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Using Handicaps in a 2 Person Match


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Say what you want about the USGA, but they do provide some useful information -- a good guide on how to set up a match between a high and a low handicapper playing from different sets of tees...

 

 

Setting the Proper Course For a Two-Tee Match
By Jonathan Wilhelm, USGA
November 26, 2014

59d01871-98f5-463b-a872-326964d2a12b.jpg
Just one extra calculation is needed to correctly allocate handicap strokes for players competing against each other from different sets of tees. (USGA/Don Liebig

For the average golfer, understanding the USGA Handicap Systemâ„¢ might not seem like the easiest of tasks. And while making heads or tails of handicapping formulas and sections has no bearing on how one swings a club, it does help in creating a level playing field for golfers of all skill levels.

 

According to our staff, it seems that no handicapping situation leads to more head-scratching moments than calculating how to compete equitably with someone playing from a different set of tees. 

Ask anyone who has mastered the science of handicapping to explain the calculations of properly allocating strokes, and you will most likely be left standing there with your head spinning. There has to be an easier way, right?

Luckily for you, there is. Let's break this down into a real-world example to make it easier to understand how Section 3-5 works. For the purpose of this article, we will use two friends, Tom and Joe. Tom has a Handicap Index® of 2.2 while Joe has an a Handicap Index of 25.2. 

Tom and Joe are playing a new course, and as they look over the scorecard before their round, Tom decides to play from the tees measuring 6,500 yards. Joe decides to Tee It Forward and play from the tees measuring 5,800 yards. With a much shorter course and a higher handicap, it appears that Joe has an unfair advantage. 

This is where Section 3-5 comes into play. But first, it's worth noting that a Handicap Index is notestablished from a particular set of tees, it is simply a standardized benchmark of a golfer's potential that helps establish a player's handicap for the particular course he or she is playing.

Starting with a certainty is always a good thing, and in this case, that certainty is the USGA Course Ratingâ„¢ from each individual's set of tees. Tom's USGA Course Rating from 6,500 yards is 72, while at 5,800 yards, Joe is looking at a USGA Course Rating of 67. With those known numbers, the next step is finding the difference between the two, which is 5. Keep that number handy.* (Note: The Course Rating is not always a whole number, so the difference between the two tees' ratings would be rounded to the nearest whole number in the calculation.)

The rest of the process is simple math. In most cases, the Slope Rating® for a set of tees is printed on the course scorecard. Tom finds his Slope Rating is 130. Tom also knows that the standard Slope Rating is 113, which is the second part of the equation and always a constant. By knowing his Handicap Index of 2.2, Tom uses the following steps to find his course-specific handicap:

1.       Multiply Handicap Index times Slope Rating of tees played: 2.2 x 130 = 286

2.       Divide by the standard Slope Rating: 286 / 113 = 2.5

3.       The result, rounded to the nearest whole number, is the Course Handicap = 3

For those of you who are a little more into math, that's 2.2 x 130 / 113 = 2.5, which is rounded up to the nearest whole number, 3. 

After a few pointers from Tom, Joe quickly figures out that his 25.2 Handicap Index and the Slope Rating of 115 from the forward tees translates to a Course Handicap of 25: 25.2 x 115 / 113 = 25.2, which is rounded to 25.

Or, to skip the math portion entirely, simply enter the Handicap Index and the Slope Rating into the USGA's Course Handicap calculator.

Now that both players have their Course Handicap, does anyone else think it's unfair for Tom to be playing with a Course Handicap of 3, while Joe is playing with a Course Handicap of 25 from a shorter set of tees? Isn't this supposed to be equal? But wait – remember earlier when we noted the difference between the two USGA Course Ratings (72-67 = 5)? Well, to put both players on the same level, you simply add the rounded difference between the two USGA Course Ratings to the Course Handicap of the competitor playing from the higher-rated set of tees. Tom is now playing to a Course Handicap of 8 – bringing this match to a much more equitable range for both players.

It's important to keep in mind that certain constants exist, like the standard Slope Rating of 113 as the divisor. And even though a lot of fingers and toes may be required to do the math needed, the end result helps create an equal playing field and hopefully saves the head scratching for what kind of sandwich you're picking up at the turn. 

Jonathan Wilhelm is the USGA's social media specialist. Email him at jwilhelm@usga.org.

