A guide for Iowa Golf Association Member Clubs to better utilize the benefits of their handicapping services and continue to provide value to their membership

The materials below are great for promoting IGA Individual Membership (includes a GHIN handicap) on your website, social media, monthly newsletters, or clubhouse bulletin board. Use this opportunity to evaluate your handicap marketing efforts and set goals. We’d love to see your membership grow this year and beyond.

Most items are generated in house so if you’re not finding what you’re looking for, let us know. We’re happy to customize publications or images for your club. Click here to email an IGA staff member your request.


  • Who is a prospective IGA Individual Member?
    • Season pass holders
    • League participants
    • Your “regulars”
    • Golfers taking lessons
    • Family/friends of your existing members
    • Parents/guardians of your junior golfers
    • Social media followers
    • Outing participants
    • Local corporations/businesses
  • Know the benefits
    • Be familiar with the many benefits of an IGA Individual Membership including a USGA Handicap Index, exclusive member discounts, stat tracking through the mobile app, and much more. See “Reasons People Join – Talking Points” below.
  • Explain to prospective members how to join the IGA and establish a handicap
    • Options include:
      • Incorporated into club membership package
      • Join at the counter
      • Join by partaking in a club league
      • Join online (for participating clubs)
  • Show your enthusiasm
    • Show your enthusiasm by explaining how a Handicap Index can make the game more fun. Encourage them to track their progress through the app and use their H.I. to participate in leagues and events at your club. Prospective members will be much more likely to join if they can relate to how others have benefited from the membership.
  • Send them to iowagolf.org
    • Encourage them to visit iowagolf.org to stay current on local golf news, education, and benefits. We are continuously updating our website with information that benefits amateur golfers and golf clubs.
  • Follow-up
    • Following-up with prospective members is just as important as the initial contact. You can do this in several ways including an email, phone call, letter, or casual conversation during their next visit to the course.
  • Thank them
    • Thank prospective members for their consideration of membership. The more you stay in touch, the better chance you have of them joining and staying involved.

Share these fun reasons to join the IGA as an Individual Member

  1. World Handicap Index® (GHIN)®

  2. Handicap Index revised daily
  3. Eligibility to participate in IGA Championships and Player of the Year races

  4. Eligible to participate in “IGA Member Play Days”

  5. eNewsletter – Your World Handicap Index™ and amateur golf news emailed to you twice a month

  6. Free GHIN mobile app – post scores, track stats, and follow playing partners all in one location
  7. Membership Card – Available in the GHIN mobile app

  8. Online Score Posting

  9. Hole-in-one recognition and certificates

  10. Discounted travel perks – Save up to 70% on hotels, concert, sporting event, theatre tickets through Affinity Travel Benefits (click here)
  11. Current and future benefits include such things as discount programs and other special arrangements made through corporate sponsorships

  12. Satisfaction of supporting the game of golf in Iowa

Below is a list of suggestions for recruiting and sustaining members at your club.

  • Include an IGA Individual Membership (GHIN Handicap) as a benefit of your club membership, season pass, or league(s).
  • Put together a new member welcome packet – What benefits are available for new members?
    • Have a brochure/flyer that explains the benefits of being a member of your club. Be sure to include reasons why having a Handicap Index is important and beneficial:
      • It can be used by players who play competitively and recreationally, on any rated golf course in the world.
      • It allows players to measure their ability and track their progress (check out the app!).
      • Handicapping makes the game more fun by allowing players, regardless of skill-level, to play on a fair and equal basis with others.
  • Start a member referral program – Create perks for club members who recruit new members.
      • Think of benefits that could be provided to a club member who brings in a new member. It could be something that has no/minimal cost such as the “prime” tee time on each Saturday morning for a month.
  • Hold a prospective new member outing.
    • Perhaps hold an outing where players can join a fun and/or competitive event and learn about the benefits of membership.
      • Conduct a nine-hole event followed by a social gathering (nine & wine).
      • Encourage beginners to attend an outing. This could take place on the practice tee or putting green to not intimidate the player and ease them into the basics of golf.
      • Offer a ‘members-only’ rate once or several times a year for guests to be able to play your course and see your facility.
  • Offer a member-guest where each member brings a prospective member as a partner.
    • Invite your members to participate in an event where they bring a player who is not a member of a club and does not have a Handicap Index.
  • Publish a schedule of events for the year where members can use their Handicap Index.
    • Consider diverse formats and offer flighting so that players of all skill levels feel welcome and eager to participate.
    • Include individual and team events.
    • Establish a season-long point system that encourages participation.
  • Have a friendly competition with a fellow nearby club.
    • Talk to a nearby club(s) and engage in a friendly competition. This will give you an opportunity to showcase your club and keep your existing members.
  • Reach out to former members.
    • Contact members who have let their membership lapse. Encourage them to rejoin or find out why they have left the club. This information might provide opportunities for changes at the club to help retain members.
  • Thank your current members regularly.
    • It is important to keep the members that you have engaged and happy. Reach out to your current members and ask for feedback.
  • Use social media to promote membership.
    • Include pictures from your club events showing comradery and enjoyment of the membership.
  • Custom “Join the IGA Online” image and link – click here



