The Rules of Handicapping understand that poor form is temporary, and a player is likely to return to previous form. For players with 20 scores on their handicap record, a Low Handicap Index is established and represents the lowest index from the player’s last 12 months of revisions.
A player’s Low Handicap Index is always displayed on GHIN.com and the GHIN Mobile App beneath the Handicap Index.
When the average of a player’s best 8 scores of their most recent 20 is 3.0 or more than the Low H.I., a cap is possible.
The soft cap suppresses upwards movement by 50% (if the player’s Low H.I. is 13.1 and the 8 of 20 average is 17.1, the cap would take 50% of that 1.0 stroke eligible for the cap, take 50%, and have the player’s Handicap Index be 16.6.
The hard cap uses the same procedure, but limits the upward movement to 5.0 strokes above the Low H.I. A player with a Low H.I. of 13.1, the highest their index can be is 18.1
How Long Does a Cap Last?
There are two variables that can change for the cap to be removed: Low H.I. and the Average of the Best 8 of the Most Recent 20.
If the date of the Low Handicap Index is no longer within the last year, it will increase, and the gap between Low H.I. and Average of the Best 8 of Most Recent 20 will decrease, sometimes removing the cap.
If the Low H.I. remains the same, the other way is playing better, with lower handicap differentials decreasing the Average of the Best 8 of Most Recent 20 to where the difference between that number and Low H.I. is less than 3.0 strokes.
*NOTE: If there are unique factors such as injury or disability that cause a player’s ability to rapidly decline, the Handicap Committee at the club can modify the Low H.I. to where the cap would no longer apply.