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USGA Information

Northern Nevada Golf Association USGA Procedures and Policies for Handicap
New changes to the Handicaping system  click here

Rules of Golf updates

Rule change eliminates 'Dustin Johnson penalty' at Erin Hills for U.S. Open

Alec Lewis and Gary D’Amato Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Dustin Johnson won't have to worry about a penalty during the U.S. Open at Erin Hills this week like the one he incurred in the final round of the 2016 championship at Oakmont Country Club. The rule that affected Johnson and caused a controversy has since been altered. On Dec. 8, 2016 the United States Golf Association and the Royal & Ancient Golf Club enacted a local rule that eliminates penalties when the ball is accidentally moved on the putting green. It went into effect Jan 1, 2017 On the fifth hole of that Sunday round last year, Johnson's ball moved as his putter inched toward it. He immediately raised up. Did he cause the ball to move or did it move on its own? If the latter was the case, would he be charged the one-stroke penalty that Rule 18-2 then required? After conversation about the situation, referee Mark Newell instructed Johnson to play on with no penalty. But after officials watched a video review, they concluded Johnson had caused his ball to move. Six holes later, Johnson was informed that he had incurred a penalty stroke. Although he won the Open by three strokes, the moment was etched in the memories of many.

The NNGA as well as the USGA and PGA have adopted this new local rule for all compitions. 

When a player’s ball lies on the putting green, there is no penalty if the ball or ball-marker is accidentally moved by the player, his partner, his opponent, or any of their caddies or equipment.

The moved ball or ball-marker must be replaced as provided in Rules 18-2, 18-3 and 20-1.

This Local Rule applies only when the player’s ball or ball-marker lies on the putting green and any movement is accidental.

Note: If it is determined that a player’s ball on the putting green was moved as a result of wind, water or some other natural cause such as the effects of gravity, the ball must be played as it lies from its new location. A ball-marker moved in such circumstances is replaced.”





A fellow competitor after three putting grabbed a club and hit his ball into the desert. Is there a penalty?

His temper will cost him two strokes in stroke play or loss of hole in match play. Per rule 7-2 a player must not make a practice stroke during the play of a hole. Between the play of holes a player must not make a practice stroke, except that he may practice putting or chipping on or near:
a) the putting green of the hole last played,
b) any practice putting green, or
c) the teeing ground of the next hole to be played in the round, provided a practice stroke is not made from a hazard and does not unduly delay play under (Rule 6-7).
The committee may, in the conditions of a competition (Rule 33-1) prohibit:
a) practice on or near the putting green of the hole last played and
b) rolling a ball on the putting green of the hole last played.

Here is the new decision from the Lexi Thompson incedent

Under the new decision, called Decision 34-3/10, those running a tournament can limit the use of video when video reveals evidence that could not reasonably be seen with the “naked eye,” and when players use their “reasonable judgment” to determine a specific location when applying the rules.
Hole closed?  Temporary greens or tees in play?   Now what?   Answer here
Modernizing Golf's Rules  Click here for link to website explaining the proposed changes.
What to do when your ball damages the hole, like Russell Henley's approach shot.  Link here

New Local Rule takes effect Jan 1.
  (Note: this is a LOCAL rule and your club will need to adopt it first, it is not automatic.)
Link to USGA site for video and explanation.  Click Here
Check out the new rule in action at the WGC Dell Match Play
Link to Video Here

Definition of Terms

GHIN: "GHIN" is an acronym for Golf Handicap and Information Network. The NNGA contracts with GHIN, a handicap computer service designed by the USGA to compute USGA handicap indexes for its members. "Electronic Option" is where information is input, processed and maintained in a personal computer at the club, and data is transmitted to the US GA host computer at Far Hills by telephone line. In either case, the NNGA assist each club with its administration of the handicap system.

Adjusted Gross Score

"Adjusted Gross Score" is a player's Gross score minus any adjustment under Equitable Stroke Control. An adjusted gross score shall be used only for handicap purposes.

Equitable Stroke Control

ESC is the downward adjustment for handicap purposes of unusually high scores on individual holes. 