If you run a fun event at your course that you don’t see listed below, please share! We hope to keep building on this list (Email [email protected]).

Team or Individual Event | Allowance: Format dependent (click here) | Run in Golf Genius (click here)

USGA Tournament Management is there to make your League work for you & your players!

  1. Save Time with Online Round Signups
  2. Add Fun with Unique Games
  3. Mix Up the Pairings
  4. Easily Manage League Standings
  5. Engage Players with a League Website
  6. Easily Communicate with Players
  7. Add Drama with Live Scoring in the Mobile App

Team or Individual Event | Allowance: Format dependent (click here) | Run in Golf Genius (Team: click here Individual: click here )

Each entrant plays a handicap match against every other entrant during the season; allowing the full difference in Playing Handicap between the two players in each match. A time limit should be set for completion of each round; a player who cannot meet an opponent within the time limit forfeits the match, but may continue in the tournament. The winner is the player winning the most matches. (This season-long tournament could also be conducted in a team format at four-ball match play.)

Team or Individual Event | Allowance: Full CH | Run in Golf Genius

A variation on competing against par on a match-play basis. Each player is allowed full Course Handicap, with strokes taken as designated on the score card. (For these games, it is helpful if the handicap strokes are indicated on the score card before the round.) The player then plays “against” par, remaining in the contest only until he loses a hole to par. The winner is the player going farthest around the course.

A variation of this game has each player in a “match” against par, the winner being the player most “up” on par, as if he had played a match-play competition (the winner may “beat” the course 4 and 3, for example). Both formats may be used for individuals or teams.

Team or Individual Event | Allowance: click here | Run in Golf Genius

The USGA does not have any recommendations for using handicaps and allocating strokes in a skins competition. The Committee in charge of the competition would decide how to allocate strokes during a net skins competition. The USGA hasn’t found a mathematically fair way to assign handicaps in skins. If there are only two players, it’s fair for the low handicapper to play at scratch and the higher handicapper to receive 100% of the difference between their handicaps. This is essentially individual match play. But as players are added to the field, and play with full Course Handicap, it puts the lower handicap players at a disadvantage. Players are playing for every stroke out there. The larger the field grows, the more of a disadvantage for the lower handicaps. Each club may wish to come up with some percentage to use for net skins. The club may want to experiment with their data and try different percentages for a group with the makeup and size of the competition. The USGA has done a lot of research on this, but we haven’t been able to come up with a blanket recommendation or formula for net skins that is fair for all.

Team Event | Allowance: 85% of CH | Run in Golf Genius

Excellent for early in the season and for groups where new members are being introduced. Each player selects a partner with whom he has never played.

Four-ball stroke-play (better ball of partners) scoring; gross and net prizes may be awarded.

Note: It is recommended that Committees consider it a condition of four-ball stroke play competitions that the Course Handicap (after allowance) of the members of a side may not differ by more than eight strokes. A side with a large difference has an advantage over a side with a small Course Handicap difference. If a difference of more than eight strokes cannot be avoided, it is suggested that an additional 10 percent reduction be applied to the Course Handicap of the each member of the advantaged side.

