Revision Approved to USGA Handicap System™

January 24, 2014

The USGA Handicap System continues to evolve for the more than 10 million golfers worldwide who have a Handicap Index®, which allows for any player to compete equitably on any golf course.

As part of a continuing commitment to support the new 2014-2015 “Decisions on the Rules of Golf” and in coordination with its Decision 14-3/18 on the appropriate use of distance-measuring devices, the USGA Handicap Committee recently approved a revised Handicap Decision, 5-1e/2, to be effective in 2014, prior to the next scheduled update of the USGA Handicap System in 2016.  

The text of the revised decision is as follows:

Handicap Decision 5-1e/2

Scores Made Using a Distance-Measuring Device or Multi-Functional Device

Q: Are scores made using information generated from a Distance-Measuring Device or Multi-Functional Device acceptable for handicap purposes?

A: In certain situations, yes. If a player uses a Distance-Measuring Device to measure distance, or uses a Multi-Functional Device to access weather reports provided by weather stations through an application or Internet browser, the player is not participating in the specific act of gauging or measuring variable conditions that might affect a player’s play as is prohibited under Rule 14-3 of “The Rules of Golf,” and the score is acceptable for handicap purposes.

However, if a player uses the device or information available through an application or Internet browser to gauge or measure other conditions that might affect a player’s play as is prohibited under Rule 14-3 of “The Rules of Golf” (e.g., through use of an anemometer, or a thermometer), the score is unacceptable for handicap purposes. (REVISED)

For more information on the USGA Handicap System, visit or sign up for a 2014 USGA Handicap Seminar, which are scheduled at locations across the country through May 20, 2014.


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The USGA and Chevron have committed to using the game of golf to encourage students in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) disciplines. This commitment has led to the creation of extensive golf-focused STEM teaching tools, and has resulted in charitable contributions to support golf-related programs through Eagles for Education™

At U.S. Open Championships the Chevron STEM ZONE™ is an interactive experience highlighting the science and math behind the game of golf through a variety of hands-on exhibits and experiments.

The partnership has also produced educational materials such as the Science of Golf video series and a nationally-distributed newspaper insert which are provided to teachers as tools to enhance existing curriculum in schools. These lessons teach the science behind the USGA’s equipment testing, handicapping, and agronomy efforts.

For more interactive experiences featuring golf-focused STEM lessons, visit the partnership homepage.

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For more information on Rolex and their celebration of the game, visit the Rolex and Golf homepage.

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IBM provides the information technology to develop and host the U.S. Open’s official website,, as well as the mobile apps and scoring systems for the three U.S. Open championships. These real-time technology solutions provide an enhanced experience for fans following the championship onsite and online.

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