Maximum Hole Score for Handicap Purposes (Net Double Bogey)

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USGA Handicap System (pre-2020):  The maximum hole score for handicap purposes is based on a player’s Course Handicap™ and the following Equitable Stroke control (ESC) table:

Course HandicapMaximum Score on any Hole
9 or lessDouble Bogey
10 through 197
20 through 298
30 through 399
40 or more10

Rule Change for 2020:  The maximum hole score for each player will be limited to a net double bogey, calculated as follows:

Double Bogey + handicap strokes a player receives (or gives) based on their Course Handicap™

(“or gives” only applies to plus handicap players)

Reasons for Change:

  • The net double bogey adjustment is more consistent from hole to hole than the ESC procedure.
    • For example – Using the ESC procedure, a player with a Course Handicap of 21 would have the same maximum score (8) on each hole – regardless of the Par or difficulty of the hole.
    • By factoring in par and stroke index values under the net double bogey procedure, adjusted hole scores will be more precise and reflective of each player’s demonstrated ability.» This is a more personal assessment compared to the grouping together of Course Handicap ranges.
  • While this is a change for all who have used the USGA Handicap System, net double bogey has been used successfully in many parts of the world – as it is the equivalent to zero points in the net stableford format of play.
  • The 2019 “Rules of Golf” introduced the maximum score form of stroke play, and net double bogey was included as a recommended maximum score.
    • When net double bogey is the maximum score set by the Committee, no adjustments are necessary for handicap purposes.