Team Event | Allowance: 75% of CH or 85% of CH | Run in Golf Genius

Useful for promoting interest in the club among prospective members. Each member invites three guests for the day, usually including dinner. Either best-ball-of-four (75% of CH) or two best-balls-of-four (85% of CH), stroke-play scoring; or individual scoring (full Course Handicap) with separate prizes for best guest scores.

Team Event | Allowance: 60% low handicap + 40% high handicap | Run in Golf Genius

2-4 players needed.

How to play:

  1. Assuming a 4 person team, each team member plays their tee shot on each hole.
  2. The best of the 4 tee shots (as determined by the team) is marked and all 4 players get to play their 2nd shots from that location.
  3. Each team member is then responsible for playing their own ball the remainder of the hole until they hole out.
  4. The best individual score is recorded for the team.

Team Event | Allowance: Format dependent (click here) | Run in Golf Genius (click here)

Two Best Net Balls

Three or four player format

  1. Use the total score of the net two best ball scores
  2. Have players record all scores

This format can also be played as 1 gross 1 net best ball or any combo.

1-2-3 Best Ball

  1. Use ONE of the best net scores on #1
  2. Use TWO of the best net scores on #2
  3. Use THREE of the best net scores on #3
  4. Use ONE of the best net scores on #4
  5. Use TWO of the best net scores of #5
  6. Use THREE of the best net scores of #6
  7. Keep going through 18 holes

Team Event | Allowance: 35% of A’s CH, 15% of B’s CH | Run in Golf Genius

How to play:

  • Holes 1-6 – player A and player B scramble. Player C and player D scramble. Add both scramble scores together for the team score on each hole.
  • Holes 7-12 player A and player C scramble. Player B and player D scramble. Add both scramble scores together.
  • Holes 13-18 player A and player D scramble. Player B and player C scramble. Add both scramble scores together.

Team Event | Allowance: click here | Run in Golf Genius

A fun game when playing in foursomes.

How to play:

  • Golfers play in groups of four and play a best ball
  • One of the four balls in the group is yellow/pink
  • The colored ball rotates between each player in the group (player A on 1, player B on 2, and so on)
  • Add the best ball score and the colored ball score for each hole to create the team score

Team Event | Allowance: 50% of combined team CH | Run in Golf Genius

This is a standard Sunday afternoon feature at many clubs, and can be played in three ways. The “official way” is for the partners to alternate driving from each tee and then to play alternate shots until the ball is holed (Rule 22). If the competition is held on a net basis, allow 50% of the partners’ combined Course Handicap. The game is perhaps more enjoyable for average golfers if both partners drive from each tee and select which ball to play thereafter. (If this format is used, allow 60% low CH + 40% high CH.) A third method was introduced by Mr. and Mrs. Richard Chapman with interesting results. The partners both drive from each tee, and then each plays a second shot with the other’s ball. After the second shots, a choice is made regarding the ball with which the hole will be completed, alternate shots being continued until the ball is holed. (Allow 60% low CH + 40% high CH.)

Team Event | Allowance: click here | Run in Golf Genius

The names of all players are listed in order, according to either Course Handicap or Handicap Index®, at the start of the season. (Those players with the same Course Handicap are listed according to their Handicap Index. Players with the same Handicap Index are listed by the total of every Handicap Differential™). A player may challenge any one of the three players immediately above to an 18-hole match. If the challenger wins, the players exchange places. If the challenger loses, that player may not challenge again until defending the player’s own position against a challenger from below. Play can be without handicaps (gross).

Team Event | Allowance: 85% of CH | Run in Golf Genius

This is an 18-hole stroke play event using a percentage of Course Handicap. Players may play with anyone of their choice. Partners are not drawn until the last group has teed off. Players don’t know their partner until they have finished. The winner is the team with the lowest better-ball score.

Individual Event | Allowance: Full CH | Display results in Golf Genius

Great for holidays such as Memorial Day, Fourth of July, and Labor Day. Also known as “Last Man/Woman Standing”. This is a fun competition in which golfers keep playing until they run out of strokes.

