Handicapping – Is a Handicap Valid When Leaving a Golf Club?

Is a Handicap Valid When Leaving a Golf Club?

Another recent enquiry, concerning handicaps was:

A. If you have entered the required competitions to have an active handicap at the end of 2018 but do not join a club in 2019 is your handicap valid. There is a difference of opinion at our club- some say it would be valid for 12months and some say once you are no longer a member of a club your handicap is no longer valid. Your answer please.

A. It is a confusing situation for many because although CONGU state that as soon as you leave an affiliated Golf Club you lose your Handicap, they do state that if you re-join your club or another club within a twelve-month period your handicap can be re-instated at your previous level and if it held ‘c’ status then this is valid for the remainder of the year in which you left/resigned and the following full calendar year.

So, if you leave your club your handicap is lost immediately you leave, and this will effectively prevent you from playing in any handicap competitions/events.

Although having lost your handicap, if it was competitive (‘c’) when you left or resigned, the ‘c’ status remains valid for the remainder of the calendar year of resignation/leaving and for the full following calendar year.

The relevant clauses from the CONGU Unified Handicap System Manual are:

CONGU Clause 24.7.

24.7 A player’s handicap is lost immediately s/he ceases to be a Member of an Affiliated Club or loses her/his amateur status.

CONGU Clause 26.1.

26.1 A CONGU® Handicap is lost when a player ceases to be a Member of an Affiliated Club. When a player resigns from a club and joins another there is often a time interval between the two memberships. If the handicap of a player is to be restored within twelve months of the date on which his handicap was lost, or suspended, it must be reinstated at the same handicap the player last held. In restoring the handicap of a player whose ‘c’ status handicap has been lost in such circumstances that ‘c’ status shall remain valid for the remainder of the calendar year of resignation and for the full following calendar year. In all other cases the player shall be allotted a new handicap after he has complied with the requirements of Clause 16.

When a player has transferred to a new club within the same jurisdiction that player’s CDH number transfers with him. Clubs must obtain that number from the player (even if there has been a period of time when the player was not a Member of either club) and must follow the guidance of the software provider(s) to ensure that the CDH number is transferred correctly. In Ireland, a player transferring to a new club obtains a new CDH number.

26.2 When restoring a handicap which has been lost or suspended for more than twelve months the Handicap Committee, in addition to proceeding as required by Clause 16, must give due and full consideration to the handicap the player last held (see Clause 16.3). A Category 1 handicap must not be allotted without the approval of the Union or Area Authority if so delegated.

England and Ireland delegate responsibility for approval of Category 1 restorations to their Area Authorities. `Scotland and Wales make no delegation under this clause.

If you have held a CONGU handicap and CDH number, that CDH ID number and handicap goes with you (in Ireland each club will issue a new CDH ID number), so make sure that the handicap secretary of the club you are leaving has removed you from that club’s database. It is your responsibility, when re-joining your club or joining another club, to provide information on your previous golf experience and handicap. Similarly, it is a responsibility of the club to request that information. All handicaps remain in place for the calendar year after the player attained it.

Otherwise a minimum 3 cards must be submitted. The committee must take your original handicap into account when allocating your new one.

Enjoy your Golf,


Email: tony@my-golf.uk

Rules Blog: www.my-golf.uk

4 Replies to “Handicapping – Is a Handicap Valid When Leaving a Golf Club?”

  1. Under the new rules I have been cut 2.4 shots,,,I am thinking of leaving as I believe this is too much, how long do I have to wait before I can play 3 cards to get what I believe is my true handicap.

    1. Two points re your Allocated Handicap Index

        1. You can immediately request a Handicap Index Review by your Handicap Committee
        2. Because you already have a Handicap Index allocated to you, you do not have to submit 3 cards, this is only required for initial Handicap Index Allocation.
        All you need to do is pre-register General Play rounds of either 9- or 18-holes, so that they will count for handicap index purposes.
        Your Club will have a procedure in place for pre-registration of these rounds, which are similar to the old ‘Supplementary Scores’

      So go out and get those General Play rounds in.
      Every round you submit will immediately count towards your Handicap Index Calculation and perform adjustments when necessary.

  2. My old club has closed all memberships and I moved to a new club but did not pay the OPGC – WGL/EGL fees. Does my handicap still apply? Can I participate in competitions?

    1. Hello Robert

      Many thanks query

      My understanding is that it is the Golf Club that is affiliated to the particular organisation and payment of affiliation fees to your National and Regional Organisations is the responsibility of your Club
      and it will be included in your subscription fees. It is in the Clubs interest to pay the affiliation fees because if they do not pay them the Club loses its course rating and ability to issue handicaps.

      This is especially true in England, which is the only country I have knowledge of

      The fees are paid by the Club based on a per capita payment of the total number of active members in the Club in the previous year

      So the organisations will have asked your club for payment according to the number of members registered in the club in 2019

      If you joined the Club this year, then you will have paid your affiliation fee to your new Club, but they will not pay it to the various organisations until 2021

      Because the Club is still affiliated to the National and Regional Associations then your handicap is safe and you can play in competitions, providing it is a Competition Handicap

      You will of course have to ask your club how the fees are paid, just to ensure that you do not have to pay them personally, because if the affiliation fees are not paid then you do lose your handicap

      Hope this helps,

      Enjoy your golf and stay safe and play safe


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