Inside Comments: Steve Turcotte

Feeling a little shy about getting a handicap? Best way might be to join up with a golf club

Ladies League

I don’t know about you, but I have a lot of golfing friends that when I ask them to play in a tournament the response is almost always the same: “I don’t have a handicap.”


I tell them it’s the easiest thing to do and it always comes with plenty of perks. Not only do you get a handicap that allows you to play in tournaments, but if you sign up for a handicap at the right place like   a golf course, there are other benefits like events you can play in and the chance to meet other golfers.

Forget about what you think you know about clubs, especially golf clubs. Large or small, public or private, born from a group of college alums, co-workers, or friends, golf clubs are many and varied but all have one thing in common: they provide community. And most members will tell you, it feels pretty good to belong.

So for those who don’t think they need a handicap or don’t think joining a club is a good idea, here goes with your list of reasons to do so:

• More golfing buddies: Your regular weekend foursome is always a good time, but when you join a club, you’ll expand your circle of golfing friends. And who doesn’t want more invites to play? Or more people to call up for a game?

• Hassle-free and convenient: No need to coordinate with friends to arrange tee times only to have them cancel last minute. Clubs usually have their schedule of league matches, outings, socials, and clinics lined up well in advance so you can plan ahead. Just sign up and show up!

• Good for the soul: Joining a club is joining a community of friends who have a shared love for the game. You play, meet new people, hang out afterwards, and maybe even go on a golf trip together. It can do wonders for your game and your happiness.

• Improve your game: You get better by challenging yourself through competition. Many clubs have scheduled tournaments for a chance to win prizes, the club trophy or just bragging rights. And don’t worry about not being good enough. The handicapping system levels the playing field so golfers of all skill levels can compete with each other. 

• Hone your Rules knowledge: You can spend time poring over the USGA Rules of Golf, but nothing beats being around well-informed golfers willing to share their knowledge. Luckily, many clubs have volunteers who are experts in Rules and Handicapping. They are a huge help and a great resource if you’re looking to improve.

• Club benefits: Apart from the benefits mentioned above, members enjoy additional perks like discounted rates, guaranteed tee times, or savings on merchandise or dining, depending on the specific club. Additionally, regardless of which club you join, all members have access to all WA Golf benefits (Visit

• Try one on for size: There are over 500 WA Golf member communities in Washington and Northern Idaho — many welcome new members and encourage new golfers to join. You can ask about club options at your local golf course or check out the WA Golf club directory at for a partial list of clubs. Interested in creating a club? Contact

Small group club from Jefferson Golf Course in Seattle

Steve Turcotte is editor of Inside Golf Newspaper. He can be reached at