How to Play:

  1. Determine Course Handicaps for your golfers
  2. Course Handicap + Par = Strokes Allotted
  3. Golfers play as usual
  4. Golfers place a flag in the ground where their last allotted stroke comes to rest. Example: If a golfer’s course handicap is 10 and par is 72, their allotted strokes for the round is 82 (10 + 72 = 82) they will put their flag in the ground when their 82nd stroke comes to rest.
  5. In the event a golfer has strokes left over after 18 holes, they go back to the 1st hole and keep playing. Another method is that the player with the most strokes left after 18 holes is the champion.
  6. Ties can be broken by closest to the hole

Individual Event | Allowance: See below |  Run in Golf Genius

Before returning their score cards, players are allowed to cross out a designated number of worst holes (for example, three holes). Each player’s Course Handicap should be reduced in proportion to the number of holes rejected. The winner has the lowest score for the remaining holes.

Individual Event | Allowance: 50% of CH

Rewards steady play — and those with a little luck. After all players have left the first tee, a blind draw determines which nine holes of the 18 played will count toward everyone’s total score — the other holes will be crossed out — so the players have no knowledge of which holes will count until they complete their rounds. Fifty percent (50%) of Course Handicap should be used to compile net totals.

Individual Event | Allowance: Full CH | Run in Golf Genius

Players use full Course Handicap, taking strokes as designated on the score card. Prizes are awarded to the players scoring the most 3s, 4s and 5s (net scores if player receives strokes on a hole).

Individual Event | Allowance: Full CH | Run in Golf Genius

The field is divided into classes according to Course Handicap: Class A may be players with a Course Handicap of 7 and under; Class B, 8 to 15; Class C, 16 to 24, etc. (The Committee should determine these classes or use already-established handicap classes as there is no set recommendation on classes.) The player who makes the lowest score each class on a hole wins a syndicate. Syndicates may be cumulative; in the event that one or more holes are tied, those syndicates go to the player next winning a hole. Each player pays an entry fee of one golf ball; the total balls in each class are divided by 18 to determine the value of a single syndicate, and each player’s prize is determined by the number of syndicates he has won.

Individual Event | Allowance: click here | Run in Golf Genius

Each player or team is given a length of string, instead of handicap strokes. The string is measured out to allow one foot for each handicap stroke. The player (or team) may move the ball by hand to a more favorable spot at any time, at any place on the course (including on the putting green and into the hole), measuring with the string the distance the ball was moved and then cutting off the equivalent length of string. When the string is used up, the player (or team) is on their own.

Individual Event | Allowance: Full CH | Run in Golf Genius

Each player plays 36 holes. From the player’s two score cards, the player selects the better score on each hole. The winner is the player with the lowest total score for the selected 18 holes. If net prizes are awarded, full Course Handicap should be used. This event may be completed in a day or extended over a weekend.

Individual Event | Allowance: 75% of CH | Run in Golf Genius

Instead of deducting handicap strokes where they are designated on the score card, each player is allowed to replay during the round the number of shots equal to 75% of Course Handicap. A stroke replayed must be used even if it is worse than the original, and cannot be replayed a second time. The converse format (Replay Tournament) is also entertaining: each player has an opponent who can recall a given number of a player’s best shots and ask that they be replayed.

Individual Event | Allowance: click here | Run in Golf Genius

Sometimes called a “Miniature Championship” since it squeezes a single-elimination tournament into 36 holes. A nine-hole stroke-play qualifying round is held early in the morning. Qualifiers are divided into flights of eight, with the match-play draw based on qualifying scores as follows: 1 vs. 8; 4 vs. 5; 2 vs. 7; 3 vs. 6. All matches are then nine holes, first round before lunch, and last two rounds in the afternoon.

Individual Event | Allowance: Full CH | Run in Golf Genius

The golf professional agrees to play a handicap match against each member as he is challenged, making a nominal charge for each round. The professional should play at scratch in absence of a Handicap Index. The member making the best showing in a match receives a prize from the golf professional at the end of the season.

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