While the USGA® develops the formula used in tabulating handicaps, it does not issue them directly to individual golfers. A USGA Handicap Index is issued through licensed golf clubs that follow all the procedures of the established USGA Handicap System™.
The USGA® defines a golf club as an organization of at least ten individual members that operates under bylaws with committees (including a Handicap Committee) to supervise golf activities, provide peer review, and maintain the integrity of the USGA Handicap System™ (See Compliance Checklist, Section 8-2m of the USGA Handicap System manual).
A golf club must be licensed by the USGA to utilize the USGA Handicap System. A club can obtain a license agreement (see Appendix F, USGA Handicap System manual) directly from the USGA or through its membership in an authorized golf association that is already licensed by the USGA and that has jurisdiction in the geographic area that includes the principal location of the club. For more information on finding a golf club or forming your own golf club, please go to "Getting a USGA Handicap Index."
Once a player joins a golf club, the player should post adjusted gross scores. When the player posts five adjusted gross scores, and a revision date passes, the club will issue the player a Handicap Index. To determine your area’s revision schedule, please refer to our Authorized Golf Association Revision Schedule.
Please visit Section 3-1 of the USGA Handicap System manual for further reference.