Handicap Transition FAQs
In January 2018, the GAM will begin using the USGA/GHIN software for Handicap calculation. Below are some FAQs about the GHIN system, reasons GAM is making this change, and what members can expect in terms of data transfer 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.
- What/how long is the transition process?
- The 2-3 month process of getting all of the GAM data changed from our current software provider to the USGA’s current GHIN system will be completed in January 2018.
- You will be able to post scores via the current system through the end of December, 2017.
- You will be able to post scores through GHIN in January.
- Will GAM members now have a GHIN number?
- Yes, at this point the USGA has indicated that GAM members will have GHIN numbers which will replace their existing GAM numbers.
- 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 not already had your GHIN and GAM handicap records linked, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org before Dec. 15, 2017 to do so.
- 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.
- When will GAM members receive their GHIN number?
- GAM members will be assigned their GHIN numbers in January.
- Will this change impact handicapping services at any point during the transition?
- There may be a short period of time when members will not be able to post scores in order to allow handicap data to be transferred from the old system to the GHIN system. There should not be any major disruption of handicap services at any point of the transition.
- During the down time, which we expect to be brief, save your scorecards so that you may post your scores once the new system goes live.
- Will I lose any data/score history in this transition?
- It is our intention to transfer scoring histories in their entirety. However, given the massive data transfer involved it is possible there may be some glitches which we will seek to address in a timely fashion.
- 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.
- However, 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 will look 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 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?
Contact the GAM at email@example.com and include the following information in your email: your name, the name of your GAM club, your GAM number, the name of your other club, the state it is in, and what would be the equivalent of your GAM number from that club (i.e. your GHIN 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 firstname.lastname@example.org with your name, the name of the two clubs to which you belong, and your GAM number or numbers.
What if I make a mistake when I am posting my score?
You will see an “edit” button next to your post score which will remain there until the next scheduled revision date. You can click that button and make corrections to your posting. Once the edit button disappears, you must contact the handicap chairman or professional at your home club to make the changes.
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.
What does the "L" mean next to my trend handicap?
The "L" stands for "local" and just means that is not your official handicap index but is showing your trend index -- or what your index would be if a revision was done today. This allows you to see how your handicap might change during the next upcoming revision.
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 scores and appear as an 18-hole score.