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 Handicap||Maximum Score on any Hole|
|9 or less||Double Bogey|
|10 through 19||7|
|20 through 29||8|
|30 through 39||9|
|40 or more||10|
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.