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Forrest Fezler, remembered for protesting USGA by playing 18th hole of 1983 U.S. Open wearing shorts, has diedBy GolfSpy STUDque
From the news feed today.
It's sad that the first time I've heard this story was for Forest Fezler's passing but I'm glad to have read it nonetheless (I'm actually younger than the event itself 😊). Besides the fact that he had a hell of a golfer name, I think it's so awesome he had the guts to publicly throw a middle finger to the USGA in its biggest event. It's one thing to do it before missing the cut, it's another to do en route to a runner up finish on the 72nd hole.
I'm sure this was quite controversial when it happened but could you imagine how bad it would be if someone did it now??? Social media would explode.
Check out the full story here: CLICK HERE
Colorado Springs, CO - The Broadmoor is hosting the 39th U.S. Senior Open this week.
The Broadmoor is celebrating its centennial this year. Over a rich 100 year history, the resort has hosted 8 USGA Championships (6 on the East Course). The 2018 US Senior Open is shaping up to be yet another feather in the cap of this 'AAA Five Diamond' facility's impressive list of successful USGA Championships beginning with Jack Nicklaus' victory in the 1959 U.S. Amateur.
Playing at ~6000 feet of altitude, the old farts are hitting the ball comparable distances to their younger counterparts on the PGA Tour. A looming front range uplift (Cheyenne Mountain) often makes the most experienced green readers appear illiterate. And as is typical of USGA Championships, firm and fast pre-cut conditions seem to be setting the field up for a 'War of Attrition' over the weekend.
Who among my fellow Spies is following the tourney this week? Will the USGA let another property "get away" from them over the weekend? Who will take home the hardware? Anyone else planning to attend the event this week?
Here is a link to Mark Crossfield's vlog featuring MyGolfSpy talking about the recently released USGA/RNA Distance Report.
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By Kenny B
Last week on Tuesday and Wednesday I observed the Washington State Golf Association (WSGA) process for rating golf courses. Why did I do this? Well, I was curious why I could shoot certain scores on some courses, but not fair that well on other courses with similar ratings and slopes. I'm still not sure about that, but at least I now know (sort of) the process used to come up with those ratings.
The team was led by the WSGA Director for Handicapping and Course Rating who is a WSGA employee. The five other team members are volunteers that have gone through a training program to learn the process. Each member has a USGA book that provides a number value for different features of the course for the scratch golfer and the 18-handicapper; for both men and women. All the number values for the holes are crunched to come up with the values we see on the scorecards. I didn't get into that, so how that works will be left up to those who want to volunteer and take the ratings course. The team can either break up and rate alternate holes, or they can all stay on the same hole and rate the different teeing grounds. We did the latter; maybe that was for my benefit so we could all be together.
The criteria for rating courses assumes a scratch male golfer hits a drive 250 yards and a second shot 220 yards, whereas the bogey golfer hits a drive 200 yards with a 170 yard second shot. For the female scratch golfer, the drive is 210 yards with a 190 yard second shot, and the drive for the bogey female is 150 yards with a 130 yard second shot.
These numbers are important because what we did on each hole is drive to the spot in the fairway where the scratch and bogey players would end up and measure fairway width, observe types of hazards and distance to them, and distance to OB is any. If a bunker on the course was not within 20 yards of the landing area, it is not considered for that player. From the tables in their book, a number is assigned for the scratch and bogey players. Also considered are number and coverage of trees and the fairway stance difficulty. Around the greens the team measures the green size, coverage of bunkers and bunker depth with women getting a more difficult value depending on depth. Again, distances to hazards and OB is recorded and the tables in their book assign the number for both scratch and bogey. Of course green speed is measured as is the depth of the fairway rough. The team does these ratings in pairs, and after the hole has been evaluated, the pairs get together and compare numbers and if they don't agree, they resolve it immediately. We did that a couple of times by going back to the spot on the course and re-evaluating the landing zone.
The first course that we rated was Horn Rapids GC in Richland, WA. This course is the only all desert course in the state. There are houses on part of the course with more being built every day, but they don't come into play except for the really bad shot. The team is measuring the green on this short par 4 #1 with bunker in front and mounding left and long. These houses are the closest of any on the course.
Check out the sagebrush that comes into play on this par 5 #5.
The desert also comes across the fairway off the tee that is reachable by the scratch golfers and very close for the bogey golfers. For scratch it is considered a forced layup. The USGA book has a section specific for deserts.
From the tips this 220 yard par 3 #8 plays downhill. The team also measures elevation change which also translates into a number from USGA table.
The short par 4 #9 is difficult because the water is right next to the green on the left with a drop off on the right about 10 feet to a bunker. That tree comes into play if your are on the left side of the fairway.
This course is hilly and quite long between greens to the next tee box, and while walkable, carts are recommended. Rating this course took all day, but after the data was gathered, some of the team members played the course; one of the perks of being on the committee.
On day 2 the team went to the West Richland GC in West Richland, WA. This was my very first course that I played in town, and where I learned to play. My teacher is still the pro there. We played the course this last Sunday and with a sore rib muscle, I still managed to shoot 78. It's an easy, flat course in a flood plain, and it floods most every year. The Yakima River borders the right side of the course which is the back nine and a canal runs through the middle of #1, #9, #10, #11, and #12. Since it floods, maintenance is difficult and as such the course is usually pretty rough.
This is a picture this winter looking out at the #18 fairway from the clubhouse. The canal is actually above water, about 150 yards from the green.
The water is all gone, but the grass has not fully recovered in some spots on the course. Here is the team on the short par 4 #10 green.
Standing on the 190 yard #11 tee box looking through the grass bordering the canal. The river is left of the green.
After going through the process, I understand what they are looking for to determine difficulty of a course, but that doesn't mean that I necessarily agree with the ratings and slope they come up with. It's not a perfect model, but I think it is at least consistent in the application. The Director said that the USGA course rating system will undergo some changes in 2018 in an effort for the all rating systems worldwide to conform to one process. THAT ought to be interesting.
To sum up my experience, I now appreciate what the rating committee goes through to rate our courses. The Director has personally rated every course in Washington State, some many times. But it would not be possible without the help of non-paid volunteers. One of the volunteers was local, but the others all came from the Seattle area which is over 200 miles away. It's a constant process given how many courses there are in the state. Most volunteers are retired, which is how they are able to contribute as much as they do. Do I want to do this? Ahhh, NO!
By GolfSpy Barbajo
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
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 IndexÂ® 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 RatingÂ® 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 â€“ 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 â€“ 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 email@example.com.
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