Alabama
Golf Association

Serving & Promoting Amateur Golf in Alabama Since 1915

(205) 979-1234

Establish a USGA Handicap Index

How Do You Establish a USGA Handicap?

You simply need to follow a few easy steps for establishing a USGA Handicap Index. The first one is to join a golf club. You can’t have a Handicap Index without being a member of one. A golf club is an organization of at least 10 individual members that operates under bylaws with committees (including a Handicap Committee) to supervise golf activities, provide peer review, and maintain the integrity of the USGA Handicap System®. The AGA assists and trains our member clubs to be in compliance with USGA policies and authorize them to issue official USGA Handicaps.

Members of a golf club must have a reasonable and regular opportunity to play golf with each other. They must be able to return scores personally, and these scores must be immediately available for review by fellow club members. A golf club doesn’t have to be a private club. It can be at a public course or even a group that is not affiliated with a golf course. Any authorized golf association should be able to assist golfers locate a club that fits their needs.

Another option available is to create your own golf club. You can form a club with a minimum of 10 golfers. The club can be formed with business associates or friends, provided that they live in a close geographic area and play golf regularly together. The club doesn’t have to be tied to one specific golf course.

Why would I need a USGA Handicap Index?

To play in a member-guest, a pro-am, a county amateur or an AGA tournament. Most of these require a USGA Handicap Index. If you belong to an AGA club, then you have a USGA Handicap Index as part of your AGA membership.

What is a handicap?
A USGA handicap is a calculation of your scores, using the course and slope ratings of the tees you played. It's a way to compare your playing level against other golfers and a way to make games fair.

Can I start a USGA handicap online?
Sure, but you have to be careful. Many websites offer "handicaps" that are not USGA handicaps. The USGA says you must belong to a club of golfers which is a group of individual players. Most websites will offer some kind of handicap calculation, but many do not use the USGA formula or place you in a club. 

Join a golf club?
Golf clubs are public, municipal, military, semi-private and private. Joining one is easy. The Alabama Golf Association can help you find a club. Click here to send an e-mail to the AGA staff or Search for an AGA Member Club .