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Covid Handicaping?

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Due to the Covid pandemic, my course has now taken away all golf carts, raised the cups and taken out flags on putting greens among other things.  I am just grateful they are still open.  The other day I was scrolling through Instagram and saw a quick humorous video of a man putting on greens with raised cups.  He was about 6' away and hit his putt pretty hard to get the ball to bounce off of the raised cup.  It hit the cup and he yells out "birdie!"  He does this again on another hole from about 25', takes a slapshot, and again the ball bounces off the cup and excitedly yells again, "Birdie, this could be a record round."

My question is this, with courses with raised cups, should we be posting scores now towards our handicap?  I mean I can see both sides of the coin here.  On one hand one can say if you hit the green you should be able to 2 putt so just give it a shot.  On the other hand, there are no lip outs now so speed does not matter.  You could hit your putt harder than usual to take out break.  If this is the case, won't handicaps this year be lower than they actually should be?  I know the USGA said scores are legit but, what are your thoughts on this? 


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While I'm keeping score I'm not posting in GHIN. Primarily because you can't see the pin location on your approach shots. Most of our greens are elevated and cups inverted but not sticking above the surface of the green so on most you can't see the cup until you're almost on them. Normally I'm pretty diligent about posting every score - good or bad on GHIN - but until normalcy returns I'm considering these 'practice rounds. 

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I think I would treat any round like that as practice, or if there are rules for temporary greens maybe follow those?

I think in match play rounds if you’re given a putt for any reason you are supposed to record your “most likely” score from that spot. I feel like that would be good as well.


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That is a tough one and honestly just like Tony's reply I would just consider those as practice rounds, keep score, yes, unfortunately not count against or in favor to the handicap index.

Unfortunately here in Michigan the courses are closed until the end of this month, so backyard golf it is.

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The USGA has specifically addressed this issue:

https://www.usga.org/content/usga/home-page/articles/2020/03/covid-19-rules-guidance-statement.html

Quote

a temporary measure is in place within the United States to accept scores played under these conditions for handicap purposes using the most likely score guidelines, even though the player has not holed out. 

So unless the Committee for your club has decided NOT to post scores, you're supposed to (required to) post them.  Of course "most likely" requires each player to use some judgement.  A ball that just barely nicks a raised cup liner would probably not have gone in, so I wouldn't count it.  A ball that's going WAY too fast would be similar.  And you might have a different handicap score than you do for your competition, if your local rules say that any ball that touches the raised cup is considered holed.


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18 minutes ago, DaveP043 said:

The USGA has specifically addressed this issue:

https://www.usga.org/content/usga/home-page/articles/2020/03/covid-19-rules-guidance-statement.html

So unless the Committee for your club has decided NOT to post scores, you're supposed to (required to) post them.  Of course "most likely" requires each player to use some judgement.  A ball that just barely nicks a raised cup liner would probably not have gone in, so I wouldn't count it.  A ball that's going WAY too fast would be similar.  And you might have a different handicap score than you do for your competition, if your local rules say that any ball that touches the raised cup is considered holed.

Yeah, I saw the USGA ruling on this and thought, how many people would be truthful about this?   Like you said, if the ball just grazes the hole it would be doubtful that the putt would have made it.  I'm like you, I would not count that, but I know a lot of guys that would.   I think when this is all over, there will be tons of tournaments that require handicaps and I just think there will be a lot of people upset that they are not as good as they thought they were.  This will just make it easier for me I'm guessing.  I just thought this was interesting. 


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15 minutes ago, ballplayer002003 said:

Yeah, I saw the USGA ruling on this and thought, how many people would be truthful about this?   Like you said, if the ball just grazes the hole it would be doubtful that the putt would have made it.  I'm like you, I would not count that, but I know a lot of guys that would.   I think when this is all over, there will be tons of tournaments that require handicaps and I just think there will be a lot of people upset that they are not as good as they thought they were.  This will just make it easier for me I'm guessing.  I just thought this was interesting. 

There will always be vanity caps, this is just one more mechanism.  I haven't played with the raised cups, but I know they'll change scoring a little.  Given the option is to disallow handicap posting for a significant portion of the season, I think the USGA's decision is reasonable.  All we need now is for all players to be reasonable.

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I agree with the "use reason" crowd.  I nearly holed out a pitch for birdie on a par 3 last week.  My boy, playing with me, said it definitely would have gone in if the hole had not had the "pool noodle" around the flagstick just below the ground level.  So... birdie it was.  I'm as much of a rules stickler as any, but this just makes sense.


