When is your score not your score? There are some oddities to handicap scores. These rules are designed to make it a little harder for your handicap to go up, compared to going down. In other words, handicaps are used for competition, so they reflect your best potential scores, and not your actual average.
When you have a really really bad hole (and it happens to all of us), you must reduce the score on that hole to an adjusted score. For more information, see the Equitable Stroke Control Adjustments Table. It is important to note that you use your course handicap to determine your equitable stroke control adjustment, NOT your handicap index. See the Assigning Strokes in Competition section for the link to the USGA Course Handicap Calculator.
Equitable Stroke Control Adjustments Table
(Important: note that you use course handicap not your handicap index)
Maximum Number of Strokes on Any Hole
|9 or less
|10 through 18
|20 through 29
|30 through 39
|40 or more
The ESC adjusted scores are only for posting scores for handicap purposes. In a competition your full score will be used (but still adjust it using ESC for handicap posting purposes). If you enter hole by hole scores in the EWGA System, enter your actual score, and the system will adjust your total score using ESC.
Incomplete rounds can count, too! For instance, if you are in match play and conceded a hole, you would enter your most likely score for that hole, and not necessarily the Equitable Stroke Control adjustment. And if you played at least 7 of 9 on a 9-hole round, or 13 of 18, you must record your score as par plus any handicap strokes to which you are entitled for the holes that were not completed. If you played 7 to 12 holes, you should enter a 9-hole round.
And for the big hitters out there, there's even a way to record the proper score for a round when you have played the course from tees that were not rated for women. To learn how to adjust the slope and rating for tees that were not rated for women, see Adjusting the Slope and Rating for Unrated Tees.