2020 MPSGA Handicap Policy




The MPSGA takes its responsibility to create a fair and equitable playing environment very seriously.

Starting in 2015, in an effort to strengthen our handicapping system, we worked with our tournament management providers to obtain MPSGA “competition-only” scores to calculate our member’s tournament indices.  These calculations may include other “non-MPSGA competition” scores that may become available from GAM/GHIN. The resulting “tournament index” will be used to calculate course handicaps for MPSGA tournaments. This approach provides us with accurate, verifiable and Maximum Hole Score

adjusted results that serve as the foundation for our handicapping system. Consultation with USGA

representatives and other handicap professionals confirmed this to be the preferred approach. MPSGA

tournament scores will continue to be posted in GAM/GHIN and will be calculated with non-tournament scores to calculate a player’s USGA index. Based upon their golf competition performance, some players may have a higher or lower MPSGA tournament index as compared with their overall USGA index. Special attention will be given when calculating tournament indices for players who have a limited number of competition scores within the database.


It is important to remember that a player's handicap index does not predict a player's average score but is a measurement of a player's "potential” scoring ability. Statistically, a player will play to their handicap only 20-25% of the time (one out of every 4 or 5 rounds). Most of the time a player will not play to his potential and will score 2-4 strokes higher than their target score (course handicap + course rating of the tees being played = target score.  Example: Course Handicap of 15 + Course Rating of 69.8 = 85 Target Score.


Player’s Responsibility:


In 2015, the MPSGA began posting all MPSGA tournament scores directly into the GAM/GHIN handicap system. Consequently, members should not post MPSGA Tournament scores into GAM/GHIN. It is still the responsibility of each MPSGA member, however, to post his non-tournament scores into the GAM/GHIN web site on a timely basis using the Maximum Hole Score process. The use of smart phones and other mobile devices makes this more convenient.


New Golf Association of Michigan (GAM) Members:


Upon gaining membership into the MPSGA, each member will receive instructions on how to post scores to the GAM/GHIN web site. Generally, once you have logged on, you simply need to follow the prompts. If you have any questions or issues, please contact the GAM membership department (248-478-9242).



Players Still Developing a USGA Index:


The MPSGA will follow the USGA handicap guidelines to set handicaps for players who are still developing a tournament index.


Posting Golf Scores to GAM/GHIN:


Remember, MPSGA Tournament scores will now be automatically posted to GAM/GHIN. When posting your other scores, we strongly recommend you use the “Hole by Hole” score entry option. All non-tournament scores should be posted by the player with the following parameters:

1.     Changes to the USGA Handicap System in 2016 indicate that scores made while playing alone will no longer be acceptable for handicap purposes. Therefore, scores made while playing alone should not be posted

2.     Post all non-tournament rounds as "Away" scores (GAM/GHIN will note it as an “A”). Do not post "Scramble" rounds unless you are playing your own ball on every hole. Post all scores, even if playing under a local rule of "preferred lies." Note: GAM "Golf Day" rounds are considered by GAM as Non-Tournament rounds. Therefore, you must post these scores as such.

3.     Post all 9-Hole or 18-Hole League scores and adjust with Maximum Hole Score unless you use the “Hole by Hole” option

4.     Use the Maximum Hole Score when posting all scores (defined in the Handicap Policy above). If you have any doubt about how to make these adjustments, contact Brian Kuehn (bkuehn1952@comcast.net) or another member of the Handicap Committee.


Potential Adjustments:


The Handicap Committee has the responsibility and authority to adjust a handicap index, assign a player a higher or lower tournament handicap or assign a player to an alternate tournament flight under any

circumstance that it believes necessary to do so. For new players, if the handicap data provided to MPSGA proves to be inaccurate based on initial tournament scores, their handicap index may be adjusted retroactively to reflect these scores.


Knuth Tournament Point System:


In 2015, the MPSGA Handicap Committee implemented the Knuth Tournament Point System (KTPS).

This system was developed by Dean Knuth, past Senior Director of Handicapping for the USGA and is

presently being used by over 1,000 clubs and golf associations in order to make their tournaments fair and equitable for all players.