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Here in UK most, if not all, courses are shut, so no option to post a score anyway.  Which is a shame I was on target to shave a few more off my handicap this season.  So I'm spending the time out to hopefully hone my skills a bit, so I can hit thr ground running.

Maybe suspending handicaps is a sensible option, as any drops due to the different playing conditions may well be a little artificial anyway, irrespective of the integrity of the players.

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The noodle in the cup actually makes me a better putter. When you watch the pros more times than not they have the confidence to bang it into the back of the cup essentially taking out the break on three to five foot putts. I’ve always struggled with this but the noddle helps me take away the fear of missing then rolling 10 feet past.

 

I’m not posting scores because I know it’s a false positive in regards to my specific golf game. In the absence of the noodle I would most likely miss a couple of those shorties every round.

 

 

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17 minutes ago, SteddyGolf said:

I’m not posting scores because I know it’s a false positive in regards to my specific golf game. In the absence of the noodle I would most likely miss a couple of those shorties every round.

Please understand, you are REQUIRED to post scores unless your club or state association has decided not to allow posting.  If you believe that a putt would have missed, you are supposed to use your best judgement in recording the Most Likely Score for handicap posting purposes.  I'm not trying to give anyone a hard time, but a system breaks down if each individual makes his own exceptions to the rules of that system.

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2 hours ago, DaveP043 said:

Please understand, you are REQUIRED to post scores unless your club or state association has decided not to allow posting.  If you believe that a putt would have missed, you are supposed to use your best judgement in recording the Most Likely Score for handicap posting purposes.  I'm not trying to give anyone a hard time, but a system breaks down if each individual makes his own exceptions to the rules of that system.

If he chooses to not posts scores during covid rules it’s really no different than playing a round and using multiple balls and not playing by the rules thus not posting a round. It’s essentially a practice round. 

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5 hours ago, RickyBobby_PR said:

If he chooses to not posts scores during covid rules it’s really no different than playing a round and using multiple balls and not playing by the rules thus not posting a round. It’s essentially a practice round. 

If he plays a round of golf, trying to shoot the lowest possible score, and plays by the rules (as allowed per the USGA COVID release), he is required to post.  The USGA specifically expanded the use of "most likely score" specifically because of the COVID measures.  No individual is allowed to CHOOSE not to post based on his personal opinion of the influence of some of the COVID precautions.  There's nothing in the rules about "practice rounds", a handicap committee will generally expect a player to post a score every single time he plays.  I wouldn't mind if the rules change (eventually) to the "rest of the world" model, competition stroke play scores and pre-registered casual rounds only, but for now every round is required to be posted in the USGA territories. 

I won't claim its a perfect choice on the part of the USGA.  I do believe, however, that posting and using "most likely score" is a better choice than completely suspending posting for handicaps.

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1 hour ago, DaveP043 said:

If he plays a round of golf, trying to shoot the lowest possible score, and plays by the rules (as allowed per the USGA COVID release), he is required to post.  The USGA specifically expanded the use of "most likely score" specifically because of the COVID measures.  No individual is allowed to CHOOSE not to post based on his personal opinion of the influence of some of the COVID precautions.  There's nothing in the rules about "practice rounds", a handicap committee will generally expect a player to post a score every single time he plays.  I wouldn't mind if the rules change (eventually) to the "rest of the world" model, competition stroke play scores and pre-registered casual rounds only, but for now every round is required to be posted in the USGA territories. 

I won't claim its a perfect choice on the part of the USGA.  I do believe, however, that posting and using "most likely score" is a better choice than completely suspending posting for handicaps.

The word required is kinda funny because there’s no fine, no one is arrested or banned from playing if they don’t post. What happens if one plays by the rules and is trying to get around the course in the least strokes possible but doesn’t keep score, is that an official round? While the rule book may not account for a “practice round” there’s lots of ways to play a round of golf that wouldn’t get entered as an official round.
 

If a person isn’t competing in any type of competition either at their course or anywhere else nobody is hurt by someone not posting during a period of time of adjusted rules of any other time.

 

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I live in Ireland and we're not on the World Handicap System until November of this year so considering posting these scores wasn't an issue here. 

We had about 2 weeks of play with raised cups before the Covid lockdown when all courses shut in Ireland. 

