Until the current licensing period ends:





Handicap Licensing

All golf clubs that completed the Licensing program requirements by December 31, 2015 will remain licensed through 2017. In 2016 the USGA Handicap department will be introducing and implementing a new club compliance and education assessment that will be required for all golf clubs. This assessment will be an annual requirement and will be administered electronically through the authorized golf associations and the USGA. The assessment will aid the authorized golf associations to identify clubs in its geographic jurisdiction that may need additional assistance regarding the USGA Handicap System.
In addition, any new golf clubs in for 2016-2017 will be required to satisfy the handicap seminar participation and passing of the open-book quiz either online at or through its authorized golf association’s education program. This will allow authorized golf associations who will be asked to give attention and collaborate in other areas to spend more time on those efforts, and to prepare for the 2018 Handicap System implementation.

The USGA and the CGA list all licensed clubs in the Carolinas. These obligations exist for all Carolinas clubs that offer handicap services to members.

Search USGA Licensed Club Database

Licensing Process

The USGA licensing program is an assurance from each club to the USGA that it complies with essential handicap requirements. CGA member clubs return this agreement to the CGA rather than to the USGA.

The certification program described above is one of 17 requirements.

Some of the handicap requirements are covered for member clubs by the CGA and GHIN. However, all clubs that offer handicaps are required to sign the licensing agreement and return it. After signing, a club will be listed on the USGA website as a club that is licensed to provide USGA handicaps.

The USGA also has begun a club handicap audit program. The USGA handicap department will audit golf clubs throughout the U.S. to determine if each is following handicap guidelines.

After the USGA performs this IRS-like audit, they will notify the club and the CGA if it is deficient in following specific guidelines. If a club is found deficient in some areas and does not cure its problems within a prescribed time frame, then the USGA will drop the club from its list of authorized golf clubs. This would mean that the club cannot use the USGA handicap system or call their handicaps USGA or CGA handicaps.

The USGA will randomly select up to three clubs in each state to audit.


Licensing Q&A with the USGA

>> Why did the USGA create the club licensing program?

To ensure that all golf clubs in the U.S. comply with the USGA Handicap System. Each club must meet the requirements of the compliance checklist before being authorized to issue USGA Handicap Indexes. If a club does not comply with any aspect of the system, then it will not be authorized to issue USGA Handicap Indexes to its members.

>> Who is eligible to participate in the club licensing program?

The program is required of all clubs in the U.S. that wish to issue USGA Handicap Indexes to members. If a club is a member of the authorized golf association in its area (such as the CGA), then it must sign such an agreement with the authorized golf association.

>> How does an individual know if a club is authorized by the USGA?

Once a club is approved, the USGA will have an updated listing of golf clubs authorized to use the USGA Handicap System on the USGA web site,

>> What is expected of current member clubs of an authorized golf association (such as the CGA) in regard to the USGA Club Licensing Program?

The CGA must receive written confirmation from each of its member clubs stating that the club is following the USGA Handicap System. The USGA must be allowed to access these confirmations upon request. Once a club has confirmed that it complies with the handicap system requirements, the golf association will send a listing of its authorized clubs to the USGA to be placed on the USGA web site list.

>> Why was our club selected to be audited by the USGA?

The USGA randomly selects licensed golf clubs to complete the audit program and to provide evidence that they are using the USGA's formulas and service marks correctly in connection with the USGA Handicap System. All licensed golf clubs are subject to being audited by the USGA, regardless of whether there is a compliance item in question or not. However, any licensed golf club that is reported in writing to the USGA as having a potential compliance issue is immediately subject to being audited by the USGA.

>> What are our responsibilities when we are audited?

If an audited golf club does not satisfy the audit process, the USGA will send a letter stating the reasoning and impose a time limit for the club to cure its deficiencies. If it does not cure them within the time frame, it runs the risk of being dropped from the List of Golf Club Authorized to use the USGA Handicap System and runs the risk of losing its ability to use any part of the USGA Handicap System. (This list is located on

>> Our license has been removed. How can we be reinstated as a club authorized to issue USGA Handicap Indexes?

A golf club that has lost the privilege to issue USGA Handicap Indexes to its members will have to apply for reinstatement of that privilege and re-submit an application for a license agreement. Upon receipt of the completed application, the USGA will provide a list of requirements that need to be satisfied for the application to be considered. Upon the golf clubs satisfying the USGA that these requirements have been met, the USGA will notify the golf club and all parties previously notified of the club's non-compliance that the club is again eligible to use the USGA Handicap System. However, the reinstated golf club is subject to the audit process during each of the next two years.

Carolinas Golf Association
140 Ridge Road, Southern Pines, NC 28387
910-673-1000 |
Monday-Friday: 8:30-5:00

Web Design by BlueTone Media