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Handicap, or "average strokes over par"?


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I started using mscorecard app on iPhone. I wanted to accurately keep a handicap over time and this one updates after every round. It also keeps track of my fir, putts per round, gir, sand shots, chips, saves and save attempts which is actually has been very valuable information for me in truly keeping track of not just my overall handicap but my true strengths and weaknesses. It also takes into account the handicap of each hole and the course in figuring my handicap after each round.

 

I consider myself a pretty casual golfer but all this information really keeps me in touch with my game as a whole

 

 

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I would wager that many people that post to GHIN don't even know what ESC is and don't use it.  Their index is artificially inflated and certainly gives them an advantage.  

 

Also, I have seem people playing in the daily gangsome record a big number when they are out of the hole.  Gangsome is four players, taking the two best scores per hole.  If the team has two pars and a player at best could get a bogey that wouldn't count towards the team score, they will muff a shot or three putt from 6 feet on purpose to record a 7.  Over 18 holes this sandbagging technique can be substantial.  Technically, they should post the score the would expect to get based on their course handicap and the difficulty rating for the hole.

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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

Vanity handicaps

 

 

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The Grint app provides a usga compliant handicap. Best app out there for tracking imo

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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.

This sounds a lot more equitable and addresses the problem of sandbagging fairly directly. I like it

 

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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.

Many of us in the USGA system remember that just a couple of years, we were no longer allowed to post scores we played on our own.  There was outrage, a feeling that the USGA no longer trusted solo golfers.  I believe that change was the first step towards a unified global handicap system, bringing the USGA just a little closer to systems like this in Australia, and similar "competition only" requirements in the UK and other places.  If all goes as planned, we'll all be using the same handicap system by 2020, so we can all expect to see substantial changes over the next few years.

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It's been an interesting process here.

 

Handicaps used to be managed at Club level, and needed to be manually calculated. If you we worse than the "buffer" zone for your given handicap, your handicap would go out by 0.1, if you were better, it came down by a however many shots better you were multiplied by whatever factor (0.1,0.2,0.3 or 0.4 depending on handicap range) Handicaps took years to move out significantly.

 

Handicaps dropped for sub 18, and went up for above 18 (generally)

 

The system had slope added to it, and they have reinstated a Daily Scratch Rating, which takes the all of the scores in a competition into account. For example last week the DSR for my club was 75 (3 over) due to 30 mph winds. If everyone scores well, the DSR can go down to 1 under, which was recently changed from as low as 3 under.

 

It's become very complex, but most clubs use software to work it all out, with increasing numbers of clubs scanning scorecards. This is all uploaded when all scores are returned, and processed automatically. Golfers with too many "No Score Returned" entries can be asked for an explanation, either at club level, or at a higher level if they want to enter state level events with strict handicap limits.

 

Overall it's been an improvement, and has probably been a bit of a test case for the world wide handicapping system that's being proposed.

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Many of us in the USGA system remember that just a couple of years, we were no longer allowed to post scores we played on our own.  There was outrage, a feeling that the USGA no longer trusted solo golfers.  I believe that change was the first step towards a unified global handicap system, bringing the USGA just a little closer to systems like this in Australia, and similar "competition only" requirements in the UK and other places.  If all goes as planned, we'll all be using the same handicap system by 2020, so we can all expect to see substantial changes over the next few years.

There was a similar outcry here when it GA was going to allow solo rounds. They quickly changed their mind when nearly every golfer complained. It's a real contrast. This may be due to how much competition golf we play here. The vast majority of golf played here is in a formal competition.

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In our weekend group, we play a modified Stableford - 1 point for bogey, 2 for par, three for birdie, 4 for eagle - (I suppose we will figure out if anyone ever gets an albatross!).  Subtract your handicap (GHIN) on the course from 36, and that becomes your "GOAL"   total up all your points on the course, and highest score (positive, meaning above your "GOAL" is the winner. 

 

Easy enough, however we have a few high handicappers (25 -30) meaning all they need to do is score a few pars and they are in the money- so to combat that we have come up with a rule (actually named after the gentleman who was the worst offender) whereby triple bogey was MINUS one point, quad was MINUS two points... incentivizing the reduction of "blow-up holes!"

