This month we take a look at penalty scores—how they are calculated, when they are issued and why they are an important part of the handicap calculation system.
Understanding Penalty Scores
What are penalty scores?
The Handicap System hinges on two basic premises: that you will try to make the best score at every hole in every round, regardless of where the round is played; and that you will post every acceptable round for peer review.
Penalty scores are imposed when players fail to enter their score within the prescribed time limit.
When are penalty scores issued?
Penalty scores are added if you fail to enter a score within the 72-hour window period allowed for score entry, which starts from the time your round is completed. A penalty will be given as soon as your late score is entered into the system.
This is done to ensure all handicaps are up to date and to stop people from delaying score entry, particularly if they are exceptional scores.
How is a penalty score calculated?
A penalty score is the lowest differential of the player’s last 20 recorded scores added to the Standard Rating of the course played. Where the late-entered score is equal to or lower than the player’s lowest of their last 20 differentials, the system will allocate 1 penalty stroke for handicaps below 4, and 20% of the player’s handicap for handicaps above 4, to a maximum of 4 strokes.
How long will a penalty score be considered in your handicap calculation?
A penalty score will be considered in your handicap calculation until it falls out of your most recent 20 scores.
Is it possible to remove a penalty score?
In certain scenarios, yes. If you feel that you have received a penalty score unfairly (it might not have been possible for you to enter a score in good time, for example), please get touch with your home club, who will look into the matter, assess the validity of the request and remove it if necessary.
Please note that the onus is on the player to check that their correct scores have been recorded successfully. They can do this easily, by visiting their 'Handicap Record Sheet'. If a score doesn't show here, then it hasn't been entered successfully and it will have to be resubmitted.
Can my club enter my score for me?
Yes, the club (or the club’s handicap committee) can intervene in the score capturing process. For example, if you have mistakenly entered the wrong score, the club can correct the error using the back-end system.
Similarly, the club will be able to enter your score should you fail to do so – although the penalty score for late entry would still apply.
Note: repeat infringements are likely to be flagged by the club and could lead to disciplinary action.
Do you have any handicap questions?
For all handicap- or score entry-related queries, please visit our Frequently Asked Questions page.
Quote of the Month
'A shot that goes in the cup is pure luck, but a shot to within two feet of the flag is skill.' ~ Ben Hogan