Tournament Score (from USGA Sec. 2 – Definitions)
A "tournament score" is a score made in a competition organized and conducted by the committee in charge of the competition. The competition must identify a winner(s) based on a stipulated round(s), and must be played under the principles of the Rules of Golf.
Using the above definition as a guideline, the committee (preferably the Handicap Committee in consultation with the committee in charge of the competition) must determine in advance if these conditions are met and announce in advance whether the score must be identified by the letter "T" when posted.
Routine events, such as regular play days, normally are not to be designated as T-scores because they are not significant in the traditions, schedules, formats, and membership of the club. (See eligible tournament score.)
Examples of inter-club (SNEWGA vs other) competition scores that may be posted as tournament scores when they meet the above conditions are: competitions restricted by age, member-guest competitions, team matches, qualifying rounds for city, state, and national competitions, and competitions conducted by golf associations.
Examples of intra-club (within SNEWGA) competition scores that may be posted as tournament scores when they meet the above conditions are low gross-low net competitions, four-ball match or stroke-play competitions, Stableford competitions, and club championships which are stroke or match play, scratch, or with handicap.
Tournament Scores Q & A
Q. What is the purpose of the "Tournament Score " procedure?
A. To identify players who excel in competition well beyond their current USGA Handicap Indexes.
Q. How should a player post a tournament score?
A. The tournament score, when posted, should be identified by a "T."
Q. What is the effect of a tournament score on a player's USGA Handicap Index?
A. A player whose scoring record includes two or more tournament scores that are exceptionally (three or more strokes) lower than his or her USGA Handicap Index will be subject to a reduction in Handicap Index. A USGA Handicap Index reduction for exceptional tournament scores is calculated at each handicap revision and may vary from revision to revision based on factors outlined in Section 10-3.
Q. What qualifies as a "Tournament"?
A. The committee in charge of a competition announces before play whether the competition will result in a "tournament score" when posted. Tournament scores are generally reserved for competitions that, in the judgment of the committee, are significant in the traditions, schedules, formats and membership of the club. Weekly play days should not be designated as tournament scores.
Q. What scores can be used for handicapping?
A. A golfer is required to post scores whenever he plays at least 7 holes. If 7 to 12 holes are played, then that score shall be posted as a 9-hole round. If 13 or more holes are played, it shall be posted as an 18-hole round.
Q. When is a score unacceptable?
A. All of the following are unacceptable scores:
A score is unacceptable when:
• fewer than 7 holes are played
• made on a golf course in an area in which an inactive season established by the governing golf association is in effect
• a majority of the holes of the course are not played in accordance with the principles of the Rules of Golf
• the length of the course is less than 3,000 yards for 18-holes
• types or maximum number of clubs are less than 14, for example, in a competition that allows only iron clubs
• scores are made on a course with no USGA Course and Slope Rating
• a player carries or uses non-conforming clubs or uses non-conforming balls
• artificial devices (as defined under Rule 14-3) are used during the execution of a stroke.
Q. If a player does not finish a hole or is conceded a stroke, what should the player record?
A. The player shall record his "most likely score."
Email Response from USGA regarding T Scores (specifically addressing Invitationals and then format of play, i.e., better ball)
Designation of T scores - “The PGA Tour conducts tournaments nearly every week which are run by a Committee, identify a winner based on stipulated rounds, and are played in accordance with the Rules of Golf. However, these weekly tournaments are similar to the competitions conducted at your club and are not significant in the traditions, etc., of your club. The four major tournaments conducted throughout the year on the PGA Tour do meet the definition of a tournament score and should be posted accordingly. On the golf club level, the Committee should also limit the designation of tournament scores to the “major” events conducted by the club (i.e., member-guest competitions, club championships, and city, state, and national competitions).” As such, we would agree with your assessment that these competitions (i.e., invitationals) do not warrant the designation.
Posting from certain formats of play - the fact that you can pick up your ball if conceded a stroke or out of contention on a hole - does not disqualify the score as being eligible as a tournament score. Ultimately, it would be up to the Handicap Committee in consultation with the committee in charge of the competition to determine what scores are to be posted with a T. As you see from the Handicap System manual, these types of competitions can be posted as tournament scores. As long as the players are adjusting their hole scores properly, these scores would be a good representation of the player’s potential ability (the intent of the Handicap Index) and thus still appropriate for posting as a tournament score.