Rules School: Can you post scores in the winter for handicap purposes?

Golf is an outdoor sport, and because of that, there is (unfortunately) an offseason. When the temps drop, most people store their clubs in the closet and hunker down for the winter. The operative word in that sentence is “most.”

While cold weather means the offseason for some, there is a niche group in the golf world, composed of avid players who refuse to acknowledge a formal offseason. For them, as long as the course is open, they’re willing to brave the elements and get some cuts in.

However, for better or worse, many of these scores are ineligible for posting and counting toward your handicap. In northern states, rounds played during the offseason do not count for handicap purposes.

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But what if you want to work on lowering your handicap during the winter? There is a way to do it, but it’ll involve a little travel.

If you take a vacation to a warm climate (or you’re a snowbird), check with the local allied golf association and ask if they are in an active or an inactive season. If it’s an active season, your scores will count toward your handicap and must be posted. If it’s an inactive season, the score will not count for handicap purposes.

And remember, any round played on a course other than your home course should be recorded as an “away” score.

Zephyr Melton Editor

Zephyr Melton is an assistant editor for where he spends his days blogging, producing and editing. Prior to joining the team at, he attended the University of Texas followed by stops with Team USA, the Green Bay Packers and the PGA Tour. He assists on all things instruction and covers amateur and women’s golf.