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Golf Canada has confirmed its adoption of the changes to the Handicap System in 2016. Check the information below as well as couple of links to the Golf Canada website if you have any questions.


After careful consideration and additional discussion among our Board of Directors and Handicap Committee, Golf Canada will align with all Handicap Rules changes announced by the USGA at the end of last year. This also includes the provision that applies to unaccompanied rounds. These changes are part of a bigger picture to unify the Handicap rules, and support the possible formation of a World Handicap System, which we wholeheartedly endorse.”



Why the change/reversal by Golf Canada on the ‘rounds played alone’ position?


  • After much thought and discussion among our Board of Directors, our Handicap Committee, and after consultation with the USGA, Golf Canada now better understands all of the reasons and big-picture considerations that led to the adoption of the new rule regarding unaccompanied rounds.

  • Therefore, we have concluded that it is in the best interests of the game for Golf Canada to move towards adoption of all the new 2016 Handicap Rules, including the rule on unaccompanied rounds.

How can you stop me from posting my scores for handicap purposes if I do play alone?

  • The Handicap System has always relied on:

  • golfers to post their scores in accordance with handicap system procedures

  • golfers having the ability to review their fellow club members scores and handicap

  • Club Handicap Committee to fulfill its duties and responsibilities (help maintain the system at the club).

  • This decision doesn’t change any of those requirements going forward – those pieces are key to the successful implementation of the Handicap System at any club.

I thought this was a game of honour and integrity which includes trust. This rule seems to go against that tradition of the game, it seems I’m presumed guilty if I play alone?

  • Golf Canada supports strengthening Peer Review in Handicapping – when scores are attested it adds to the integrity and credibility of the handicap system and Handicaps being issued.

  • Playing golf with others affords the benefit of having someone who can testify to your ability and acknowledge the accuracy of your Handicap when you happen to play that once-in-a-lifetime round to win an event.

Isn’t one of your mandates to grow the game and be more inclusive? How does this decision support your mandates as it seems exclusive not inclusive?

This decision was twofold:

  • to enhance “Peer Review” and thereby adding to the Integrity and credibility of the Handicap System

  • to allow Golf Canada to be more aligned worldwide where the majority of rounds played alone are not accepted for handicapping purposes.


To be inclusive, Golf Canada is keenly interested in encouraging all golfers to maintain and post all of their scores. As such Golf Canada is working towards a solution to allow unaccompanied rounds to be entered into our Score Centre, so that golfers can continue to track their statistics, with the full knowledge that they will be excluded from the calculation of an Official Handicap.


Topline Golf Canada talking points on a World Handicapping System:

  • Golf Canada’s commitment to a unified set of rules for golfers worldwide also supports a developing world handicap system, which will involve the coming together of all six of the world’s handicapping authorities to build a workable system and rules anyone can use.

  • World handicapping will offer the opportunity for increasingly mobile golfers to compete and enjoy the game anywhere on the planet, supported by the confidence that they can set up fair games based on a widely adopted, well-understood system that works in any golf culture.


Topline USGA talking points when asked about changes to the Handicap System:

  • Golfers have told us for some time that their biggest concern about the handicap system is the accuracy of other players’ indexes.

  • The new rule supports peer review, an essential element of the USGA Handicap System. Peer review allows golfers to learn other players’ potential abilities, so that all can have confidence in the true value of a Handicap Index.

  • We also made the new rule to enhance the integrity of the USGA Handicap System around the world. Outside of North America, golfers generally do not post scores from rounds played alone.

  • Making score posting more uniform globally will help pave the way for development of a world handicap system. The platform we are building now, in cooperation with The R&A and the world’s five other handicapping authorities, will eventually allow golfers to establish and apply their handicap index no matter where they play.

  • We hope golfers continue to enjoy playing solo rounds, knowing a day on the course is always a good day.

  • We know golf is a game of honor, and we are not questioning any golfer’s integrity. We’re simply working to make a handicap index as useful as possible in setting up a fair game. The Rules of Golf require other practices that maintain the integrity of scores, such as a marker or a fellow competitor keeping a player’s scorecard in stroke play.

Links to the Golf Canada Website

1.     Changes to Golf Canada’s Handicap System for 2016 released

2.     FAQ: Playing golf alone and peer review

    Post Author: William Short