HANDICAP GURU: GO AHEAD AND PICKUP
During a casual round, it's OK if you start a hole but don't finish it—especially to keep up with the group in front of you. But you still have to record your "most likely score" for handicap purposes. How do you determine that score? Count the strokes you've already taken and add the number of strokes you would likely need to finish the hole the majority of the time. It's a judgement call by you, but that score can't exceed the maximum allowed under Equitable Stroke Control (ESC). Some examples: If your handicap is 9 or lower, double bogey is your max. For 10-19 handicaps, it's a 7. For 20-29, it's an 8. This is good to know as you ponder whether to take your fifth stroke from that deep bunker.
By DEAN KNUTH, Golf Digest Contributing Editor. Knuth, the former senior director of the USGA handicap department, invented today's Course Rating and Slope system.
From Golf Digest August 2011, page 46