In order to minimize the effects of one bad hole, or one bad round on your overall Handicap Index®, the USGA® employs a system known as Equitable Stroke Control (ESC). The ESC formula considers both your current handicap and the difficulty of the course you are playing to determine a maximum number of strokes that can count towards your overall score on each hole during a round. For example, ESC might dictate that a mid-handicap golfer, playing a course of average difficulty, take no more than a 7 on any hole on the course.