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Equitable Stroke Control (ESC)

For handicap purposes, ESC limits the number of strokes you can record on an individual hole.  The purpose of this is to indicate your true golfing potential ability.


After the round, adjust your hole scores when they exceed the maximum you can take based on the chart below.



Course Handicap

Maximum Number
On Any Hole

9 or less

Double Bogey*

10 through 19


20 through 29


30 through 39


40 or more



Example: A player with a Course Handicap of 13 has a maximum number of 7 for any hole regardless of par. A player with a Course Handicap of 42 has a maximum number of 10 for any hole.


The key thing to understand here is Course HandicapOne easy way is to check it on USGA webssite:


Fill in your Handicap Index and enter the Slope Rating.  For instance, a player on the Lakes Course with 18.1 index, would fill in 18.1 for her handicap index and 126 for the slope rating.  This would give her a Course Handicap of 20.  Based on 20 and the chart above, the maximum number she could enter on any hole would be 8.  Note that this is more than the 7 she would use if she were using just her handicap index.  As you can see, knowing your course handicap for a particular course is very important.


ESC is to be used only after the round.  When you enter the score for handicap, adjust the holes that exceed ESC and enter the adjusted score.  If you have 16 on the first hole (jittery nerves or too much coffee??) and your course handicap index is 22, you would adjust the score for that hole to 8.  If all of the other holes are within ESC limits, instead of posting 101 for handicap (the real total score), you would post 93.        


All scores, including tournament scores, are adjusted for ESC. There is no limit to the number of holes on which you can adjust your score.


Once you understand the system, it just takes a couple of minutes to scan your score card and make the necessary adjustments.



Source:  USGA website, Handicapping section