Handicap Transition FAQs

In January 2018, the GAM began using the USGA/GHIN software for Handicap calculation. Below are some FAQs about the GHIN system, reasons GAM is made this change, and what members can expect in terms of data transfer and function from the old to the new system. 


  • Why is the USGA changing its approach for administering golf at the local level?
    • The USGA has concluded that to improve the future growth and appeal of the game, the current approach to administering the USGA Handicap system should change.  In January 2018, the USGA will commence a new working collaboration with 59 state and regional golf associations (including the Golf Association of Michigan), which will be known as Allied Golf Associations (AGAs). These AGAs (each operating within a discrete geographic footprint) will support the administration and oversight of the USGA Handicap System, USGA Course Rating System, Rules of Golf, and Rules of Amateur Status, among their many important responsibilities to the game. The AGA will have broader governance responsibility in the administration of the Handicap System in effect, enhancing the integrity of the handicap at a local level.
  • What is the USGA/GHIN system?
    • Pronounced “Gin”, GHIN is short for Golf Handicap Information Network. 
    • The system was launched by the USGA in 1980 and today serves 85 different state and regional golf associations across the country.  It is estimated that 90%+ of golfers in the United States with a USGA Handicap Index have it computed on the USGA GHIN System. 
    • GHIN is a professionally developed and managed system that supports posting of golf scores to a golfer’s scoring record for calculation of an accurate and timely Handicap Index. The system provides a comprehensive range of supporting services for both the individual golfer and facility operator to help ensure key data is available for all concerned parties.
  • Will GAM members now have a GHIN number?
    • Yes, your GAM number has been replaced with a GHIN number. 
  • What if I already have a GHIN number in another state? 
    • If you already have a GHIN number through another state, that number will remain as your GHIN number and you will have that same number in both states. If you have two different numbers, please contact handicap@gam.org. 
  • Will I have to pay membership dues at the GAM and my other state association once GAM moves to GHIN? 
     Yes, you will have to pay the annual membership fee at all state/regional golf associations to which you belong. Membership in a state golf association includes many other benefits in addition to handicap service and membership dues cover all of those things.

  • Are there any changes we will notice with the USGA calculating Handicap Indexes?
    • The same formula will be used by the USGA/GHIN to calculate the Handicap Indexes that has been used in the past. Going forward, as the “World Handicap” evolves, there may be changes in the formula the USGA uses to calculate Handicap Indexes.
    • Scoring accuracy will be more important as any editing/deletion of scores will be done by a handicap administrator at the golfer’s home club. The golfer will not have the option to edit/delete their scores. Changes to a golfer’s posted score will not be reflected in a player’s scoring history and Handicap Index until the next scheduled Handicap Revision date. Additionally, a score posted after a revision date for a round played prior to the revision date will not be reflected in the player’s Official Handicap Index until the next revision date, although it will be reflected in the Trend Index.
    • The website presentation for score posting looks slightly different.
    • Given the predominant position of the USGA GHIN system across the country, GAM members will no longer require “linking” of their scoring record to out-of-state clubs using GHIN to ensure update of their GAM score record for scores posted at their out-of-state club.  Enter your score to your single GHIN system scoring record.
  • Will there be any change in pricing for 2018?
    • There will not be any change in pricing for the 2018 season.
  • Will this make me a member of the USGA?
    • This will NOT make you a USGA member. However, just as it is now, your Handicap Index will be an official USGA Handicap Index. 



General Handicapping FAQs

What if I need my handicap outside of the U.S.?
If you are playing outside the U.S. and need proof of your handicap here is a solution: 1. Copy and paste your handicap index card from gam.org into a Microsoft Word document.  2.  Print the document and cut off the unnecessary paper. 3. Attach the paper to your GAM Golf Card.

How can I post my winter scores from out of state?

You can post your out-of-state scores the same way that you post Michigan scores that are not from your home club. Set the AWAY tab search for the state where you played and look up the course from which you need to record your score. If your GAM club allows Internet posting, you can post your winter scores at any time throughout the year. 


How can I link my GAM handicap record with my handicap record from my out-of-state club?

If your out-of-state club uses the USGA/GHIN system for its handicapping service, you should already be linked; you should have the same GHIN number with GAM as with your out-of-state club. If you see that you have two different GHIN numbers, please contact handicap@gam.org. If your out-of-state club does not use the GHIN system, contact the GAM at handicap@gam.org and include the following information in your email: your name, the name of your GAM club, your GHIN number, the name of your out-of-state club, the state it is in, and what would be the equivalent of your handicap ID number from that club (i.e. your Handicomp number, Golf Net number, etc.). 


What if I belong to two different GAM clubs?

Your handicap records can be linked making you a “multi member.” This way, you won’t have to double post your scores. Wherever you post, your scores will flow into one single handicap record. Just contact the GAM at hanidcap@gam.org with your name, the name of the two clubs to which you belong, and your GHIN number. 


What if I make a mistake when I am posting my score?

 With the GHIN system, golfers may NOT edit or delete their own scores. Contact the handicap chairperson, club administrator, or the person at your club who manages handicaps to make the correction for you. 


How do I know when my scores will be updated and calculated into my official USGA / GAM index?

Official handicap revisions happen on the 1st and 15th of each month, 12 months a year.  

How many scores does it take to establish a USGA/GAM handicap index?
You must have at least 5 18-hole scores posted to establish a handicap index. Nine-hole scores that you post will combine with other 9-hole score
s and appear as
an 18-hole score.

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