While I enjoyed being able to just get out and play and the novelty of putting to raised cup, I really don't think these rounds should count in anyway towards anyones handicap. I am a 7 h/c and am always happy if I play even within a couple of shots of that but the 3 rounds I had with the raised cups I shot +1, +4 and +7 gross... and I'm not that consistent! Yes, some of my putts hit plum in the middle of the raised cup, but who's to say if the pace was ok for them to drop on a normal day. Also a couple of putts that "grazed" the edge of the cup and counted as in but I doubt they would be in regular golf. 

Anyway, irrespective of handicaps, I'd give my right arm and probably half of my left leg just to get to go out and play with any type of cups at the moment so hopefully things get back to "normal" soon. 

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13 hours ago, RickyBobby_PR said:

The word required is kinda funny because there’s no fine, no one is arrested or banned from playing if they don’t post. What happens if one plays by the rules and is trying to get around the course in the least strokes possible but doesn’t keep score, is that an official round? While the rule book may not account for a “practice round” there’s lots of ways to play a round of golf that wouldn’t get entered as an official round.

If a person isn’t competing in any type of competition either at their course or anywhere else nobody is hurt by someone not posting during a period of time of adjusted rules of any other time.

There's no doubt that at many places there's really no oversight of handicap posting.  You can post any damn score you want to, you can manipulate your handicap up or down, and never face any consequence.  There are lots of "excuses" to use if the player doesn't want to post a score.  Personal opinion as to the appropriateness of posting isn't an acceptable excuse.   

Perhaps you aren't aware, but  when the system works as designed, when there's a Handicap Committee in place, doing its job, there ARE consequences.  If a player doesn't post a score, the Committee has the authority to research and to post the correct score.  The Committee can also post a Penalty Score to that player's record.  For continuing failure to post scores, the Committee can adjust that player's handicap, either by arbitrarily raising or lowering the most recent 20 scores by one or more strokes, or by setting the Handicap to remain unchanged at a specific number for a specific time period.  In the worst cases, the Committee can completely withdraw the player's handicap.  He can still play, but he will not have a handicap to be used in any net event.

If a player isn't ever using his handicap for competition, whether a formal event or a dollar bet with his buddies, I don't care what he does.  But if he's going to compete with other players, the ONLY right thing to do is to post by the same rules everyone else is required to use.  And right now, those rules (in USGA areas) require a player to post his scores, even if COVID measures make holing out putts impossible.

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1 hour ago, DaveP043 said:

There's no doubt that at many places there's really no oversight of handicap posting.  You can post any damn score you want to, you can manipulate your handicap up or down, and never face any consequence.  There are lots of "excuses" to use if the player doesn't want to post a score.  Personal opinion as to the appropriateness of posting isn't an acceptable excuse.   

Perhaps you aren't aware, but  when the system works as designed, when there's a Handicap Committee in place, doing its job, there ARE consequences.  If a player doesn't post a score, the Committee has the authority to research and to post the correct score.  The Committee can also post a Penalty Score to that player's record.  For continuing failure to post scores, the Committee can adjust that player's handicap, either by arbitrarily raising or lowering the most recent 20 scores by one or more strokes, or by setting the Handicap to remain unchanged at a specific number for a specific time period.  In the worst cases, the Committee can completely withdraw the player's handicap.  He can still play, but he will not have a handicap to be used in any net event.

If a player isn't ever using his handicap for competition, whether a formal event or a dollar bet with his buddies, I don't care what he does.  But if he's going to compete with other players, the ONLY right thing to do is to post by the same rules everyone else is required to use.  And right now, those rules (in USGA areas) require a player to post his scores, even if COVID measures make holing out putts impossible.

Well aware of the handicap committee and all that you state but for the most part those are non existent at many courses. 

I know you are a rules guy and it’s a passion of yours and we are going to not agree on the subject of requirements and posting. I’m with a steddy on this one and also one that chooses not to post even I follow all the rules when playing I dont keep score everytime on the course because keeping score imo isn’t a requirement when playing. There’s days I just want to play golf and enjoy the course. 
 

I know we can go back and forth on what’s right, wrong, the way it should be done and it will be a whole bunch of points getting repeated in different ways so I’ll leave our discussion where it’s at. 

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45 minutes ago, DaveP043 said:

There's no doubt that at many places there's really no oversight of handicap posting.  You can post any damn score you want to, you can manipulate your handicap up or down, and never face any consequence.  There are lots of "excuses" to use if the player doesn't want to post a score.  Personal opinion as to the appropriateness of posting isn't an acceptable excuse.   

