The Unified Handicapping System (UHS) is based on the premise that a player will endeavour to make the best score he can at each hole in every qualifying round he plays and will report all such rounds for
Any player who fails to carry out any of the responsibilities imposed by the UHS is not entitled to
a CONGU® Handicap.
The player must:
8.1 Have one Exact Handicap only which must be allotted and adjusted by his Home Club and
produce, if so required, a current, validated CONGU® Handicap Certificate and/or valid
CDH ID Number. The Playing Handicap calculated from this Exact Handicap shall apply
elsewhere including other clubs of which the player is a Member.
8.2 If he is a Member of more than one Affiliated Club, select one as his Home Club for
handicapping purposes and notify that club and the others of his choice and supply each
away club his Home Club CDH ID Number.
(a) In Ireland a player’s Home Club for handicapping purposes must be the club at which he
competes most frequently.
For ease of handicap administration, it is recommended that in circumstances where a player is a
Member of more than one Affiliated Club, he should select as his Home Club, the club at which
he competes most frequently in Qualifying Competitions.
8.3 Not change his Home Club except by giving advance notice of the change which can take
effect only at the end of a calendar year unless he has ceased to be a Member of his Home
Club or both clubs agree to the change taking place at an earlier date.
8.4 Report to his Home Club the names of all other Affiliated Clubs of which he is, becomes, or
ceases to be, a Member and report to all other Affiliated Clubs of which he is a Member:
(a) the name of his Home Club and any changes of Home Club; and
(b) his Home Club CDH ID Number, and
(c) alterations to his Playing Handicap made by his Home Club.
8.5 Prior to playing in any competition ascertain whether all appropriate reductions to Playing
Handicap have been made or alternatively comply with the responsibilities set out in
8.6 Before commencing play on the day of a Qualifying Competition ensure that his entry has
been registered in the competition record, manually or by computer in the manner required
by the club or committee in charge of the competition.
A player who fails to enter a Qualifying Competition in the required manner is deemed to have
neither a score for the competition nor a score for handicap purposes.
8.7 Enter his current Playing Handicap on all cards returned in a Qualifying Competition even
though the event may not be a handicap competition. This is required for the calculation
of a Competition Scratch Score.
8.8 Ensure that all competition cards in Qualifying Competitions, whether or not complete,
are returned to the organising committee, and make such computer entries as may be
required – see Decisions, Dec.1(m) and Dec.1(n).
Note: It is expected that every player who enters a Qualifying Competition intends to
complete the round.
8.9 When competing away from his Home Club produce, on request, a current CONGU®
Handicap Certificate authenticated by his Home Club and/or a valid CDH ID Number. A Member playing in a Nine-Hole Qualifying Competition or returning a Nine-Hole
Supplementary Score at his Away club is responsible for verifying that his correct Exact
Handicap is applied in the calculation of Competition Handicap Allowance.
8.10 Report to his Home Club as soon as practicable all Qualifying Scores (including ‘No Returns’
and Disqualified Scores – see Appendix P) returned away from his Home Club advising the
Home Club of the date of the Qualifying Competition, the venue, Standard Scratch Score
and the Competition Scratch Score together with details specific to the competition format.
(a) After a Stroke Play Qualifying Competition, the gross score returned and any Stableford
/ Nett Double Bogey Adjustment applicable. See Clause 19.1 and the example referenced
19.1/1. The Home Club may require a copy of the scorecard to be returned to support the
(b) After a Par/Bogey Qualifying Competition, the par of the course and the score versus
(c) After a Stableford Qualifying Competition, the par of the course and the number of points
In Ireland see also Clause 8.12 and 20.11
Note 1: Players are reminded that failure to report all Qualifying Scores returned away from their
Home Clubs (including ‘No Returns’ – see Blue Box 8.10/1 below – and Disqualified
Scores – see Appendix P) as required by the UHS could lead to the suspension of
offending players’ handicaps under the provisions of Clause 24.
Note 2: In the event of a Qualifying Competition being declared abandoned or scores returned
being determined by the provisions of Clause 18 to be for Reduction Only, the player
must report the information required by Clause 8.10 to his Home Club.
