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The Dreaded “R” – Handicap Index Reduction or Sandbagger?



The definition of a “reduced handicap index”, ex: 18.2R, is when a golfer has a minimum of two eligible tournament score differentials that are exceptional, at least 3.0 better than the golfer’s handicap index.

The definition of a “sandbagger” is one who misleads others about his/her ability level, claiming to be worse than he/she actually is.

If you have a “reduced handicap index” does that make you a “sandbagger”?  The answer is “no”; it simply means that you have demonstrated a scoring potential that is better than your current handicap index.  

In the definition of a “reduced handicap index”, we mention “eligible tournament score”; this is a tournament score posted either within the last 12 months or is in the golfer’s current 20-score history.  Some examples of competition scores designated as “tournament scores” are: member-guest, team matches, club championships, Stableford, etc.

Your club’s Handicap Committee is responsible for reviewing all “handicap index reductions” at every handicap index revision.  As a result of the review, the Handicap Committee may continue to allow the reduction to run its normal course, further reduce the reduction, override the reduction entirely, or adjust the amount of the reduction.

If you have additional questions regarding a “handicap index reduction”, please feel free to contact the WSGA Membership Services Department at 1-800-643-6410, option 1.


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