It is with an extremely heavy heart that I must inform you that Digital Divot has been forced to close its doors. The United States Golf Association (USGA) has issued a "cease and desist" order to me regarding the operation of Digital Divot.
Excerpt from correspondence:
"Over the years, the United States Golf Association has developed and maintained the USGA Handicap System in order to provide equitable handicaps to golfers across the country. In order to ensure the integrity of the USGA Handicap System, the USGA has authorized only golf clubs and golf associations to issue a golf handicap utilizing the USGA Handicap System trademarks and formulas. These clubs provide peer review and ensure that the procedures of the USGA Handicap System are followed.
Your company is neither a golf association nor a golf club. As such, it is not authorized to utilize any part of the USGA Handicap System, including USGA formulas or the SLOPE System, to issue a Handicap Index®. The use of our protected formulas and misleading statements on the Website about providing accurate USGA Methodology creates confusion among golfers. Further, it is a misappropriation of the USGA's intellectual property to use the Handicap System.
We request that your company immediately cease using the USGA Handicap System and formulas."
Yup, you read that right... If you are not a member of a licensed club, association or organization and use a piece of paper and a pencil to calculate your current handicap using the USGA's formula and the Slope and Rating from the golf course scorecard, you are in violation of and misusing the USGA's intellectual property. Of course, you would be a lot harder to track down than say, we are.
Since 2004, Digital Divot has been providing handicap calculation and game analysis to its members for FREE. This is, obviously, in direct competition with the USGA's very own GHIN offering, which is NOT free. Now that Digital Divot has grown to its current membership levels and now offers a Platinum Membership service (which is not free, but is ridiculously inexpensive, comparatively) they are suddenly waving the "intellectual property" flag and forcing our hand.
Please understand my dear Divoteers that if there was any tangible or achievable way for me to avoid this situation, I would do so. But seeing as Digital Divot is a free service (not counting you handful of Platinum Members, and I mean "handful" -- I wish it had been more), we do NOT have the financial resources to attempt to challenge the USGA's juggernaut on this intellectual property topic. We must simply lay down our arms and close up shop. I can not even begin to relay to you just exactly how much of a personal loss this is to me, both in terms of committed time and devotion but also how much of an emotional impact this has had on myself and my family. The word, "depression" is completely inadequate.
Knowing the importance of proper handicapping, we have partnered with MyScorecard.com to transition your account, scores, and handicap to their ongoing service. MyScorecard has worked closely with the USGA from inception, building a system that adheres to the there rules and regulations, avoiding the unfortunate issues that we experienced. You are now able to log in to the MyScorecard service with your Digital Divot username, access your scores and handicap, in addition to all of the MyScorecard features, including forming clubs with friends, personalized performance reports, and official handicap cards.
MyScorecard is not a free service, but the cost is a reasonable $9.95 per year. All Digital Divot Members will have a 30 day free trial, no questions asked, to access their scores and handicap and use the MyScorecard system. You can log into your account by going to www.myscorecard.com. You will immediately be taken to your account, where you can enter additional scores or explore our many other features. After the 30 day trial, you will have the option to sign up for a membership.
While we would have loved to find a solution where you could maintain your account here, we hope this will be the next best alternative. We thank you for your loyalty over the years.
You may send your condolences, regrets, flames or questions to:
Please be patient in waiting for a reply -- this inbox will be quite full, for the forseeable future.
Regards and Farewell,
Lead Developer & Database Architect
PS.: If you are a member of a group, league, club or other organization that does qualify to become licensed by the USGA, we are willing to sell private label versions of Digital Divot to you, for use on your own servers. Please contact us, using the link above.