Note 3: The fact that scores recorded by players competing in competitions away from their Home
Club may be reported to their Home Club by the competition organisers, or through a
Centralised Database of Handicaps (CDH), does not remove the responsibility of
individual players to ensure that all relevant scores are recorded in their Player Handicap
Note 4: Elite players (i.e. those subject to annual audit by their Union) may be required to return
specified overseas scores to their Union or may be directed by their Union to return
specific overseas scores to their Home Club for inclusion directly into their handicap
8.11 Authorise, if so requested, his Home Club to provide the Union with such information as his
Union shall reasonably require to maintain a national handicap database and also sign any
relevant document which may be required to comply with or satisfy Data Protection
8.12 Provide to his Home Club information regarding scores in Non-Qualifying Competitions if so
directed by a Union – see Clause 4.5(b).
Ireland directs that it is mandatory for both clubs and players to report to Home Clubs all Non-
Qualifying Scores from Team and Society Golf played over a course for which the Union has
allotted a Standard Scratch score together with notification of the relevant SSS – See also
Clauses 4.5 (b) and Note to 23 (B). Wales directs players to return Non Qualifying Scores
for the purposes of the Annual Review. England and Scotland make no directions under
Players should be aware of the significance of the Stableford / Nett Double Bogey Adjustment. This
adjustment allows a player who has a ‘bad’ score on a hole(s) or does not complete a hole(s), for any
reason, to continue to record a score on subsequent holes for handicap purposes. This sustains the
golfing interest and at the same time provides valuable handicap information. See Clause 19.
8.5/1 Upward Self Adjustment of Playing Handicap
Q. Prior to playing in any competition, I am required by Clause 8.5 to ascertain that all appropriate
reductions to Playing Handicap have been made. As a player who keeps track of my Exact Handicap
at all times why am I not allowed, by the same principle, to increase my handicap where appropriate?
A. The Rules of Golf require that a player plays from the correct handicap. If a handicap is entered on
the scorecard lower than the player’s actual handicap, the score is acceptable for competition
purposes. If the player plays from a handicap higher than that to which he is entitled he is
disqualified. The self-reducing procedures set out in Clause 20.11 following the return of a score
resulting in a handicap reduction are designed to remove the possibility of disqualification in a
subsequent competition through playing from too high a handicap.
‘Self-increasing’, however, following the return of a score(s) above the Buffer Zone has a number of
• the player does not always know precisely his Exact Handicap; and
• upward movement of the CSS can result in a change to the player’s Buffer Zone that he may not be
aware of, resulting in the player incorrectly increasing his handicap and possibly being in the
embarrassing position of winning a prize to which he is not entitled.
Consequently to safeguard the player and preserve the integrity of handicapping, increases in
handicap may only be made by a player’s Home Club after scores have been duly reported and
posted at the Home Club and / or on the Union’s CDH.
8.10/1 Meaning and Usage of the Term ‘No Return’
Strictly, a ‘No Return’ is the result of a player having commenced play in a Qualifying Competition either
failing to return his scorecard to the Committee in charge of the competition or entering a ‘no score’ at
each hole of a computer based score recording system.
However, in addition, a ‘No Return’ in common usage is applied to a return in a Medal Stroke Play
competition in which the player has failed to record a score at one or more holes and consequently
does not have a score in the Medal Stroke Play competition. Notwithstanding, such an incomplete card
is used for handicap purposes by the application of Clause 19 to establish a Nett Differential.
The term ‘No Return’ is commonly abbreviated to NR.
These differing situations in regard to a NR are demonstrated in the specimen Player Handicap Record
contained in Appendix I:
• In the Stroke Play competition dated 18/05, the player did not return his scorecard. A ‘no score’
was recorded at each hole and the identifier ‘NC’ is entered in the ‘Gross Score’ column. A Nett
Differential could not be calculated and his handicap was increased by 0.1
• In the Stroke Play competition dated 03/06, the player returned his card without a score recorded
on one of the holes and again recorded a NR. On this occasion, however, an adjusted gross score
could be calculated by applying Clause 19. The resulting Nett Differential was within his Buffer
Zone and there was no increase in handicap.