Do Golf Handicaps Expire – Do Golf Handicaps Reset Each Year

A reader recently asked, do golf handicaps expire? I had never thought about it before because I have had a handicap for 25-years and never considered that losing it would be an issue.

In this post, I will share my newly found knowledge on handicap expiration. Plus, explain how the systems differ between the United States, United Kingdom, and Ireland.

Overview Of Golf Handicaps

The US Golf Teachers Federation defines golf handicap as enabling players of varying abilities to compete against each other on an equitable basis.

If your handicap is 25, you can compete against a player with a 2-handicap and still have the chance of winning based on your net score.

How Is A Golf Handicap Calculated?

Depending on your domain, the handicaps are calculated by tallying up your scores over three or five rounds and dividing them by the number of times played.

For example, if you have posted scores of 89, 92, 89, 95, and 88, you add them together to get 453. Then divide 453 by 5, which gives you 90.6.

Then you take your average score and subtract the par total at your course from it. If the par total is 72, minus that from 96, which leaves you with a handicap of 18.6. That means that to shoot to your handicap, you need to card a 90 every round.

Do Golf Handicaps Reset After Every Year

No, handicaps do not reset every year. You do not have the luxury of an off-season to reset. The handicap you have on 31 December is the same handicap you will have in the new year.

What Is A Lapsed Handicap?

The USGA explains that when a handicap has lapsed, it has expired. Your handicap lapses in the US when you no longer belong to an affiliated club.

It appears the system of lapsed handicaps has been abolished in the United Kingdom. And not submitting three scorecards in a year only leads to an inactive handicap, preventing you from playing in affiliated competitions.

How Long Does It Take For A Golf Handicap To Expire?

Your handicap does not expire. However, in the UK, if you do not submit three scorecards in a calendar year. Your handicap will become inactive. You can reactivate it by submitting three cards.

In the United States, your handicap lapses once you are no longer a member of an affiliated club. If you decide to join a new club down the road, they will need to factor in your previous handicap when assigning you one.

How To Get A Handicap In The First Place?

Handicap requirements differ between clubs and unions. However, for the most part, they require you to submit your scores for three to five cards of 9 or 18-hole rounds. The club captain and secretary run the formula I provided above to determine your handicap. The scorecards provided are generally required to be no older than 6-months.

Once you receive your initial handicap, you will be required to enter the scores of every round that you play to keep it updated.

How Is A Handicap Used?

A handicap serves two purposes. The first is to help level the playing field between all amateurs. As an example, if you are a 20-handicap, there is no chance that your gross score will be in the realm of a 1-handicapper.

Therefore, in strokeplay tournaments. We focus on the net score to determine the victor.

As a 20-handicapper, if the par total is 72, and you shoot 87 gross, your net will work out to 67, which is 5-under par. If the 1-handicapper cards 72, they will card a 71-net. As a result, you win.

The second area is to help us calculate Stableford points. For example, if I am an 18-handicap, I stroke on every hole on the course. Therefore if I make a par on the stroke 18-hole, I bag 3-points.

However, the 1-handicapper will only receive 2-points because they don’t stroke that hole.

You can see that a handicap is employed to make golf fair and allow players of all skill levels to win.

Players Handicap Vs Course Handicap?

We have explained above what a player’s handicap is and how you work it out. However, what is a course handicap? The course rating impacts what handicap you will playoff for that round.

If the course plays easier, you may play off a lower handicap than usual. However, if it is more challenging, you may play off a higher handicap for the day.

To determine your course handicap, you can follow this formula:

Actual Handicap = (Adjusted Gross Score – rating of the course) X 113 / Course slope ratings

New Golf Handicap System Vs The Old One?

The biggest adjustment to the new handicap system is that it now includes players with a rating of 54. That means that those of you in this category can now officially play competitive events and stand a chance of winning.

Can You Transfer Your Handicap To Another Club?

Yes, you can transfer your handicap to another club, as long as they are affiliated with your national union. England Golf explains that you must notify your previous club so that they can alter your status.

What’s A CDH Golf Handicap And How To Check It?

The CDH stands for the Central Database of Handicaps. Every player in the UK is assigned a reference number to save them the hassle of producing their credentials when playing in tournaments at away venues.

Final Thoughts On Golf Handicap Expiration

There you have our review on do golf handicaps expire. As we have seen, they do not expire or reset each year. Restrictions only apply to your handicap when you are no longer a member of a club in the US. Or have not submitted three scorecards in a year in the UK.

The moral of the story is that you will maintain your handicap as long as you keep paying membership fees and submitting scorecards.