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Handicap, or "average strokes over par"?


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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!!

Just want to add to that. They use the top 10 out of the most recent 20 scores to calculate your index. If, for example, you played a few really good rounds and your index dropped, and then you continued to play at your normal level, soon your index would increase as those good rounds get pushed out of the 20 most recent.

 

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Just want to add to that. They use the top 10 out of the most recent 20 scores to calculate your index. If, for example, you played a few really good rounds and your index dropped, and then you continued to play at your normal level, soon your index would increase as those good rounds get pushed out of the 20 most recent.

 

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Also, if you don't have 20 scores posted, GHIN doesn't use the 10 lowest handicap differentials to calculate index.  Here's the table:

 

Number of acceptable scores          Handicap Differentials to be used

        5 or 6                                                      Lowest 1

        7 or 8                                                      Lowest 2

        9 or 10                                                    Lowest 3

       11 or 12                                                   Lowest 4

       13 or 14                                                   Lowest 5

       15 or 16                                                   Lowest 6

            17                                                       Lowest 7

            18                                                       Lowest 8

            19                                                       Lowest 9

            20                                                       Lowest 10

 

Also, it's not the lowest scores... it's the lowest differential, meaning a a higher score on a more difficult course may be used over a lower score on an easier course.

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I use  Free Golf Tracker...... because I'm too cheap to pay for a handicap I will never use, since I don't play competitively. I enter all my rounds, regardless of score. It has me at 8.6 right now.

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I always tend to shoot one or 2 really good scores and my index drops quickly, never seems to go back up that fast lol

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I was on my club handicap committee for a couple of seasons and can vouch for everything you guys are saying. Many players are willfully ignorant, others actively manage their handicap by sabotaging good rounds or failing to post their good scores, and still others maintain vanity handicaps so they can feel better about their games. And most casual golfers have only a vague idea of what it should be anyway. It's like herding cats

 

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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.

I forgot about ESC!!! Ugh. I had a 9 on hole 18 the other day! 2 tee shots went OB! I need to look up my ESC.

 

 

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I'm reading all of this, and even though I keep track of my handicap via the Louisiana Golf Association GHIN phone app, I really have no idea how all of this is figured. I do understand how my handicap gets better with an 80 at the Ocean Course vs my course in-town, but all of the other factors I have no clue on.

 

 

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Here is the info on the ESC

 

 

 

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Handicaps are one thing in this game I wish I really tracked. My league tracks them a little but most matches are only 9 holes until playoffs. They use the USGA handicap formulas but it's basically the average of your best 5 of 7 recent rounds.

 

The funny thing is, I kept a 7 for pretty much 2 years and almost always had to give strokes in my matches but now that I've got it down to a 4, I generally get strokes. Seems like I'm in that perfect handicap pocket.

 

 

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I forgot about ESC!!! Ugh. I had a 9 on hole 18 the other day! 2 tee shots went OB! I need to look up my ESC.

 

 

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If your index is 9.9 or lower the max score that you can post is a double bogey. If your index is 10.0 or higher, the max score is 7, for any hole, including par 3's.

That's what you post for the ESC score. If max is double, then any hole where your score is higher than a double, you make that hole a double and subtract the stroke or strokes from the overall score then post, so if you shoot 90 and max is double, you had 2 par 4's with a score of 8, you would subtract 4 strokes and you post 86.

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If your index is 9.9 or lower the max score that you can post is a double bogey. If your index is 10.0 or higher, the max score is 7, for any hole, including par 3's.

I don't like this rule one bit. I feel like it artificially keeps your handicap down.

 

 

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On a side note, if you have a really good round and shoot a score much lower than you normally score, the GHIN system will throw up a warning that says, score is outside of the this golfers normal range, and you have to say ok, or it won't post.

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I don't like this rule one bit. I feel like it artificially keeps your handicap down.

 

 

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In a way, but it also keeps people form intentionally have bad holes in their round to keep the hcp higher, i.e. "Accidentally" making a 9 or 10. There are already sandbaggers that cheat already, without the Equitable Stroke Control (ESC) there would be an even larger number. This scoring method just eliminates the bad hole or two that most of us have during the round

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I didn't know people would go so far as to intentionally put up a 9 to keep their handicap higher. Guess that's just one of those things I can't fathom since I'm not incredibly good at the game.

 

I think the handicap system is pretty fair, by not using the average over par method, especially because as we all know slope rating is not the same. Otherwise, you lose one ball OB and you're boned unless you can gain those strokes back.

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I didn't know people would go so far as to intentionally put up a 9 to keep their handicap higher. Guess that's just one of those things I can't fathom since I'm not incredibly good at the game.

 

I think the handicap system is pretty fair, by not using the average over par method, especially because as we all know slope rating is not the same. Otherwise, you lose one ball OB and you're boned unless you can gain those strokes back.

You'd be surprised at what people do. We had a guys shoot 69 from the tips, then post the score that he played the white tees. The differential is about 4 strokes. We've also had guys shoot low scores and then not post them at all. And yes there are people who want to win so badly in competitive golf that they will post scores to keep their hcp at a higher number, so when hey play in a tourney that uses hcp, they will always score much lower and win. I've seen here by a few guys. Typically we call them sandbaggers. Personally I put in the score for myself no matter what it is. I've posted scores in the last 2 months that range from 74 to 88.

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That's despicable. I don't know how you can hold up a trophy with pride if you had to pull a stunt like that to win.

 

 

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Very interesting thread. Most of the guys that I play with have legitimate handicaps because they belong to clubs where a pro or committee polices them or in a league.

 

I saw someone argue for the over par method but it doesn't work. You aren't going to be happy if I show up to play at most courses using 7 to 8 over par as my handicap because I play a tough course. My official USGA differential is 5.7 so you'd much prefer that I look at the chart at your course and more than likely get 6 rather than the 7 or 8 I get at mine depending on which set of tees I'm playing.

 

 

 

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On a side note, if you have a really good round and shoot a score much lower than you normally score, the GHIN system will throw up a warning that says, score is outside of the this golfers normal range, and you have to say ok, or it won't post.

Hahaha, I've had that happen a couple of times.
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I don't like this rule one bit. I feel like it artificially keeps your handicap down.

 

 

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Unless you're a 10.1 index. Then it artificially keeps your handicap up by counting all your 7s. It is imperfect either way

 

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Handicapping in Australia is managed centrally by Golf Australia (our USGA equivalent).

The calculation method is virtually the same, but our reduction factor is slightly lower, 0.93 as compared to 0.96.  This change was bought in after a few years of this system to help even out results across handicap levels, and it seems to have done that.

 

The main differences here, are twofold. Firstly, that competition rounds are the only rounds accepted for handicapping (initial rounds to get a handicap excepted)  All rounds need to be signed by a fellow competitor, or for initial rounds, a golfer with a registered handicap. Secondly, our handicaps are updated after every round, or occasionally after all rounds of a multi round competition are completed.

 

We have an "anchor" system (not sure if USGA does?) where handicaps can only go out by a maximum of 5 shots per calendar year. Exceptions can be made in cases of long term injuries etc, but these need to be approved by GA.

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