Second Best Score System

The USGA has developed a simple estimator of a player's ability called "
Second Best Score System" or "Second Best Handicap" for short. Second Best Handicap is not a substitute for the USGA Handicap System, but it can produce acceptable results and is a reasonable system for handicapping the otherwise "un-handicapped."

To create a player's Second Best Handicap, the tournament committee simply asks each un-handicapped player to submit his three best scores made on a regulation course (with par of 68 or more) in the last 12 months. Combine these scores with any previous scores that the player has made in your tournament in the past two years.

The player's Second Best Handicap is the second best score he or she has given you minus 70 for men or 73 for women.

For example, if a male player submits scores of 92, 96 and 98 and he had scored 90 in your tournament last, his Second Best Handicap would be 92 (second best score) minus 70 (for men).

There is a special qualification for beginners or players who can submit only one score. Subtract 74 from that score for a man's Second Best Handicap, or subtract 77 for a woman's Second Best Handicap.

If necessary, nine-hole scores can be combined to produce an 18-hole scoring history.

If a player has never played, the Second Best Handicap is not appropriate. The committee should assign a maximum of 36 strokes for men, or 40 for women. Some allow a maximum of 50 strokes, which generally gives three strokes on each hole except for par-3 holes.