Worldwide Handicap System

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Worldwide Handicap System

Post by puligny on Tue 13 Feb 2018, 7:02 pm

Just following up on a few posts recently on the San Diego thread. I should say that overall I think there is more good than bad in the outlined proposed new system, but there are some wrinkles I reckon UK golfers might struggle with.
There has been quite a bit of ink devoted to the am winner of the Pebble Beach event last week. Winner, an American footballer, and avid golfer eventually won (with his pro partner) by 7 shots. Ams handicap (round numbers) was 11, plus an extra 2 shots based on course, but irrespective of conditions etc which turned out to be excellent. Apparently over a period of a few months his handicap has moved from a High of 12, through a low of 6 and subsequently back to 11.
My question is, what standard of golfer is he? I don’t see a real clue from his reported scores, recognising that many of them are probably casual rounds with a few mates. I am struggling to think of a competitive handicap swinging quite so far, without a special review for injury illness etc.
I’m not suggesting he’s a bandit, but rather this type of fluctuating handicap is a real possibility, furthering muddying the waters rather than adding any clarity.
Any views?

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Re: Worldwide Handicap System

Post by super_realist on Tue 13 Feb 2018, 7:09 pm

I'm surprised anyone could move from 6 to 11 in the space of a few months, but then I don't understand the American handicap system very well.

I can only say that having played with a lot of Americans at St.Andrews the UK and American handicaps do not represent the same number from what I can tell.

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Re: Worldwide Handicap System

Post by kwinigolfer on Tue 13 Feb 2018, 7:38 pm

You'd really have to thrash it around to slide five strokes using the USGA system, especially from that level. Almost impossible I'd say.
You'd pretty much have to have twenty rounds, the great majority of which were considerably higher than he'd shot for the previous 20.
He's a bandit - great receiver though he clearly is!

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Re: Worldwide Handicap System

Post by pedro on Tue 13 Feb 2018, 11:02 pm

From what I saw he was one heck of an amateur golfer. Maybe they only showed the good stuff, but that was on par with what the pros did.

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Re: Worldwide Handicap System

Post by puligny on Tue 13 Feb 2018, 11:08 pm

He’d gone from 12 to 6 and then back to 11 in approx 3 months according to reports. 18 rounds recorded in January, but many of those must have been bounce games? Just makes me wonder how relevant those are to assessing standard?
In some earlier correspondence I had with a US journalist - around the time the most recent changes were made in US, Canada etc - he reckoned US system was geared to an assessment based on potential, where UK was geared to performance, and hence the focus on competition rounds.
Super - it’s a more simple mathematical formula - in essence average score of your best 10 rounds from last 20, on a rolling basis. Lots more detail, but that’s the guts. Handicap for any round is adjusted by course rating of the track you are playing.

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Re: Worldwide Handicap System

Post by kwinigolfer on Wed 14 Feb 2018, 12:45 am

puligny wrote:He’d gone from 12 to 6 and then back to 11 in approx 3 months according to reports. 18 rounds recorded in January, but many of those must have been bounce games? Just makes me wonder how relevant those are to assessing standard?
In some earlier correspondence I had with a US journalist - around the time the most recent changes were made in US, Canada etc - he reckoned US system was geared to an assessment based on potential, where UK was geared to performance, and hence the focus on competition rounds.
Super - it’s a more simple mathematical formula - in essence average score of your best 10 rounds from last 20, on a rolling basis. Lots more detail, but that’s the guts. Handicap for any round is adjusted by course rating of the track you are playing.

I think the word "potential" is a good description, but it's kind of a good leveller, and difficult to do extreme variants from (altho' Larry Fitz seems to have run an alternative route). Contrarian to super, I've played several rounds with blokes with (apocryphal?) GB handicaps and they've not been within a prayer. Having a handicap as "exacting" is, I think, a sound aspiration. It's certainly difficult to graduate from.

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Re: Worldwide Handicap System

Post by JAS on Wed 14 Feb 2018, 1:34 pm

I think any handicap system where you can go from 12 to 6 and back to 11 in 3 months is too reactionary and wide open to abuse. Even 6.4 to 10.5 would be 41 bad rounds. Even with the new (7 in a row) introduction to the rules it would 21 rounds at least to get back up. Easily the thick end of a whole season not 3months minus the time period required to come down.

If a handicap is to somehow be a more accurate assessment of scoring ability then it’s further complicated by golfers who play different courses as different courses suit different styles of play and can exacerbate certain weaknesses. PB ain’t exactly tight off the tee but unless you have an excellent short game and know where/where not to miss you ain’t going to get near your handicap.


Last edited by JAS on Wed 14 Feb 2018, 2:12 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Worldwide Handicap System

Post by McLaren on Wed 14 Feb 2018, 1:45 pm

There is a simpler way to work out what your score is.

Just count up how many shots you have taken. boxing
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Re: Worldwide Handicap System

Post by Roller_Coaster on Wed 14 Feb 2018, 2:10 pm

clap Laugh

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Re: Worldwide Handicap System

Post by raycastleunited on Wed 14 Feb 2018, 2:18 pm

super_realist wrote:
I can only say that having played with a lot of Americans at St.Andrews the UK and American handicaps do not represent the same number from what I can tell.

From what I've seen, the US and European handicap is based on a "standard" (aka easy) course, and then you add the course rating to arrive at your playing handicap for that course. This can mean adding several shots. This concept makes a lot of sense because your handicap is standard and comparable from course to course, but it also means people quote their standard handicap which may be several shots lower than their playing handicap when they take on a championship course.

