By setting a maximum score on each hole for handicap purposes, the new Rules of Handicapping will ensure that the occasional bad hole does not impact a Handicap Index too severely or prevent otherwise good scores from being used in the Handicap Index calculation. This, in turn, will help to ensure that a player’s Handicap Index should always reflect their demonstrated ability.
Net Double Bogey Rule (Equitable Stroke Control)
The maximum score for each hole played is limited to a net double bogey – which is equal to Par of the hole + 2 strokes (double bogey) + any handicap strokes the player is entitled to receive on that hole based on their Course Handicap.
For example, a player with a Course Handicap of 12 is entitled to one additional stroke on holes allocated with stroke index 1 through 12 on the scorecard. On a par 4 hole, with a Stroke Index of 10, the player’s maximum score would be 4 (par) + 2 (double bogey) + 1 (stroke received) = 7.
When the format of play allows, players are encouraged to pick up at their maximum hole score to keep up a good pace. For competitions, the adjustment is applied after the round. This means that the score posted for the competition and the score submitted for handicap purposes could be different.
The Net Double Bogey adjustment prevents high individual hole scores from inflating a player’s Handicap Index and promotes fair play when golfers of various abilities enjoy a round of golf together.