Equitable score control

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Equitable Stroke/Score Control is a method of recording scores used to calculate a golf handicap. Its purpose is to avoid recording a very high score on an individual hole which might inflate the handicap calculation. Equitable stroke control is a sliding scale system, based on the difficulty of the course and the current handicap of the golfer.

Each rated course should post a calculation of the player's course handicap. Course handicaps are always rounded to whole numbers, and reflect the difficulty of the course relative to an average course. For example, an individual with a handicap of 5.9 playing on a difficult course might have a course handicap of 8. Playing on a much easier course, the course handicap might be 5.

United States Golf Association[edit]

USGA Table[1] Once the golfer checks his or her course handicap, equitable scoring follows the rules:

Course Handicap Maximum Score per Hole
up to 9 Double Bogey
10 through 19 7
20 through 29 8
30 through 39 9
40 or higher 10

For example, if a golfer has a course handicap of 8, shoots a score of 83, but that score includes a six on a par 3 (a triple bogey) then the posted score should be only 82. However, if a golfer with a course handicap of 11 had the same score, the proper score to post is 83.

Note: In other countries, the system of ESC may be different from the USGA system, (e.g., the RCGA system). When a score is made under a system of ESC different from the USGA ESC system, that score must be adjusted to the USGA ESC system before it is entered as an adjusted gross score under the USGA Handicap System.

Royal Canadian Golf Association[edit]

As of March 1, 2013, the Royal Canadian Golf Association adopted the same rules as the USGA. Accordingly, the following information should be updated.

RCGA Handicap Manual

Within the RCGA Handicap calculation process, the ESC is implemented as a limit to the number of strokes "above par" for determining a players handicap. This limit will define the maximum per-hole, based on the par score for the hole, rather than providing the same maximum score for all holes on a course.

The ESC for a player is determined on per "course handicap" basis as calculated for each player, and results in the following ESC values:

Course Handicap Maximum Number on any Hole
0 or + 1 over par
1 through 18 2 over par
19 through 32 3 over par
33 and over 4 over par


  1. ^ http://www.usga.org/handicapping/articles_resources/USGA-Position-Paper-on-the-Equitable-Stroke-Control-Procedure