Perhaps you aren't aware, but  when the system works as designed, when there's a Handicap Committee in place, doing its job, there ARE consequences.  If a player doesn't post a score, the Committee has the authority to research and to post the correct score.  The Committee can also post a Penalty Score to that player's record.  For continuing failure to post scores, the Committee can adjust that player's handicap, either by arbitrarily raising or lowering the most recent 20 scores by one or more strokes, or by setting the Handicap to remain unchanged at a specific number for a specific time period.  In the worst cases, the Committee can completely withdraw the player's handicap.  He can still play, but he will not have a handicap to be used in any net event.

If a player isn't ever using his handicap for competition, whether a formal event or a dollar bet with his buddies, I don't care what he does.  But if he's going to compete with other players, the ONLY right thing to do is to post by the same rules everyone else is required to use.  And right now, those rules (in USGA areas) require a player to post his scores, even if COVID measures make holing out putts impossible.

Dave, you've made great points throughout this thread and I always look forward to reading your comments related to rules and handicapping. FYI, I posted 150 rounds last year on GHIN- I played more but didn't post them because I was playing alone, so I do agree with your and USGA's overall position, however, it doesn't make sense to post a practice round. For further clarification here's what I consider practice: playing a couple of balls or experimenting with different swings (our driving range is closed). Which ball do I use? I could game the system both up or down depending on which one I decide to use or how many strokes I want to take. I know I'm taking some liberties with the rules in these situations, but on the other hand I want to post accurate rounds (not necessarily only the worst or best) and not game the system.

Additionally my earlier comment in this thread related to the current situation where at least on our course you can't tell where the hole is (no pins and or 'noodles') until you're on top of it and we tend to have long narrow undulating greens that are also elevated.  So is the approach shot 70 yds or 100 yds?  If the hole is in front and even if you aimed for the middle, you've got a long putt on tough greens. Do I just decide to take a 2 putt because the hole wasn't where I thought it would be, but it would be the "most likely score"?? That's not accurate because it could end up being a 3 or 😱 4 putt. 

I agree that the current language is clear and pretty dogmatic, but I do think that there are exceptions. Perhaps the USGA should further expand on posting and add clarity around practice rounds. In the meantime, I will offer up a suggestion to our handicap committee to further define practice rounds and posting rounds under these special circumstances. 

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4 minutes ago, tony@CIC said:

I agree that the current language is clear and pretty dogmatic, but I do think that there are exceptions. Perhaps the USGA should further expand on posting and add clarity around practice rounds. In the meantime, I will offer up a suggestion to our handicap committee to further define practice rounds and posting rounds under these special circumstances. 

I said it earlier too, I don't have a problem if a local Handicap Committee decides not to allow posting.  This would be particularly appropriate where there are no flags in the holes, but I'm sure there are other circumstances that would merit it.  The thing is, if that decision is made, then everyone within the club (from the Handicap standpoint, not meaning a private club) should refrain from posting scores.  That's my biggest concern with any of this, we should all be playing the same game, under the same rules, with the same posting requirements.  This is one case where individualism is not an asset.

As far as practice rounds go, I'd be happy to allow pre-registration of a round as "non-posting".  What I wouldn't want to see is the decision (Do I post this or not?) being made after the round is complete.  I'd love to see the USGA move towards the rest of the world in this manner, but we're stuck with the rules we have right now.  And I know that any additional restriction on which scores to post will raise new howls of protest from those who still resent the restriction on posting solo scores.

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24 minutes ago, RickyBobby_PR said:

Well aware of the handicap committee and all that you state but for the most part those are non existent at many courses. 

I know you are a rules guy and it’s a passion of yours and we are going to not agree on the subject of requirements and posting. I’m with a steddy on this one and also one that chooses not to post even I follow all the rules when playing I dont keep score everytime on the course because keeping score imo isn’t a requirement when playing. There’s days I just want to play golf and enjoy the course.  

The thing is, the requirements are what they are, there's not really any room for disagreement there.  Where there are legitimate areas for disagreement is around what the requirements SHOULD be, especially in these unusual times.  When we talk about the rules, I believe that its important to understand the facts of the rules.  That's the appropriate starting point for discussions of what the rules SHOULD be.  I'm happy to discuss things I believe should be changed, or to evaluate things that other people would like to see changed.

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:titelist-small: Irons Titleist AP2 714, KBS Tour S, 3 flat

:callaway-small: Rogue SubZero, GD YS-Six X

:vokey-small: 52, 56, and 60 wedges

:ping-small: B60 G5i putter

Right handed

Reston, Virginia

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