Equitable Stroke Control (ESC) is a method of recording scores used to calculate a golf handicap. Its purpose is to avoid recording a very high score on an individual hole which might inflate the handicap calculation. Equitable stroke control is a sliding scale system, based on the difficulty of the course and the current handicap of the golfer.

Each rated course should post a calculation of the player’s course handicap. Course handicaps are always rounded to whole numbers, and reflect the difficulty of the course relative to an average course. For example, an individual with a handicap of 5.9 playing on a difficult course might have a course handicap of 8. Playing on a much easier course, the course handicap might be 5.

For example, if a golfer has a course handicap of 8, shoots a score of 83, but that score includes a six on a par 3 (a triple bogey) then the posted score should be only 82. However, if a golfer with a course handicap of 11 had the same score, the proper score to post is 83.


USGA Rules

Golf Glossary and Golf Terms