According to the USGA Handicap System manual: A “golf club” is an organization of at least ten individual members* that operates under bylaws with committees (especially a handicap committee) to supervise golf activities, provide peer review, and maintain the integrity of the USGA Handicap System (see Club Compliance Checklist, Section 8-2m and Decision 2/7). A golf club must be licensed by the USGA to utilize the USGA Handicap System. A club can obtain a license directly from the USGA or in conjunction with its membership in an authorized golf association that is already licensed by the USGA and that has jurisdiction in the geographic area that includes the principal location of the golf club, like Washington Golf (See Appendix F.)
Members of a golf club must have a reasonable and regular opportunity to play golf with each other. They must be able to return scores personally, and these scores must be readily available for inspection by others, including, but not limited to, fellow members and the club’s Handicap Committee.
* Note: For administrative reasons, some authorized golf associations may require a golf club to have more than the USGA minimum of ten members in order for the golf club to be a member of the authorized golf association.
Three Types of Clubs
Type 1 The members of a Type 1 club are located at a single specific golf course with a valid USGA Course Rating and Slope Rating where a majority of the club’s events are played and where the club’s scoring records reside; or
Type 2 The members of a Type 2 club are affiliated, or known to one another, via a business, fraternal, ethnic, or social organization. The majority of the club members had an affiliation prior to organizing the club; or
Type 3 The members of a Type 3 club had no prior affiliation and a majority of the recruiting and sign up of the membership is done by solicitation to the public (e.g. newspaper, Internet).
Clarification of Term “Golf Club”
Q: Membership in a golf organization is open to any player living within a large geographic area. In general, the members play at different golf facilities within the area, and do not normally play golf with one another. Is this organization a golf club within the meaning of the term in Section 2?
A: No. Section 2 states that in order for an organization to be considered a golf club, “members must have a reasonable and regular opportunity to play golf with each other.” Also, the members of a golf club who are issued a Handicap Index must be from a small defined geographic area, for example: the residence or business address of each member of the golf club must generally be within approximately a 50 mile radius of the principal location of the golf club. (applies to Type 2 and Type 3 only) (Revised)
Accordingly, a checklist entitled Requirements for Compliance with the USGA Handicap System can be found below. A club must be able to answer “yes” to each question before applying for membership within the WSGA.