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Back in the 1800s in Scotland they used to have gathering parties before the competition (about what we would think of as a Calcutta). During the party the committee would draw each participants name out one by one for "the assigning of strokes". They would announce the player and what they thought the player's handicap should be then the crowd would shout the number up or down until they got general consensus. Since everyone got the same treatment no one could ****** much. Sounds awesome

 

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I'm learning a ton from this thread, you guys are providing some quality information here so thanks for that. The thread started with talking about people basically guessing at their handicap based on what they usually score, and being a high handicapper I can see how this is the easy thing to do. When you shoot 100 plus on the regular it gets old writing everything down and having written proof of how much you suck. Let alone turning that into an actual handicap number. Also when you shoot that high you're probably too embarrassed to play in a tournament, leaving you with very little reason to find your handicap. This feels like one of those things that keep people from really getting into and enjoying golf. I know for me it's easier to play by myself than organize other people to play with, and because of a sporadic family schedule, to play tournament golf is near impossible. This leaves me with little opportunity to get a legitimate handicap in the current system. I recently got curious what my handicap might be though and realized I had data for 3 courses of very different slopes so I decided to calculate all of them and take the average. I was surprised to be at just a 23 I would have guessed much higher. I hope to be sub 20 by the end of this year.

 

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@hackabilly, get an app like the grint. It is actually an official handicap but a free way to see how you are trending in lots of areas. I use the free version and it provides a lot of useful information in addition to handicap

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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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30+ has the potential to shoot 102. If more players understood that they would be a lot less upset with those 110+ scores.

 

 

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

Ok so I'd like to know more about the potential you mention. I religiously log my scores into GHIN. I just assumed (being a newbie) that GHIN just averaged the last 20 scores to come up with the "handicap'.

 

The other twist is that over the last two days I played 18 at two different courses. The second 18 was from a different tee box (adding about 700 yds) how does the added length change the handicap index ?

 

 

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Ok so I'd like to know more about the potential you mention. I religiously log my scores into GHIN. I just assumed (being a newbie) that GHIN just averaged the last 20 scores to come up with the "handicap'.

 

The other twist is that over the last two days I played 18 at two different courses. The second 18 was from a different tee box (adding about 700 yds) how does the added length change the handicap index ?

 

 

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Potential meaning that you have done it before, your handicap will never be lower than what your lowest score is. The system uses the lowest 10 scores based on differential to par out of the last 20 rounds played.

There is a calculation that you can look up to see how the differential is figured. When posting in GHIN you use the course you played and the set of tees you played, the system calculates the differential for you. Do some reading up on it, it may be easier to understand that way. It's difficult to explain here. If you look at you scorecard in GHIN you will see differential. The system will use the lowest 10 of those scores for your index.

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Ok so I'd like to know more about the potential you mention. I religiously log my scores into GHIN. I just assumed (being a newbie) that GHIN just averaged the last 20 scores to come up with the "handicap'.

 

The other twist is that over the last two days I played 18 at two different courses. The second 18 was from a different tee box (adding about 700 yds) how does the added length change the handicap index ?

 

 

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The slope changes based on the course and tees you play

 

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30+ has the potential to shoot 102. If more players understood that they would be a lot less upset with those 110+ scores.

 

 

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A 30 has the potential to shoot less than 100 depending on the course rating and slope.  

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Ok so I'd like to know more about the potential you mention. I religiously log my scores into GHIN. I just assumed (being a newbie) that GHIN just averaged the last 20 scores to come up with the "handicap'.

 

The other twist is that over the last two days I played 18 at two different courses. The second 18 was from a different tee box (adding about 700 yds) how does the added length change the handicap index ?

 

 

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The formula is

((Your score - par for the course)x 113)/ the slope of the course you played

 

This is somewhat simplified but basically that's it. Technically "your score" should be your adjusted gross score, and "par for the course" is the usga rating of the course. But for your own purposes this will work. The slope of the course can usually be found somewhere on the score card. The slope is what gives you credit for playing a harder course vs. Calculating a straight up average.

 

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The formula is

((Your score - par for the course)x 113)/ the slope of the course you played

 

This is somewhat simplified but basically that's it. Technically "your score" should be your adjusted gross score, and "par for the course" is the usga rating of the course. But for your own purposes this will work. The slope of the course can usually be found somewhere on the score card. The slope is what gives you credit for playing a harder course vs. Calculating a straight up average.

 

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Thanks. Again these are newbie questions so I apologize in advance:

 

Is a higher slope more or less difficult? Also how do using different tee boxes impact the handicap on the same course. As an example if I played the same course two days in a row - once from tee=6000 yds and the second day tee=5300 yds. Both days the score is 90. How does that impact the handicap.

 

 

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Ok so I'd like to know more about the potential you mention. I religiously log my scores into GHIN. I just assumed (being a newbie) that GHIN just averaged the last 20 scores to come up with the "handicap'.

 

The other twist is that over the last two days I played 18 at two different courses. The second 18 was from a different tee box (adding about 700 yds) how does the added length change the handicap index ?

 

 

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As others have said, slope, but also course rating. Let's say you play at a course with a rating of 69.4. You might have to shoot an 83 to play "to your handicap." But if the rating was much higher, say 73.8, you would only have to shoot something like an 87 to play to your handicap.

 

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