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Handicap, or "average strokes over par"?


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I've been reading some posts wherein folks comment on a handicap, and I had this discussion on-course with my buddy the other day.

When someone says, "I'm a 13 handicap," is that a LEGIT handicap, or GHIN, or are they simply thinking, "Well, I shoot around 85, so 13 over, therefore I'm a 13 handicap,"?

My scoring average since September has climbed almost 9 strokes, but my GHIN went from 5.7 to 7.5. In my last 20 rounds, 10 are in the 80's, 10 are in the nineties. I'm not a double-digit handicap, though.

So, when a person posts, "I'm a 30 handicap," does that mean they shoot 130???? Or, are they simply saying, "I average around 102?"

 

 

 

 

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Good topic.  I have some many casual golf friends that equate their handicap like you said.  When really handicap index as most of us know is your "Potential" of what you can shoot something like 1 out of every 5 rounds or so at your best.

 

This is timely as I just got my August 1st revision via email today, it's 18.9 and it shows my average score is 94.7 (not 90 or 91 as most would think) not a huge difference.  But I it explains why when I shoot 95 or 96 sometimes, I've had people say, you're a 24 not an 18.  I usually just smile and say, ok give me those extra 6 strokes then and lets go play..ha

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I think most people on average equate their handicap to shots over par. When talking to someone casually and I'm sizing them up, I'll add a couple strokes to that idea lol. I think with apps though that are offering handicaps such as The Grint this will start being more accurate. But for the most part, friends that I have questioned or dug deeper on, usually say "im a 13, i shoot 85"

 

 

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I would agree that most people equate Handicap to average score. I am about a 16 handicap, I say that since I'm no longer in a league I do not keep a Ghin as I have never needed one other than in league.. the last 4 rounds I have played were 88, 103, 87, 93.. At my lowest It was a 15.2.  but I do think MOST people think their handicap is the average strokes over par they shoot, and that is subjective in my opinion.. Just like driving distance I think people exaggerate for the sake of bragging rights.. 

 

I played league with a guy who was a 5 handicap (GHIN) yet never broke 85 in league. come to find out he only recorded his best rounds, anything over 85 was never recorded.. he admitted he wanted to show his handicap as a status symbol... WTF... LOL

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I would agree that most people equate Handicap to average score. I am about a 16 handicap, I say that since I'm no longer in a league I do not keep a Ghin as I have never needed one other than in league.. the last 4 rounds I have played were 88, 103, 87, 93.. At my lowest It was a 15.2.  but I do think MOST people think their handicap is the average strokes over par they shoot, and that is subjective in my opinion.. Just like driving distance I think people exaggerate for the sake of bragging rights.. 

 

I played league with a guy who was a 5 handicap (GHIN) yet never broke 85 in league. come to find out he only recorded his best rounds, anything over 85 was never recorded.. he admitted he wanted to show his handicap as a status symbol... WTF... LOL

That's the guy we all dream of getting paired against in a net tourney. :D

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I think most assume handicap means your average score, so someone who says they are a 10 has an average score of 82....so they are closer to a 6 or 7

 

My latest revision has me at a 15.6, yet my last 5 scores were all over 90. Most don't realize that a GHIN shows your "potential" to score and also eliminates blow up holes by using ESC.

 

The ESC for my handicap is 7, so I can't post higher than a 7 on any hole.

 

So let's say I played a round where I had 2 par 5's that I crapped the bed on and had a quad on one and a 10 on the other. Say I shot 91....in reality the 9 and 10 get turned in as 7's so I shaved off 5 strokes so the ESC score is 86.

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It's just like many other things in golf.  Either you know what you're talking about or you're full of s***.  And either way the result is only as good as the data inputted.  You'll get guys that sandbag up, guys that sandbag down, and guys that have no clue what a handicap is.

 

It's one of those things that is kind of convoluted and much harder to explain than it should be, but at the end of the day I still can't think of a better system to let a guy who shoots 65-70 play against a guy that shoots 80-85.

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I think most assume handicap means your average score, so someone who says they are a 10 has an average score of 82....so they are closer to a 6 or 7

 

My latest revision has me at a 15.6, yet my last 5 scores were all over 90. Most don't realize that a GHIN shows your "potential" to score and also eliminates blow up holes by using ESC.

 

The ESC for my handicap is 7, so I can't post higher than a 7 on any hole.

 

So let's say I played a round where I had 2 par 5's that I crapped the bed on and had a quad on one and a 10 on the other. Say I shot 91....in reality the 9 and 10 get turned in as 7's so I shaved off 5 strokes so the ESC score is 86.