 

 

 

What's in the bag:
 
Driver:  Sub 70 639D - 9.5; :cleveland-small: Launcher HB Turbo; :mizuno-small: ST 190 
FW Wood: :tour-edge: Tour Edge EXS 220 - 15*; :mizuno-small: ST 180 14*
Hybrids:  PXG 0311 22
Utility Irons: :wilson_staff_small: Staff Model Utilities 18, 21, 24*;  Lynx VT Stinger - 16*
Irons::wilson_staff_small: D7 Forged; :benhogan-small:PTx Pro, :macgregor-small: VIP 1025 V-Foil MB/CB; :wilson_staff_small: Progressives (circa 1993)

Wedges:  :cleveland-small: CBX -2, :benhogan-small:Riviera 52-56-60; :wilson_staff_small: Staff Model
Putter:   :edel-golf-1:  Willamette,  :bettinardi-small: BB8,  :benhogan-small:Baby Ben

Ball: :bridgestone-small: Tour B X (2020); :srixon-small: Z-STAR XV

Stat Tracker/GPS Watch: :ShotScope:


 
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Oh lord, you'd hope the better player would move forward and be social. Glad it wasn't a four ball match with 3 tees involved!

 

 

The R and A issue guidance to help with handicaps in matchs - but playing off different tees would be much less common in the UK.

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A friend of mine that is a 2 HCP never liked to move forward. He said that it brought all the trouble into play for him. I would move back, but I get tired of always hitting 3w or hybrids for second shots with many shots around the green trying to save par. And then there are the par 3's!

 

I don't see why playing different tees is not being social. Walking or riding together from one tee to the next is easy to do.

We don’t stop playing the game because we get old; we get old because we stop playing the game.”

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At my former club our member member was an A and a B player with the handicap divide as the median between the two groups.  The A players usually topped out at between an 8 and a 9 with the B players up to a 24.  The tournament was played from the back tees which put the course at about 6,800 yards and this was equalized out by having a Pinehurst format.   The tournament was a lot of fun and and helped smooth out the field.  I have to agree that I am generally not a huge fan of moving to forward tees especially on courses that I play a bit since the club selection off the tee could be challenging.  Just as people don't like hitting three woods and hybrids into par 4s I am not a fan of hitting three wood and iron off the the tee on most holes to avoid the trouble that I would face with driver.  In my normal Saturday group I play the tips and the other guys play the member tees and it is never really an issue since I hit first and then we move up.  Helps keep the game social and the guys I play with don't have an issue with this format.

In the Bag for 2020

PXG 0811XF Gen 2 10.5* (set at 9*) AD VR 6x

PXG 0341X Gen 2 15* AD TP 7x

PXG 0317X Gen 2 19* KBS Proto 95x

PXG 0311T Gen 3 4-6 KBS $ Taper 130

PXG 0311 ST 7 - PW KBS $ Taper 130

PXG 0311 Sugar Daddy 50/10 KBS $ Taper 130

PXG 0311 Sugar Daddy 54/10 & 58/07 TTDG TI S400

:rife-putters-1: Two Bar Blade Long 47"

 

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At my former club our member member was an A and a B player with the handicap divide as the median between the two groups.  The A players usually topped out at between an 8 and a 9 with the B players up to a 24.  The tournament was played from the back tees which put the course at about 6,800 yards and this was equalized out by having a Pinehurst format.   The tournament was a lot of fun and and helped smooth out the field.  I have to agree that I am generally not a huge fan of moving to forward tees especially on courses that I play a bit since the club selection off the tee could be challenging.  Just as people don't like hitting three woods and hybrids into par 4s I am not a fan of hitting three wood and iron off the the tee on most holes to avoid the trouble that I would face with driver.  In my normal Saturday group I play the tips and the other guys play the member tees and it is never really an issue since I hit first and then we move up.  Helps keep the game social and the guys I play with don't have an issue with this format.

Ouch! I would not have a chance as an A player at 6800 yards. I managed to shoot +12 once at 6700 yards and other than hitting wedges, the only iron I hit was a 6 iron once on a par 3. But that was in Albuquerque where the course was over 6000 feet in elevation!!

 

I played the same course this year from 6400 yards, had more fun, and shot 79.

We don’t stop playing the game because we get old; we get old because we stop playing the game.”

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Last Friday I set up my annual Black Friday Golf Game.  This year I had 8 players and we selected a course that we do not normally play, but it is noted as a fun course to play.  Of the 8 players, 6 of them play from the Green or Senior Tees (5500 yds)and two of us play from the White tees (6000 yds). So we decide to all play from the Senior Tees with the two others(myself included) subtracted 4 points from our handicap.  Then we played total scores(foursome) less the handicap.

 

We played a $5 Nassau and it came out as follows:  We had 168 on the front & 140 on the back for a total net of 308.  The other foursome had 158 on the Front and 156 on the back for a total 314.  This means my group lost the front, won the back and overall, so we won $5.

 

All in all, Wayne & I thoroughly enjoyed our game, teeing from the Senior Tees and with the adjusted handicap, it was fair to all.

