One of the many benefits of your Toddy Brook membership is participating in member tournaments. We also offer some fun public tournaments! This tournament education guide is designed to help you understand that tournaments can be fun for all genders and skill levels. 


Let’s discuss the word “tournament”
Sometimes golfers associate the word tournament with skill level. Golfers may watch a PGA tournament on tv and think that in order to compete you have to shoot low scores in order to have a fun experience. At the club level, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Sure, there are tournaments that are designed for better players. However, the majority of tournament formats are designed for players of all skill levels.

 How can golfers compete regardless of skill level?
The short answer to this question is because handicaps are used to level the playing field.

What is a GHIN Handicap?
A golf handicap is a numerical number that represents a golfer’s ability based on their previous scores. The numerical handicap has a wide range of numbers. For example, a skilled golfer’s handicap could be 12 and a novice may be 30. If these two players played a match the 12 handicap would have to give the 30 handicap 18 strokes (A stroke a hole!).

 How does a GHIN Handicap work?
An official GHIN handicap comes with your membership. If you have never had a handicap, the pro shop staff will create your GHIN handicap profile and you will be issued a personal GHIN number. Your GHIN number is your personal handicap account number.
You can post your scores the following ways:

  1. Download the GHIN Mobile App. The GHIN mobile app is a convenient and an easy way to post your scores. The app will also show you your current handicap
  2. Go to and follow the instructions to post your score from a computer.
  3. Some courses may have a designated computer that is available just for score posting. These designated computers have become less available with the advent of the mobile app and online access from any computer.

You are expected to post your 9 or 18 hole score after every round. It is very important to post your scores because it will keep your handicap up to date. Scores should be posted when you play your home course (Toddy Brook) or play any other course that is in the GHIN network. 

 How many scores does it take to establish a handicap?

In order to establish a handicap index, a total of 54 holes must be played and posted to your scoring record. These scores can be made up of any combination of 9 or 18 hole rounds. 9- hole scores are combined in the order that they are received to form 18- Hole score differentials that are used to calculate your handicap index. 

 How often does your handicap update?
A handicap index is updated the day after a score is posted, at midnight local time based on the location of your Allied Golf Association. As a result, players are expected to post their scores the day they play. 

 What is the difference between Gross & Net?
Gross & Net are terms that dictate how a tournament is played. A gross score is when you count all of your scores until your ball is holed out. A net score is your gross score subtracted from your handicap.

Tournament Formats

There are a variety of tournament formats. The first thing you should be aware of when participating in a tournament is to find out if you will be playing stroke or match play. Stroke play is when you play your own ball and compete against a field of golfers. When you play match play, you play your own ball and try to beat the individual you are playing against. There are too many formats to list here, so we will explain the most common formats.

ScrambleA scramble is one of the most popular, fun formats for players of all ages, skill levels and genders. A scramble format involves four players all on the same team playing together. All team members hit a tee shot on every hole. Then, you select the best tee shot and all team members hit from the selected tee shot. This process is continued until the ball is holed out. Scrambles can be played gross & net.

Team Best Ball – A best ball format is when two, three or four players play their own ball and the best score is used for a team score. Best Ball formats can be gross & net.

Point Quota – Point quota is a scoring system that awards points based on your score for each hole. You start out with a “Quota” and your goal is to try and reach or go over your quota. Most point systems are as follows, 1 Point – Bogey, 2 Points – Par,  4- Birdie and 8 – Eagle. Point quota competitions can be individual or team.

Alternate shot – Alternate shot is a two player team tournament. The format for alternate shot is two players play as a side and alternate hitting shots until the ball is holed. Alternate shot can be match or stroke play. Modifications in the format can be made to make the format more player friendly.


Participating in tournaments is a great way to meet new members or fellow golfers. The benefit of golf handicaps is that players of all skill levels can compete in the same tournament. Hopefully this guide will encourage you to participate in one of the many tournaments that Toddy Brook has to offer. CLICK HERE to view the tournament schedule. Don’t hesitate to contact our PGA Head Professional if you have any handicap or tournament related questions. 


Rick Altham
PGA Head Professional