Like you, I can post nothing higher than a 7 on any hole.   But that applies to a Par 3 as well as a Par 5, which is something that I don't understand.   Also, when I enter my index into a course computer, the difference between the regular tees and the senior tees is typically 2 strokes.   However, personally for me, I find the difference can be 4 strokes or more.   So when I play with the young bucks from the regular tees and post a score, sometimes I feel like I'm cheating for senior tee play.

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That's the guy we all dream of getting paired against in a net tourney. :D

Oh your killing me,,, LOL.. I was a 20 handicap playing a net toury and Pulled a Honest 85 outa my ass a few years ago.. we tied for 1st my partner was a 13 or 14 and shot an 87... 

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I think most people don't know the ins and outs of the handicap system, and probably don't care. They have no idea what ESC is, or which scores count and which ones don't. I think a lot of people will say their handicap is 13 because golfers better than them are a legit 10 and golfers worse than them are a legit 15, for example. Many people also use the highly accurate "average strokes over par" method... LOL

 

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I don't know what my handicap is now since I stopped keeping track of it.  I would imagine it would be somewhere around a 6 or so.  The course that I'm playing now is rated as a pretty easy course, and my last two rounds there were 72 and 74, but that by no means is saying I'm a scratch golfer.  Several years ago I I was a member at a course that was considerably more difficult and I got my handicap down to a 2 playing there, but very rarely shot anywhere near a 74 out there.  It was usually more in the 77-80 range.  On occasion I would get lower, but mainly fell in that range.  

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Ahhhhh Sh!t, mis-read.. Duh.. the Douche bag.. LOL

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Oh your killing me,,, LOL.. I was a 20 handicap playing a net toury and Pulled a Honest 85 outa my ass a few years ago.. we tied for 1st my partner was a 13 or 14 and shot an 87... 

Oh those aren't bad, as I 18 I come close each year to shooting an 85 or so.   But then it rolls out of my last 20 and my cap goes back from a 16 to 18 or so.    But the guy I was talking about wanting to play is the guy who says' he's a 7 so he's giving me 11 strokes, and he'll be lucky to break 90.    I can win that match, unless I just fall on my face. 

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The USGA is based on Handicap Differential NOT scores.  The score alone is not a good indicator of a player's ability.  An 85 on one course is not the same as an 85 on another course, or even an 85 from different tee boxes of the same course.  It's not just what you shoot, but where you shoot it.

 

FYI, most people that are aware of the GHIN system know that the top 10 handicap differentials are used to calculate a player's index.  But did you know that it's not just an average of the top 10?  The USGA multiplies the average of the top 10 handicap differentials by 0.96.  This factor is called the "bonus for excellence" and they say it's an incentive for players to improve their golf games!!

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Interesting topic. I am a "high handicap" but have no idea what my official handicap is. I typically shoot in the 90s so usually say my handicap is what my average score over par is. I know it is different.

If I had to guess, a lot of other higher handicappers tend to not keep an official handicap and do the same thing.

 

 

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This is, to me, a matter of knowledge or experience.  Many players know virtually nothing about the handicap system, so they'll us a number to get from par to their average score.  Of course, many of those will think their average is lower than it really is.  Those who have an official USGA handicap may tell you their index, or their handicap at their home course.  Those who truly understand will have looked at the slope rating of the course you're on, and will tell you their actual course handicap.  The thing is, unless you ask additional questions, you have no idea which of these is the number you're getting from a stranger.

 

And a word of clarification, GHIN is a handicap calculation service provided by the USGA to calculate a USGA handicap.  However, state and regional golf associations are not required to use GHIN, they're only required to do the calculations and follow the rules of the USGA Handicap Manual, so some of them use their own calculation service, or do them in-house.  So you don't have a GHIN handicap index, you have a USGA Handicap Index.  GHIN is just the computation service they use in your region.

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Before I kept a GHIN I would tell whoever what typical scores I shot. This year im not keeping a GHIN, so I just tell last years, which was a 12..before injuries a couple of years ago I was as low as 9.

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People don't realize handicap is a measure of potential, not averages and course difficulty comes into play

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Oh those aren't bad, as I 18 I come close each year to shooting an 85 or so. But then it rolls out of my last 20 and my cap goes back from a 16 to 18 or so......

 

You sandbagging son......

 

 

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People don't realize handicap is a measure of potential, not averages and course difficulty comes into play

I agree, that many people don't know that one gets an "index" to be used to determine a specific handicap at a specific course using specific tees.  Fortunately, most of the actual tournaments that I have played required that a USGA approved index is documented.  Outside of them, it is mostly charity events and friendly impromptu outings arranged for fun, so I don't worry about what some perceive to be their handicaps.  In those type of events, I just go have a good time.

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