Driver: Tour Edge Exotics EXS w/Mitsubishi ck Blue regular shaft BACKUP DRIVER: Cobra F8 w/Mitsubishi ck Blue regular shaft  Fairways:  Cobra King F8 3W(14.5*) & 5W(18.5*) w/Mitsubishi ck Blue regular shaft Hybrids: Tour Edge CBX 119 4H(22*)  with Project X Evenflo regular shaft Irons: Wilson Staff D7 5 - PW w/Recoil 460 regular shafts Wedges: Wilson D7 GW(50*) & SW(54*) w/Recoil 460 regular shafts; Cleveland RTX Zipcore(58*) w/True Temper Spinner Wedge steel shaft  Putter: 33" Slotline SSi 693 mid mallet Bag: Cobra Ultralite Cart Bag(Peacoat Blue).

 

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I'm struggling a bit folks - playing off forward tees makes you think, encourages you to not just smash driver and actually plot way round the course; that's good isn't it?

 

no you don't want to do that all the time but surely you play courses at times where this type of practice would help?

 

But hey it's supposed to be fun, so whatever you enjoy you should probably do.

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Rest in peace long sticks - I'll remember you

 

TM Burner Superfast 2.0 TP Regular

TM RBZ Stage 2 Fairway 14.5 stiff

Adams Blue Hybrid No. 3 stiff

Adams Super xtdHybrid 21.5 Stiff

 

Ping G30 4 and 5 Iron - Regular CFS Shaft

Ping i25 6 - PW Regular CFS Shaft

TM Y Groove Gap Wedge

Cleveland CG10 Sand Wedge

 

PingTR Piper Putter, adjustable shaft, SuperStroke Fatso

 

Titleist StaDry Cart Bag

 

Motocaddy S3 Pro Trolley

 

Foot Joy City, Adidas Boost Boa and Adidas Superstar shoes

 

Pro V1x in the summer, Titleist Velocity in the winter.

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Ouch! I would not have a chance as an A player at 6800 yards. I managed to shoot +12 once at 6700 yards and other than hitting wedges, the only iron I hit was a 6 iron once on a par 3. But that was in Albuquerque where the course was over 6000 feet in elevation!!

 

I played the same course this year from 6400 yards, had more fun, and shot 79.

In this format you would be fine as long as your partner was decently long off the tee.  I hit a lot of 3 woods and hybrids off the tees at this course and faired fine, not playing as long as the yardage would indicate.  The closing three holes are pretty brutal with two par 4's over 400 yards and a closing par 3 that plays 245 from the tips.

In the Bag for 2020

PXG 0811XF Gen 2 10.5* (set at 9*) AD VR 6x

PXG 0341X Gen 2 15* AD TP 7x

PXG 0317X Gen 2 19* KBS Proto 95x

PXG 0311T Gen 3 4-6 KBS $ Taper 130

PXG 0311 ST 7 - PW KBS $ Taper 130

PXG 0311 Sugar Daddy 50/10 KBS $ Taper 130

PXG 0311 Sugar Daddy 54/10 & 58/07 TTDG TI S400

:rife-putters-1: Two Bar Blade Long 47"

 

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The closing three holes are pretty brutal with two par 4's over 400 yards and a closing par 3 that plays 245 from the tips.

Is that all! I suppose the par 3 is all carry over water. If not, for me that would be a driver and my 58 SCOR; one putt for par. ;)

We don’t stop playing the game because we get old; we get old because we stop playing the game.”

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Is that all! I suppose the par 3 is all carry over water. If not, for me that would be a driver and my 58 SCOR; one putt for par. ;)

Actually it is a carry over water to a three tiered green.  When the pin is back right it is a full carry over water and front left a bit less.  Not the best finishing hole and has been know to kill a round or two.

 

Good story on that hole.  I played every Saturday with the same two guys and a rotating fourth.  One of the guys was notoriously cheap and when he got to 18 he would find the water a lot more often than he would find land.  After one particularly rough round he gets to 18 and tell me how tired he is of losing expensive balls in the lake and goes to his bag and grabs the ugliest Top Flite you could imagine....most range balls would look great compared to this ball.  Tees up a 3 wood and stripes a ball that never left the flag.  Hit the green takes one hop and drops in for an ace.  Most people would be thrilled to have their first ace and his only thought was that he was going to have to stare at that hideous Top Flite in a frame on his desk for eternity.

In the Bag for 2020

PXG 0811XF Gen 2 10.5* (set at 9*) AD VR 6x

PXG 0341X Gen 2 15* AD TP 7x

PXG 0317X Gen 2 19* KBS Proto 95x

PXG 0311T Gen 3 4-6 KBS $ Taper 130

PXG 0311 ST 7 - PW KBS $ Taper 130

PXG 0311 Sugar Daddy 50/10 KBS $ Taper 130

PXG 0311 Sugar Daddy 54/10 & 58/07 TTDG TI S400

:rife-putters-1: Two Bar Blade Long 47"

 

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