons:

You will have returned a score in a handicap qualifying competition. This is a competition which has been identified (in advance) where handicaps will be adjusted, or you have submitted a Supplimentary Score in the absence of 'handicap qualifying competition' rounds.
In 2008 CONGU removed the element of 'General Play' as regards to the effect is has on a players Handicap. All Handicap Adjustments can now only come from Qualifying Competitions or Supplimentary Scores. The implementation of Supplimentary Scores is aimed at Golfers who haven't played in Qualifying Competitions, to submit up to 10 cards in a 12 month period for Handicap Purposes. The Golfer must make it known to the club before he/she begins their round that they are doing a Supplimentary Card and that regardless of score or circumstance the card must be submitted at the completion of the round. Failure to submit the card will result in the same penalties as if you were to do that in an Official Competition. 

All Information Provided by the Congu Handicap Master Website


Obtaining an Initial Handicap at Sudbrook Moor Golf Club:
You must be a current member of Sudbrook Moor.
Sudbrook Moor will be your Home Club for handicap purposes.
Please call in to the Golf Shop to sign in and collect each card.

You must then do the following:-

Fill in 3 cards played at Sudbrook Moor. The BEST card will be used to calculate your Initial Handicap. ( Scores of more than 2 over par at any hole will be rounded down to 2 over par for Initial Handicap cards )

A rounded down score of a maximum 91 is required to qualify for the maximum handicap of 28. ( 28 over the Standard Scratch Score of 62 from the yellow tees )

