Remember – posting is NOT optional. You must post every legally played round.
I'm playing in a fun game and we give mulligans and take an occasional 'hand shot' from a bunker, can I post my score?
If you are playing in a WNHGA sanctioned tournament (Team Play, TOC, Open Days), you may not take a mulligan, hand shot, or gimmee. The USGA does not recognize or sanction those actions. In all WNHGA events, you must play by the USGA Rules of Golf.
However, according to the NCGA and Rules Gurus, Gail Rogers and Ryan Gregg, if you are playing in an invitational or casual game and you take a mulligan or a 'hand shot', you must score that hole as par plus 'pops' AND as long as you play 7 of the 9 holes using USGA Rules (no mulligans or 'hand shots' or gimmees), you must post your score.
If you are posting an 18-hole score, you must play 13 of the 18 holes using USGA Rules in order to post.
Note: if you are posting two nine-hole scores (for a nine hole handicap), then each nine holes posted must have seven holes played using USGA Rules.
What if I take one mulligan on each hole?
You cannot post because you did not play 7 of 9 holes according to the rules.
I'm a beginning golfer. What if I pick up? Do I take my maximum (in my case 10)? May I still post?
As long as you have started the hole, you can post a score no matter how many times you pick up. The key is this: if you pick up, you give yourself 'your most likely' scroe that does not exceed your maximum.
You can do this for all nine holes and still post your score.
Then when do I take 'par plus pops'?
On any hole where you did not 'start' the hole or when you did not follow the USGA Rules on that hole, you score 'par plus pops'. Again, you can take 'par plus pops' on only 2 of 9 in a 9-hole round or 5 of 18 holes on an 18-hole round in order to post.
Source: USGA Handicap Manual