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What Is Your Real Handicap?


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Here's the other problem with the handicap system...while I can't tell you if there is a better way to account for differences in course difficulty than a slope rating, I can tell that it simply doesn't work very well. My home course is extremely difficult by local standards. Many holes are narrow, all 18 have white stakes, and a few have them on both sides. The rough is thick (really thick right now...they've left it high since the US Open Qualifier we hosted last month), and where there isn't rough, there's 3 foot high heather. Basically, if you're not in the fairway, your nowhere, and a drive that's 25 yards offline, is often OB. That's all supposed to be adequately represented in the slope rating, but again...it doesn't translate to my game. The majority of my lost strokes come from balls OB...most of the rest come from poor chipping. Eliminate either from the equation, and I'm going to beat my handicap every time.

 

Resurrecting an old topic, but I found this observation to be very true and pertinent to my own situation. When I was up north in Wisconsin, I belonged to a club that was fairly wide open and, more importantly, had somewhat extreme clay based soil. Rough, except for a few weeks in May and June, was wispy and minimal (they had a center pivot irrigation system). You could be all over the place on your drives without being severely penalized in the majority of cases. Being that I learned on that course, I became a somewhat long but also somewhat wild player off the tee. Got to the stage of generally having an 11-14 handicap (ch). But it sure didn't travel well, and would consistently have bad rounds when playing on other courses around the city and the state, and since my partners and clients loved to play for significant wagers, also cost me some bucks.

 

So, I move to Jacksonville and become a member of the Valley course at Sawgrass. Slope is 130 white/131 blue (how does that happen with 400 yards diff between tees?) versus 127/131 at the old club. But the Valley course is hazard one side and hazard or ob other side on every hole, plus very, very tough bermuda rough. Moreover, as a Pete Dye course, you have significant mounding on one side of most holes and, when there are water hazards, there is usually a 20 to 25 foot steep slope leading down to the water. The rough on its own is almost impossible to hit a full shot out of. But when you're in the mounds, difficulty multiplied because of severe uphill/downhill/sidehill lies. And if you happen to hit in the water, your drop is into the rough on a steep sidehill lie. Virtually a guaranteed double bogey anytime you push or pull into the water. They play the last tournament of the Web.com tour on the Valley course and it has by far the highest stroke averages of the tour--even those guys can't recover from the rough. I saw one poor guy get a 9 on a par four hitting the exact same shots I end up hitting a lot--drive in the rough, hack it 20 yards ahead off an uphill lie, hack it again 25 yards again off a downhill lie, get it up near the green, but still in the rough, bad chip to the fringe 'cause you can't get the club on it cleanly, and whatever you can do from there.

 

How is this course about the same slope as my club up north? I've learned to drive a heck of a lot straighter and feel I am a way better ball striker now than I was up north (my short game sucks), but my handicap is 6 strokes higher! I am convinced if I went back and played a few rounds on the old course that I'd be breaking 80 regularly. My last three rounds off the Valley course are 81 at King & Bear at WG Village, 84 on St Johns Golf & Country Club and 89 at Northhampton, but just got my new handicap index and its still 14.7 (CH 17).

 

I am convince the Valley course is at least 6 if not more strokes harder than my old course, even though the slopes are not that different (and the same from the blues).

Nonchalant putts count the same as chalant putts.

In my Ogio Ozone XX Cart Stand Bag:

Ping G400 10.5 Deg Driver, stock Stiff shaft
TM Rocketballz 19 Deg 5 Wood, stock Matrix Osik Stiff shaft
TM Rocketballz Stage 2 21 Deg Tour 4 Hybrid, Rocketfuel 80h Stiff shaft 

Callaway Apex CF 16 Irons, 4-P, Stiff Shafts
 
Scor 48 and 55 degree wedges.  
Renegar 60 Deg Steel Shaft Lob Wedge

TM Ghost Spider Si 38" Counterbalanced Putter

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Supposedly a course receives its rating and slope from its normal conditions. We had this discussion in another thread and that's what the USGA says it tries to do.

 

I've certainly seen some courses where I wonder and we've all seen our own courses take on a different vesture when set up for tournament play. Consider also what happens when a course is used for a US Open or another Major - I well recall that Whistling Straits was totally transformed for a year before its first PGA - they decided they wanted a different grass for all of the fairways - a grass that totally destroyed the course in my opinion because it was transformed from playing fast and firm to station to station. At any rate when a regular tour event is played on a course it typically will yield a winning score of 15 under, play a PGA there and it will be around 8 under, play a US Open there and it will be around 2 under. Same course, different set up philosophies.

 

Bottom line, you can take solice in the fact that you now have a handicap that travels exceedingly well. I'll remember that should you like to slum it down south next summer. :)

Ping G410 - set at 12 degrees, fade setting - Fujikura Motore X R flex

Ping G410 5-9 wood

G30 6-PW -  Aerotech FT 500 shafts

SCOR 48,52,56,60

EVNRoll ER 5

Titleist Pro VIx optic yellow with revkev stamped on them

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Supposedly a course receives its rating and slope from its normal conditions. We had this discussion in another thread and that's what the USGA says it tries to do.

 

I've certainly seen some courses where I wonder and we've all seen our own courses take on a different vesture when set up for tournament play. Consider also what happens when a course is used for a US Open or another Major - I well recall that Whistling Straits was totally transformed for a year before its first PGA - they decided they wanted a different grass for all of the fairways - a grass that totally destroyed the course in my opinion because it was transformed from playing fast and firm to station to station. At any rate when a regular tour event is played on a course it typically will yield a winning score of 15 under, play a PGA there and it will be around 8 under, play a US Open there and it will be around 2 under. Same course, different set up philosophies.

 

Bottom line, you can take solice in the fact that you now have a handicap that travels exceedingly well. I'll remember that should you like to slum it down south next summer. :)

 

Well, since the Web.com event is now a permanent fixture, and will host the tour finale this year, I guess we're destined for the tour setup for 5 months a year, plus they have permanently narrowed the fairways on half the holes. Field averaged 1.72 over par for the tournament in 2012 and winner was only 10 under. Due for a re-rating I would guess. I have expanded the use of my 3+ RBallz Tour Spoon by two holes, which has helped. Here's an accurate summary of the challenges of the course. http://www.pgatour.com/webcom/news/2012/10/15/dyesvalley.html

 

BTW, I tend to think of Tampa as mostly west of here, although you do have 100+ miles of south in there, I suppose. Also, what's the next summer bit, aren't you playing golf now?

Nonchalant putts count the same as chalant putts.

In my Ogio Ozone XX Cart Stand Bag:

Ping G400 10.5 Deg Driver, stock Stiff shaft
TM Rocketballz 19 Deg 5 Wood, stock Matrix Osik Stiff shaft
TM Rocketballz Stage 2 21 Deg Tour 4 Hybrid, Rocketfuel 80h Stiff shaft 

Callaway Apex CF 16 Irons, 4-P, Stiff Shafts
 
Scor 48 and 55 degree wedges.  
Renegar 60 Deg Steel Shaft Lob Wedge

TM Ghost Spider Si 38" Counterbalanced Putter

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Share on other sites
  • 2 weeks later...

I thought we were going to talk about having 1 mouth and 2 hands being our handicaps....

 

Good post though.

 

Yea, I was thinking the same thing. :D

 

I play on a league with a few of the "sandbagger" types. I always try to play the best I can. I really don't know what my HC is, but I would guess around 11-13.

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