The Marker of the card must have an Official Handicap. The Marker need not be a member of Sudbrook Moor but must be a current member of a recognised Golf Club. Print your name on each card. Put "For Handicap" on each card. Date each card. Indicate the tees you play from. eg Yellow Tees ( Remember, you play to the Yellow flags for the first 9 holes and the Red flags for the second 9 holes ) Sign each card.
The Marker must sign and print name on each card and indicate their Home Club and Exact Handicap. Ask a member of the Professional staff in the Professional's Shop to check the cards for detail, before you hand them in. Save the 3 cards and put them in the appropriate box in the Lobby. If the cards have been completed correctly, your Handicap will be posted in the Lobby usually within one week.
If the cards have been handed in and are incorrect in any way, your Handicap will not be posted and no further action will be taken by the Handicap Secretary. If your Handicap has not been posted within one week, please contact the Handicap Secretary. Ladies' Handicap rules are similar but differ in certain details - please contact the Ladies' Handicap Secretary. Members please remember that it is your responsibility to play off the correct handicap at all times.
You have an Official Handicap elsewhere and you wish to transfer it to Sudbrook Moor Golf Club ( Sudbrook Moor to become your Home Club )
Sudbrook Moor Golf Club will only act as your HOME CLUB after receiving a copy of your Handicap Records ( not a handicap certificate) from your previous Home Club.
( Your Official Handicap will have lapsed if you have not been a member of any Recognised Club during the last 6 months. If this is the case then you will need to fill in 3 more cards at Sudbrook Moor Golf Club )
Information for players with HOME CLUB at Sudbrook Moor, who play in competitions elsewhere:-
The Unified Handicapping System. Effective 1st January 2008 Clause: -
The UHS is based on the premise that a player will endeavour to make the best score they can at each hole in every qualifying round they play and will report all such rounds for handicap purposes. Any player who fails to carry out any of the responsibilities imposed by the UHS is not entitled to a CONGU? Handicap.
The player must:
8.1 Have one Exact Handicap only, which must be allotted and adjusted by their HOME Club and produce, when so required, a current validated CONGU? Handicap Certificate. The Playing Handicap calculated from this Exact Handicap shall apply elsewhere including other clubs of which the player is a Member.
8.2 If the Player is a Member of more than one Affiliated Club, select one as their HOME Club and notify that club and the others of which they are a member.
For ease of handicap administration, it is recommended that in circumstances where a player is a Member of more than one Affiliated Club, the player should select as their Home Club, the club at which they compete most frequently in Qualifying Competitions.
8.3 Not change their Home Club except by giving advance notice of the change which can take effect only at the end of a calendar year unless the player has ceased to be a Member of his Home Club or both clubs agree to the change taking place at an earlier date.
8.4 Report to their Home Club the names of all other Affiliated Clubs of which they are, becomes, or ceases to be, a Member and report to all other Affiliated Clubs of which they are a Member:
(a) The name of their Home Club and any changes of Home Club and
(b) Alterations to their Playing Handicap made by the player?s Home Club.
8.5 Prior to playing in any competition ascertain whether all appropriate reductions to Playing Handicap have been made or alternatively comply with the responsibilities set out in Clause 20.11.
8.6 Before commencing play on the day of a Qualifying Competition ensure that their entry has been registered in the competition record, manually or by computer in the manner required by the club or Committee in charge of the competition. A player who fails to enter a Qualifying Competition in the required manner is deemed to have neither a score for the competition nor a score for handicap purposes.
8.7 Enter their current Playing Handicap on all cards returned in a Qualifying Competition even though the event may not be a handicap competition. This is required for the calculation of a Competition Scratch Score.
8.8 Ensure that all competition cards in Qualifying Competitions, whether or not complete, are returned to the organising Committee, and make such computer entries as may be required - see Decisions, Dec.1 (m) and Dec.1 (n) .
8.9 When competing away from their Home Club produce, on request, a current CONGU? Handicap Certificate authenticated by the player?s Home Club.
8.10 Report to their Home Club as soon as practicable all Qualifying Scores (including 'No Returns' and Disqualified Scores - see Appendix P) returned away from his Horne Club advising the Home Club of the date of the Qualifying Competition, the venue, Standard Scratch Score and the Competition Scratch Score together with the following:
(a) After a Stroke Play Qualifying Competition, the gross score returned and any Stableford/ Nett Double Bogey Adjustment applicable. See Clause 19.1 and the example referenced 19.1/1. The Union, at its discretion, may require the scorecard to be returned to support the adjustment.
(b) After a Par/Bogey Qualifying Competition, the Par of the course and the score versus Par.
(c) After a Stableford Qualifying Competition, the Par of the course and the number of points scored .
Note 1: Players are reminded that failure to report all Qualifying Scores returned away from their Home Clubs (including 'No Returns' and Disqualified Scores - see Appendix P) as required by the UHS could lead to the suspension of offending players' handicaps under the provisions of Clause 24 .
Note 2: In the event of a Qualifying Competition being declared abandoned or scores returned being determined by the provisions of Clause 18 to be for Reduction Only, the player must report the information required by Clause 8.10 to his Home Club.
Note 3: The fact that scores recorded by players competing in competitions away from their Home Club may be reported to their Home Club by the competition organisers, or through a Centralised Database of Handicaps (CDH), does not remove the responsibility of individual players to ensure that all relevant scores are recorded correctly in their Player Handicap Record.
8.11 Authorise, if so requested, their Home Club to provide the Union with such information as the player?s Union shall reasonably require to establish a National Handicap Database and also sign any relevant document which may be required to comply with or satisfy Data Protection legislation.
8.12 Provide to their Home Club information regarding scores in Non Qualifying Competitions if so directed by a Union - see Clause 4.5(b).
Players should be aware of the significance of the Stableford/Nett Double Bogey adjustment. This adjustment allows a player who has a 'bad' score on a hole(s) or does not complete a hole(s), for any reason, to continue to record a score on subsequent holes for handicap purposes. This sustains the golfing interest and at the same time provides valuable handicap information. See Clause 19.
8.5/1     Upward Self Adjustment of Playing Handicap
Question: Prior to playing in any competition, I am required by Clause 8.5 to ascertain that all appropriate reductions to Playing Handicap have been made. As a player who keeps track of my Exact Handicap at all times why am I not allowed, by the same principle, to increase my handicap where appropriate?
Answer: The Rules of Golf require that a player plays from the correct handicap. If a handicap is entered on the scorecard lower than the player's actual handicap, the score is acceptable for competition purposes. If the player plays from a handicap higher than that to which he is entitled he is disqualified. The self-reducing procedures set out in Clause 20.11 following the return of a score resulting in a handicap reduction are designed to remove the possibility of disqualification in a subsequent competition through playing from too high a handicap.
'Self-increasing', however, following the return of a score(s) above the Buffer Zone has a number of issues:
The player does not always know precisely his Exact Handicap. Upward movement of the CSS can result in a change to the player's Buffer Zone that he may not be aware of, resulting in the player incorrectly increasing his handicap and possibly being in the embarrassing position of winning a prize to which he is not entitled. Consequently to safeguard the player and preserve the integrity of handicapping, increases in handicap may only be made by a player's Home Club after scores have been duly reported.
8.10/1      Meaning and Usage of the Term 'No Return'
Strictly, a 'No Return' is the result of a player having commenced play in a Qualifying Competition either failing to return his scorecard to the Committee in charge of the competition or entering a 'no score' at each hole of a computer based score recording system.
However, in addition, a 'No Return? in common usage is applied to a return in a Stroke Play competition in which the player has failed to record a score at one or more holes. Although the player does not have a score in the Stroke Play competition, such an incomplete card can be used for handicap purposes by the application of Clause 19 to establish a Nett Differential.
The term 'No Return' is commonly abbreviated to NR.
Below are some examples of differing situations in regard to a NR and are demonstrated in the specimen Player Handicap Record contained in Appendix I:
Example 1: In the Stroke Play competition dated 20/05; the player either did not return their scorecard or recorded a 'no score' at each hole. A Nett Differential could not be calculated and the player?s handicap was increased by 0.1.
Example 2: In the Stroke Play competition dated 04/06, the player returned their card without a score recorded on one of the holes and again recorded a NR. On this occasion, however, an adjusted gross score could be calculated by applying Clause 19. The resulting Nett Differential was within the player?s Buffer Zone and there was no increase in handicap.
Example 3: In the Stroke Play competition dated 12/07, the player returned their card without a score recorded on one of the holes and again recorded a NR. On this occasion, however, an adjusted gross score could be calculated by applying Clause 19. The resulting Nett Differential was below the player?s Buffer Zone and there was a decrease in handicap.


To ensure the correct application of 8.0. If Sudbrook Moor is your Home Club and you compete in any Qualifying or Non Qualifying competition at any other Club please ensure that your H/Cap Secretary receives ALL details (Score-Par- CSS.or SSS.-Venue etc.).
Contact Information for Club's Handicap Officials

Glenn Carpenter - Handicap Secretary - Telephone 01476 405262

Dave Guy - Assistant Handicap Secretary - Telephone  

Ladies & Junior Handicap Secretary - Judith Hutton 01400 250796