The USGA Made a Mistake


The USGA made a rule change that has the golf world talking, but not everybody is saying good things.

NEW RULE: Golf rounds you play by yourself don’t count toward your official handicap.

Golf’s governing body for the US and Mexico says that the “change underscores the importance of providing full and accurate information regarding a player’s potential scoring ability, and the ability of other players to form a reasonable basis for supporting or disputing a posted score.”

In explaining the rule, the USGA went on to further define their terms for an acceptable score. Basically, you can golf alone, but if you want your score to count for your handicap, you have to have a witness for 7 of 9 holes played, or 13 of 18 holes played, depending on how much you feel like playing.

Golf Canada has rejected the rule change opting not to penalize golfers who want to get our for a solo session from time to time.

This rule change on behalf of the USGA falls into the category of “taking ourselves too seriously.” Golfers who enjoy and respect golf understand that it is a character-building game and a where one is driven to improvement by accepting and addressing the challenges presented. It’s also a game we’re passionate about and don’t really need a good reason to play.

The handicap is a yardstick for self-improvement as much as it is a standard we present of our potential. The USGA’s rule makes sense if we’re keeping a handicap for the sole benefit of others. For those of us who pursue bettering ourselves on the golf course, those solo rounds count as they absolutely should.

  • A rural Medic

    80% of the rounds I play are solo, as my schedule when I am healthy is backwards to a lot of other peoples. Guess I would never have a Handicap if this was implemented here in Canada.