You simply need to follow a few easy steps for establishing a Handicap Index. The first one is to join a licensed golf club. You can't have a Handicap Index without being a member of one. A golf club is an organization of at least 10 individual members that operates under bylaws with committees (including a Handicap Committee) to supervise golf activities, provide peer review, and maintain the integrity of the USGA Handicap System. Members of a golf club must have a reasonable and regular opportunity to play golf with each other. They must be able to return scores personally, and these scores must be immediately available for review by fellow club members. A golf club doesn't have to be a private club. It can be at a public course or even a group that is not affiliated with a golf course. Any authorized golf association should be able to assist golfers locate a club that fits their needs.

Another option available is to create your own golf club. You can form a club with a minimum of 10 golfers. The club can be formed with business associates or friends, provided that they live in a close geographic area and play golf regularly together. The club doesn't have to be tied to one specific golf course.

The USGA Handicap Department receives numerous inquiries in regard to some handicap computation services advertised on the Internet. The key point is whether there is a golf club, as defined under the USGA Handicap System, and whether that golf club is in compliance with all aspects of the USGA Handicap System. Remember, members of a club must have reasonable opportunity to play together, must be able to return scores personally, and these scores need to be available for peer review. A Handicap Index issued by a golf club that is complying with the USGA Handicap System is good anywhere a Handicap Index is accepted. Be aware of the pretenders out there and get in the game.