Commencing January 1, 2006, the USGA published new guidelines in the USGA Handicap Manual on forming a “golf club” and attaining a sanctioned USGA golf handicap. Forming such a golf club is relatively easy and free. It is important for golfers to understand the new regulations and take advantage of the new rules in order for them to have greater access to a USGA golf handicap index over the Internet.
One of the most important new rules Vclubshop established by the USGA is that golf clubs can be effectively virtual and not associated with a green grass physical location. This means that golf clubs can now be created by members and can be accessed throughout a local community online. These virtual club members may not initially know each other prior to joining the golf club and are solicited by an online service can obtain a sanctioned USGA golf handicap online.
In this regard, the USGA has allowed for three types of golf clubs to coexist equally and offer a handicap and each club must determine its type and they are;
1. It is located at a single specific golf course with a USGA Course Rating and USGA Slope Rating where a majority of the club’s events are played and the club’s scoring records reside; or
2. Its members are affiliated or known to one another via business, fraternal, ethnic or social organization. The majority of the club members had an affiliation prior to organizing the club; or
3. The members had no prior affiliation and a majority of the recruiting and sign-up of the membership is done by solicitation to the general public (e.g., newspaper, Internet).
It is the type 3 club which is of special interest to the every day golfer Vclubshop who does not have access to a private country club membership. In fact, almost 80% of all USGA handicaps are associated with member of such private clubs, leaving only the remaining 20% for the general public golfer. Further, historically, private membership represents less than 20% of the general golfer population which is estimated to be around 26,000,000 in North America. Said another way, over 20,000,000 golfers did not have access to a valid USGA golf handicap in the United States and Canada because they are not members of a private golf club (type 1).
The new regulations allow for online golf handicap services to flourish since it reaches the masses of golfers through the Internet. Benefits for such online golf handicap services include;
o Posting your scores are accessible 24 hours a day, 365 days per year. Traveling golfers as well as those who play for fun Vclubshop and do not have access to a posting kiosk can do so anywhere the Internet is available;
o Tracking a complete history of scores ensures that a golfer can monitor trends. For better or worse, those trends are inputted in to build a plan for game enhancement;