TOC has a slope rating of 132 off the whites and a SSS of 73. Let's assume on a normal day CSS = SSS, so a UK 18 handicapper gets an extra shot, but a US 18 handicapper gets THREE extra shots. All things being equal, the American would be the equivalent of a 20 handicapper in the UK.

SSS is nonsense for handicap golfers, because the difficulty for a scratch golfer is not relevant to an 18 handicapper. This becomes particularly true when you have forced carries over water etc which might be easy for a low handicapper but massively intimidating for a high handicapper. I played with a higher handicapper at Sunningdale and he couldn't handle the carries, there was no way he could play within 5 shots of his handicap, but the SSS is par.

Under the current British system, an 18 handicapper at Carnoustie is going to be a much better golfer than an 18 handicapper at a short easy course. Handicaps shouldn't be able to travel well, they should be the same.


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Re: Worldwide Handicap System

Post by JAS on Wed 14 Feb 2018, 2:26 pm

McLaren wrote:There is a simpler way to work out what your score is.

Just count up how many shots you have taken.  boxing

...and that’s exactly why scratch Opens are so much more attractive than handicap Opens. There’s an honesty there in just counting up your shots...end!!

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Re: Worldwide Handicap System

Post by super_realist on Wed 14 Feb 2018, 6:41 pm

Q. Do you know how to tell when someone is a hacker?
A. They talk in net scores.

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Re: Worldwide Handicap System

Post by navyblueshorts on Thu 15 Feb 2018, 9:43 am

With the greatest of respect S_R, that's typical Cat 1 snobbism. I'm sure you did exactly that once. Much as I enjoy scratch comps, I like playing with all sorts and the golf handicapping system is a great way to even things out for everyone.
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Re: Worldwide Handicap System

Post by beninho on Thu 15 Feb 2018, 10:16 am

Don't we all play golf for fun? Assuming no one is a closet professional. Surely thats why yhe handicap system is in place, to make it enjoyable for all to play. Its probably not perfect but still works. People that lose due to the system really should take stock of whats important.

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Re: Worldwide Handicap System

Post by JAS on Thu 15 Feb 2018, 10:46 am

beninho wrote:Don't we all play golf for fun? Assuming no one is a closet professional. Surely thats why yhe handicap system is in place, to make it enjoyable for all to play. Its probably not perfect but still works. People that lose due to the system really should take stock of whats important.

By and large yeah, it’s good to see people you know playing week in week out shoot a net 62, you’ve seen them buffer, 0.1 etc in previous few weeks, you know their game and you know they’ve had a great day and you can be happy for them. On the other hand you see something like the Trilby Tour and there’s some bandit on there who will have spent the best part of a Year deliberately 0.1ing or avoiding qualifyng comps when playing well...rocks up and suddenly shoots 40 odd points under pressure.

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Re: Worldwide Handicap System

Post by beninho on Thu 15 Feb 2018, 11:15 am

That probably happens. Though you do have to wonder what kind of ar#ehole would deliberately set out to do that. I'm no member of a club and play with pretty much the same people always at different courses, so dont see the handicap cheats(?).

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Re: Worldwide Handicap System

Post by navyblueshorts on Thu 15 Feb 2018, 12:54 pm

JAS wrote:
beninho wrote:Don't we all play golf for fun? Assuming no one is a closet professional. Surely thats why yhe handicap system is in place, to make it enjoyable for all to play. Its probably not perfect but still works. People that lose due to the system really should take stock of whats important.

By and large yeah, it’s good to see people you know playing week in week out shoot a net 62, you’ve seen them buffer, 0.1 etc in previous few weeks, you know their game and you know they’ve had a great day and you can be happy for them. On the other hand you see something like the Trilby Tour and there’s some bandit on there who will have spent the best part of a Year deliberately  0.1ing or avoiding qualifyng comps when playing well...rocks up and suddenly shoots 40 odd points under pressure.
True, but like most things of this type, the perception in terms of the numbers doing this is almost certainly worse than the reality. Annoying, I agree, but for the most part, the handicapping is more or less a reasonable reflection of standard.
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Re: Worldwide Handicap System

Post by raycastleunited on Thu 15 Feb 2018, 2:12 pm

super_realist wrote:Q. Do you know how to tell when someone is a hacker?
A. They talk in net scores.

This is so true. I always get confused when you see someone in the clubhouse after the round, ask how they did, and they tell you their net score.

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Re: Worldwide Handicap System

Post by navyblueshorts on Thu 15 Feb 2018, 2:41 pm

Is that something to do with lacrosse? Run
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Re: Worldwide Handicap System

Post by super_realist on Thu 15 Feb 2018, 5:27 pm

navyblueshorts wrote:With the greatest of respect S_R, that's typical Cat 1 snobbism. I'm sure you did exactly that once. Much as I enjoy scratch comps, I like playing with all sorts and the golf handicapping system is a great way to even things out for everyone.

I like playing with all handicaps too, but if you talk in Net scores, you'll not improve as quickly as you do if you talk in Gross.
Talking in Net Scores makes it sound like you're doing alright.
I could improve my Gross by taking off my handicap, but it doesn't really improve me in any way does it?

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Re: Worldwide Handicap System

Post by pedro on Thu 15 Feb 2018, 9:12 pm

I completely agree. I’m a hacker as well but really roll my eyes when other hackers talk like that. It’s often the same ones who have the newest gear, are dress code fascists and wear their golf clothes / shoes 24/7.

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Re: Worldwide Handicap System

Post by beninho on Fri 16 Feb 2018, 10:10 am

I've never really heard people talking about nett score or boasting about it. Its a bit odd though, because if you have a good net score you've done well for your level with the gross score.

People shouldn't be embarrassed of their level of playing golf, likewise better players shouldn't look down on players or make them feel they have to talk of net scores instead of gross.

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