Usga Handicap Index

A "USGA handicap index" is a Number that represents the ability of a player on a course of average difficulty. It is expressed as a whole number plus a decimal fraction.

Course Handicap

The number of handicap strokes a player receives from a specific set of tees at the course being played. A Course Handicap is determined by applying the player's USGA Handicap Index to a Course Handicap Table or course handicap formula. It is expressed in whole numbers of strokes.


"USGA Slope Rating" is a measure of the relative playing difficulty of a course for players with handicap above and below scratch.

Maximum Handicap

The maximum USGA Handicap Index is 32.1 for men.

Golf Club

An organization of at lesat 10 individual memebrs with committees appointed to supervise golf activities and maintain the integrity of the USGA Handicap System. Its members musthave a resonable and regular opportunity to play golf with each other and be able to personall return scores or score cards for posting.


An individual who either belings to two or more clubs in this region or a club in a different region serviced by GHIN. The GHIN system allowsMultiple-Members, however all members must have one (1) GHIN number.

Handicap Committee

The committee of a club appointed to administer the USGA Handicap System. A majority of the handicap committee must be members of the club; club employees may serve on the handicap committee, but an employee may not serve as chairperson.

Scores to be Posted

9 or 18 hole scores can now be posted. If 13 or more holes areplayed, the player shall post an 18-hole score. If 7 to 12 holes are played, the player shall post a nine-hole score.

Unfinished Holes And Conceded Strokes

Adjusted gross scores in both match play and stroke play shall be posted for handicap purposes. If a player starts but does not complete a hole or is conceded a stroke, that player shall record for handicap purposes the score he most likely would have made. The most likely score consists fo the number of strokes already taken plus, in the player's best judgment, the number of strokes that the player would need to completethe hole from that position more than half the time. This number may not exceed the player's Equitable Stroke Control limit, defined in Section 4-3. This most likely score should be preceded by an "X".

Unacceptable Scores

Scores made under the following conditions are not acceptable for handicap purposes and shall not be entered in the player's scoring record:
  1. When fewer than seven holes are played;
  2. When made on a golf course in an area in which an inactive season established by the authorized golf association is in effect;
  3. When a majority of the holes are not played in accordance with the principles of the Rules of Golf;
  4. When the length of the course is less than 3,000 yards for 18 holes;
  5. Where, as a condition of competition, the maximum number of clubs allowed is less than 14, or types of clubs are limited as, for example, in a competition that allows only iron clubs;
  6. When scores are made on a course with no USGA Course or Slope Rating;
  7. When a player carries or uses non-conforming clubs or uses non-conforming balls;
  8. When articicial devices (as defined under Rule 14-3) are used during the execution of a stroke.

NNGA Inactive Season

The NNGA has declared the period from November 30 to March 15 to be inactive for posting any "Home" scores.

USGA Handicap Manual 6-2. Inactive Season:

The authorized golf association having jurisdiction in an area is responsible for declaring the duration of any inactive season. A golf club located within the area covered by an authorized golf association shall observe any inactive season established by the golf association, even if the club is not a member of the association.

Scores made at any golf course observing an inactive season are not acceptable for handicap purposes. Scores made at a golf course in an area observing an active season must be posted for handicap purposes, even if the golf club from which the player receives a Handicap Index is observing an inactive season. The club's Handicap Committee shall make it possible for a player to post these away scores at the beginning of the active season. If possible, the club should recompute the player's USGA Handicap Index at that time but no later than the first revision after these scores have been posted.

USGA Handicap Manual 8-3 Handicap Revisions:

A. Revision Schedule and Inactive Season

USGA Handicap Indexes for all golf clubs in a region shall be revised on the same date. Each authorized golf association shall establish the following for its region:
  1. A time schedule for revising USGA Handicap Indexes:
  2. The dates on which an inactive season starts and ends. These dates are distributed to all member clubs and non-member clubs in its region

Any club located within the region covered by an authorized golf association, but which is not a member of the association, shall observe therevision schedule and inactive season established by the association.

The NNGA reserves the right to adjust handicaps at any time to preserve the integrity of the event.

JUNIORS (under 18) may enter events with approval of the Executive Director and may enter the scratch division only.