RLGA Membership entitles you to a USGA Handicap Index. The purpose of having a Handicap Index is to allow players to compete, or play a casual round, with anyone else on a fair and equal basis. The Rules of Handicapping states:
Each player is expected to:

  • Act with integrity by following the Rules of Handicapping and refrain from using, or circumventing, the Rules of Handicapping for the purpose of gaining an unfair advantage;
  • Attempt to make the best score possible at each hole;
  • Submit acceptable scores for handicap purposes as soon as possible after the round is completed and before midnight local time;
  • Submit acceptable scores to provide reasonable evidence of the demonstrated ability;
  • Play by the Rules of Golf; and
  • Certify the scores of fellow players.

A player’s Handicap Index should represent their demonstrated ability, and where appropriate, be responsive to scores that are inconsistent with their demonstrated ability. 

The Course Handicap calculation converts a Handicap Index to the number of strokes a player requires to play any golf course with a Course Rating and Slope Rating. A Course Handicap is used to determine the number of strokes that a player receives (or gives) on any golf course and for the correct application of net par and net double bogey adjustments.

Note: Sometimes players Course Handicaps may be adjusted to Playing Handicaps depending on the type of competition (format of play) and size of the playing field.
How to Establish an RLGA Handicap
When you join the RLGA you will be assigned a GHIN number, which is your ID for submitting your score on the course computer, your GHIN Mobile app, or at www.ghin.com. You must submit at least three 18-hole scores (or six 9-hole scores) to your scoring record to have your Handicap Index calculated by GHIN.


Maximum Hole Score for Handicap Purposes
For players submitting their first scores to obtain an initial Handicap Index, the maximum score for each hole played is limited to Par + 5 strokes.

After a Handicap Index has been established, the maximum score for each hole played is limited to a net double bogey. (Par of the hole + 2 strokes + Any Handicap strokes that player receives on that hole).

There is no limit to the number of holes in a round where a net doubly bogey adjustment may be applied.

When a Hole Has Not Been Played
There are various circumstances that may result in a round not being complete and some holes not being played. Examples include:

  • Fading light or bad weather
  • Player injury or illness;
  • A match finishing before the final hole; or
  • A hole being declared out of play by the Committee for maintenance or reconstruction purposes.

A score may be used for handicap purposes if, among other things, the round has been played at least the minimum number of holes required for either a 9-hole or 18-hole score to be acceptable. 

For an 18-hole score to be acceptable for handicap purposes, a minimum of 14 holes must be play. For a 9-hole score to be acceptable for handicap purposes, a minimum of 7 holes must be played. 
**Note: A hole is considered played if it has been started (meaning you teed off).

For unplayed holes: Record the score as par plus any handicap strokes you receive on that hole.

When a Hole is Started But Player Does Not Hole Out

There are various circumstances that might result in a player starting a hole but not hole out. Examples include:

  • The result of the hole has already been decided
  • A hole has been conceded in match play;
  • A player’s partner has already posted a better score in a Four-Ball format and the player picks up; or
  • A player has already reached their net double bogey limit on a specific hole.


When a player starts a hole but does not hole out for a valid reason, the player must record their most likely score or net double bogey, whichever is lower. The most likely score is the number of strokes the player has already taken on the hole (including penalty strokes), plus the number of strokes the player would most likely require to complete the hole from where their ball lies. 

Submitting A Score
Handicap Indexes are updated daily, and may be adjusted for playing conditions on a given day, so it is extremely important you submit your score on the day you play your round. If you fail to submit your score on the day it was played, you should ensure your scores are recorded in the correct chronological order when you submit them.

For more information about the World Handicap System (WHS) go to