The rules of golf consist of a standard set of regulations and procedures by which the sport of golf should be played. They are jointly written and administered by The R&A (spun off from The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews in 2004) and the United States Golf Association (USGA). The R&A is the governing body of golf worldwide except in the United States and Mexico, which are the responsibility of the USGA. The rule book, entitled Rules of Golf, is updated and published on a regular basis and also includes rules governing amateur status.




The USGA was originally formed in 1894 to resolve the question of a national amateur championship. Earlier that year, the Newport Country Club and Saint Andrew’s Golf ClubYonkers, New York, both declared the winners of their tournaments the “national amateur champion.” That autumn, delegates from Newport, St. Andrew’s, The Country ClubChicago Golf Club, and Shinnecock Hills Golf Club met in New York City to form a national governing body, which would administer the championship and also the Rules of Golf for the country. On December 22, 1894, the Amateur Golf Association of the United States was officially formed, and was shortly thereafter renamed the “United States Golf Association”. Theodore Havemeyer was the first president, and the U.S. Amateur trophy is named in his honor.


As someone who’s just begun to pick interest in golf, you’ll often hear the terms “handicap” and “handicap index.” Many golf followers fall into the trap of using both words interchangeably, but they are technically different, especially when you look at how they are awarded. If you are keen on knowing the difference between the two, here’s an article that explains everything you should know.

So what’s the difference between a golf handicap and an index? The main difference between a golf handicap and an index is that a handicap index is the official rating of a golfer’s handicap, while a handicap is a generic term used by golfers to refer to their average score in relation to par.

A handicap generally refers to a numerical measure of a golfer’s potential playing ability, based on the number of tees they are able to play from in a given course. On the other hand, a handicap index refers to only the handicaps established through the auspices of the USGA handicap system.

Anyone can claim any handicap. Ask a golfer what their handicap is, and you’ll hear them call numbers like fourteen. This typically means that the golfer’s final score is usually 14 strokes over par. Handicaps are kept by golfers who don’t want to or can’t join a golf club.

Golf Handicap Index


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