Exceptional Scoring Reductions

Exceptional Scoring Reductions


The ESR is a compulsory part of the Handicapping System in Ireland.  The aim of the ESR is to provide fair handicaps for golfers whose scoring patterns show that they are in a period of rapid improvement.  This can occur, for example, where a beginner or junior golfer is rapidly improving, where a player’s circumstances have changed allowing them to play more competitive golf or where an initial handicap allocation has been made based on limited information available on a new member’s golfing ability and requires realignment.

The ESR works as follows.  When a player returns a qualifying score of 4 better than CSS or more in a calendar year this triggers an initial ESR marker.  An ESR calculation will be made the next time the player returns a qualifying score of 4 below CSS or better.  This second qualifying score will also set a new trigger for any subsequent return of another low score when the count within the ESR process would be repeated.

The handicap reduction is calculated in accordance to the table below:


Number of Qualifying Scores in the Sequence
Average of  the two low Qualifying Scores Nett Differentials 4 or less 5 to 9 10 or more
-4.0 to -5.0 1 stroke 0.5 stroke No Change
-5.5 to -9.5 2 strokes 1 stroke 0.5 stroke
-10 or better 3 strokes 2 strokes 2 strokes

Please note:

Nett Differential refers to the difference between the competition scratch score (CSS) and the player’s nett score (as adjusted by the UHS).

The Exceptional Scoring Reduction does not apply to Category 1 handicaps (5.4 or below.

An ESR will be restricted where it would reduce a Category 2 player into Category 1. Handicap reductions in such situations will only be able to reduce a Player’s Handicap to 5.5.

Application of the Exceptional Scoring Handicap Reduction Table

Example 1 :

• A player with an Exact Handicap of 18.6 returns a sequence of Nett Differentials -4, 8, 7, 5,11, 3, -7, ending after the last score with a CONGU® UHS calculated Exact Handicap of 15.6, Playing Handicap 16

• The first -4 Nett Differential returned triggers the ESR process

• The -7 Nett Differential initiates an ESR calculation

• The number of rounds in the sequence is 7

• The average Nett Differential of the two Exceptional Scores returned is -5.5

• From the above Exceptional Score Reduction Table a further ESR of 1 stroke is recommended to the Handicap Committee for consideration

• If applied by the Handicap Committee this would further reduce the player’s CONGU® Exact Handicap to 14.6, Playing Handicap 15

Example 2:

• A player of Exact Handicap 7.8 has the same Nett Differentials as in Example 1 above and his CONGU® UHS calculated Exact Handicap at the end of the sequence was 6.1.

• The ESR process would recommend a further reduction of 1 stroke to that applied


• However this would reduce the player’s handicap to 5.1 so the ESR process would adjust to recommend a 0.6 stroke reduction taking the player to the lower limit of Category 2, i.e. a revised CONGU® Handicap of 5.5.

(taken from the CONGU Handicap Manual – http://www.gui.ie/handicap-manual/congu_2012_correct-pdf.aspx)