With input from Mr. Knuth and from other golf organizations of similar size, the MPSGA handicap

committee with support from the Board of Directors agreed in 2017 to adopt a modified format of the KTPS for 2017 and subsequent years. In this revised system, the top 3 net finishers, including ties, in every flight will accrue points: 3 for 1st, 2 for 2nd, 1 for 3rd in all individual stroke tournaments. Based upon the points accrued and the number of tournaments played, a member's tournament index may indicate a reduction. (The USGA Handicap Index is not changed.) The system will examine MPSGA tournament scores reported annually and all points and the number of tournaments played will revert to zero at the beginning of each new season. If a player receives a handicap index reduction, it will stay in place until the number of points and/or the number of tournaments played changes, based upon the table listed below.





Total Points Earned

Handicap Reduction

8 or Less Tournaments

9 to 15 Tournaments

16 to 22 Tournaments

23-29 Tournaments


































The MPSGA Handicap Committee will make every effort to post a table on the MPSGA Website consisting of member tournaments played, points accumulated and handicap reductions where applicable prior to each tournament. If a member believes information in the table to be incorrect, they may request a review by the MPSGA Handicap Committee. This request may be made by sending an e-mail to the chairman of the MPSGA Handicap Committee Brian Kuehn (bkuehn1952@comcast.net) and by providing any information pertinent to the situation for the Committee’s review. The Committee will generally provide a final decision to the player within a few days of receipt of the request for review. If it is determined that inaccuracies are present, tournament indices will be adjusted accordingly.


MPSGA Tournament Handicap/Playing Handicap


Most of our members will note that their Tournament Handicap for our tournaments is lower than what they might expect.  The USGA introduced a process that will tend to lower all our Tournament Handicaps.  The adjustment takes the Course Rating and compares it to the Course Par.  Using Member Z and Pontiac Country Club again as an example, the Course Rating for the “White” tees is 69.3.  The Par is 72.  69.3 - 72 = -2.7. When Member Z plays a Tournament, his Handicap is adjusted downward as follows:


18.874 + (-2.7) = 16.174 or rounded to 16.


It is important to remember that everyone playing in our Tournaments has the same set of adjustments made.  If your handicap is reduced from 19 to 16, your buddy’s handicap was also adjusted downward.


Maximum Hole Score (formerly ESC/Equitable Stroke Control):


Maximum Hole Score keeps an exceptionally bad hole from inappropriately changing a handicap index

and sets a maximum net score that a player can post on any hole based on the player's course handicap.  The Maximum Hole Score for all golfers, regardless of handicap, is “Net Double Bogey.”


The first thing one needs to know is your Course Handicap for the course you are playing.  The GAM website has a Course Handicap calculator or one may calculate the number using the following formula: Handicap Index x (Course Tee Slope Rating / 113) = Course Handicap (round up or down)


Example:  Member Z has a 17.2 GAM/GHIN index on June 27.  He plays Pontiac Country Club from the “White” tees.  The slope rating for the “White” tees is 124.  His Course Handicap is 17.2 x (124/113) = 18.874 rounded to 19.


Member Z now understands that he gets a handicap stroke on each hole except for hole #9, which is rated the number 1 handicap hole.  On #9 he gets 2 handicap strokes.  When Member Z posts his score to GAM/GHIN, his Maximum Hole Score is “Net Double Bogey.”  For example, on hole #2, a par 3, he makes 7 on the hole.  When he posts his score to GAM/GHIN, he posts a “5” for hole #2.  Why?  His actual score was 7.  Deducting his 1 handicap stroke, his net score is 6 or a Net Triple Bogey.  Since the Maximum Hole Score is Net Double Bogey, he must report 5 as his score. 


Complicated?  Yes!!  That is why we recommend that everyone posts to GAM/GHIN using the “Hole by Hole” option as opposed to total score.  If one uses the “Hole by Hole” option, the GHIN system will automatically make the Maximum Hole Score calculation for you.


If you have any concern about how to make these adjustments, contact Brian Kuehn (bkuehn1952@comcast.net) or another member of the Handicap Committee.





The purpose of the MPSGA Tournament Handicap System and the Knuth Tournament Point System is to

make the game of golf enjoyable by enabling players of differing abilities to compete on an equitable basis. Additional information on the USGA handicap system can be found at the web site, www.usga.org

Information on the Knuth Tournament Point System can be found at the web site, www.popeofslope.com