A score is acceptable for handicap purposes if it meets all the provisions set out within Rule 2 of the Rules of Handicapping. These provisions include that the round must be:
- In an authorized format of play over 9 holes for a 9 hole score or at least 10 holes for an 18 hole score. Authorized formats are individual stroke play (medal), stableford, par/bogey, gross score (scratch) and maximum score.
- In the company of at least one other person, who acts as a marker.
- Played by the Rules of Golf.
- On a golf course with a current Course Rating and Slope Rating, where length and normal playing difficulty is maintained at a consistent level.
- Players pre-register on the day in a manner prescribed by the Committee.
Acceptable Scores when Winter Rules are in place
The following guidance is provided by CONGU:
GDef/1: Active and Inactive Seasons
Golf should be played throughout the year, although for many clubs the course setup may mean that in winter scores will not be acceptable for handicap purposes. However, it is expected that all clubs will endeavour to encourage players to return Acceptable Scores throughout the year where possible.
G2.1/3 Temporary Greens or Tees
Scores are acceptable for handicapping purposes if:
- No more than two temporary greens are in play for an 18 hole round
- Only one temporary green is in play for a 9 hole round.
Temporary or alternative tees are acceptable for handicapping purposes but whenever the length of the course has been increased or decreased by virtue of the use of temporary greens and/or tees by more than 100 yards for an 18 hole round or 50 yards for a 9 hole round, the adjustments to the Course Rating and Slope Rating set out in Appendix G of the Rules of Handicapping must be applied.
GH/3 Artificially Surfaced Tees
Acceptable Scores may be returned when artificially surfaced tees are in use provided the artificial tees are located at positions that relate to a Measured Course. Although artificially surfaced tees do not generally satisfy the two club-lengths in depth requirement in the Rules of Golf definition of a teeing ground, in such circumstances it is considered that the spirit of the Rule is being honoured and that Acceptable Scores can be returned both in Competitions and General Play.
GH/1 Preferred Lies
Scores returned when preferred lies are in operation will be valid as Acceptable Scores only when a Local Rule has been made and published in accordance with Rules of Golf Model Local Rule E3.
GH/4 Local Rule for Lift, Clean and Replace
Acceptable Scores are permitted when the Local Rule (Model Local rule E2) allowing cleaning of the ball in the General Area is in place.