First of all, before discussing the big question, how to get a golf handicap without joining a club, we must look at what exactly is a golf handicap. Because it is important for the players who have just started out as beginners to know what this term actually means – let us clear the perceptions around this term. A golf handicap is something that has to do with the players’ abilities and golfing skills.
Being depicted through a numerical value, a golf handicap simply displays how good the player is – in terms of skill level. Also, the golf handicap values are used by the golfing authorities to group the players for fairer competition between them. So, it is like a particular group of players with a certain golf handicap value will compete with each other – just like the weight categories in wrestling.
Currently, there are about six different handicap systems that are followed throughout the globe. To avoid the differences between these and bring consistency – an official handicap system was introduced – the World Handicap System. The implementation of the WHS was done to bring uniformity in the handicap system – ensuring fairer competitions around the world.
Having a golf handicap is very important for any golfer. This enables the players to have clarity upon their current progress and gives them a transparent picture of the aspects they are needed to work upon. As beginners or amateurs, if these players pay good heed to their golf handicap values, then they can analyze their game in a much more efficient manner.
So, if you still do not have a golf handicap then get it done. As we have come to the point where we have understood the importance of a golf handicap, we shall take up the main question of how to get a golf handicap without joining a club.
The biggest and the most sought after concerned authority for providing the golf handicap is the United States Golf Association (USGA). As a golfer, it holds the utmost value when you have a golf handicap given by the USGA – because it is looked upon as a barometer of authenticity.
Also, if you want to compete in the local tournaments and golfing leagues, one thing which acts as a qualifier for entry is the golf handicap, and if it is through the United States Golf Association then nothing like that! So, it is obvious that if you are associated with some club then you must have a golf handicap for sure. But here, we will talk about the players who do not belong to any club and still seek to have their golf handicap.
Yes, it is possible! Not just possible but with ease as well. There are a plethora of options for you to get your golf handicap without having a club by your side. Now, let us look at the steps for you to apply for the handicap – all in your comfort. But before going into the steps, we will show you the Section 2 of the USGA Handicap System – this will give you the knowledge about how the USGA perceives the definition of a golf club.
Section 2 of the United States Golf Association Handicap System
A “golf club” is an organization of at least ten individual members that operates under bylaws with committees (especially a Handicap Committee) to supervise golf activities, provide peer review, and maintain the integrity of the USGA Handicap System. A golf club must be authorized by the USGA to utilize the USGA Handicap System. A club can obtain authorization directly from the USGA or in conjunction with its membership in an authorized golf association that is already authorized by the USGA and that has jurisdiction in the geographic area that includes the principal location of the golf club.
Having looked at what exactly a golf club is by the rules laid by the USGA, we will now jump to the ways of getting a handicap with you not needing to join a golf club. Let us begin!
The Type 1 Club – Register for a Public Course
Registering with a Type 1 Club (as defined by the USGA) is an option that enables the players to get their handicap through signing for a public course. This option emerges out to be very handy – all you need to do is find a course and get enrolled. The overall cost that may include in this process would range between $25 and $50.
Be a part of any league
This option may be a bit costlier but it is much less than joining a private club. But one thing is important to keep in mind while selecting the league you are looking forward to joining – is this league associated or undertaken by the United States Golf Association? Of course, the maximum of the golf leagues will have their handicapping provisions, but the handicap you receive by them may or may not get accepted by the ones who are recognized by the USGA or R&A.
The expense involved in this process would be over $100 – depending upon the individual leagues and their fees.
Sign up for the Type 3 Club
The USGA has provided some online solutions for the purpose of handicapping. This is a good and convenient option in getting your handicap at your comfort. Let us look at what exactly is a Type 3 Club – as defined by the USGA itself:
The members of a Type 3 club had no prior affiliation, and a majority of the recruiting and sign up of the membership is done by solicitation to the public (e.g., newspaper, Internet) and where the members do not exhibit any regularity of play at any specific golf course. The residence or business address of each member of the golf club must generally be within approximately 50 miles of the principal location of the golf club.
As mentioned in the earlier point, it is not important for a club to be an actual course. This online convenience is meant to aid the golfers who can register with these Type 3 Clubs and get their handicap process done. This process may make you pay between $25 to $50 annually.
Now, we will look at an option that costs nothing! Have a glance at it!
The Online Golf Handicap
As this option might excite you for not involving any monetary angle, it should be noted that the handicap received online is generally not an official one. So, doesn’t it have any importance and usage? Yes, it does! Considering the players who have just started out and are looking forward to tracking their handicap value to mark the progress, this no-cost option will assist them a long way!
Obviously, the tournaments and leagues would not recognize these to be official and you may not be eligible to enter them – but if entering the competition is not the purpose and only gauging the improvement is, then you must go for this one!
This option is better for the beginners as they would not be left bereft of knowing their golf handicap value. Beginners are looking to enhance their games and not actually entering a competition. So, this option being free, it must be considered by them and make the most of it.
Always track the golf handicap
No matter which option you adhere to in getting your golf handicap, it would not make any sense if you are not keeping a track of it and constantly analyzing it. A handicap must be used for the players to track their progress and see where they stand! This would help the players in keeping a close eye on their performances and ultimately find out the areas in which they lack; figuring out the aspects that have the scope of improvement is very crucial for any player, and for this sole purpose, getting a handicap gets important.
Many golf beginners think that for getting a handicap, one must have a membership with a private golf club – this was true many years back but now the scenario is changed. There are certainly many ways a golfer can now get his/her handicap – though some might not be official and have to be used for the purpose of tracking their performance and skill levels only.
We talked about the various ways one can get the golf handicap, including the cost as well. Though it is recommended for beginners to spend less and just concentrate on improving the game – but this does not mean to overlook the handicap. Only through the handicap, a player will be able to measure the improvements that have been brought to his/her game. And once you are sure about the skills and abilities that have been developed, you can go for the official handicap. Getting an official one would help you in entering the recognized leagues and competitions.
So, go stepwise and escalate your game with calculated proceedings. The handicap can wait but your improvements in the game cannot.