Handicap Formula Has Changed

golfscoreThat’s right. We’ve made some changes to how handicaps are earn, and calculated for monthly tournament. The goal was two-fold: 1) to ensure that new players have a fully established handicap that accurately reflects their playing ability, and 2) to bring all handicaps closer together to allow the establish, high-handicappers to be more competitive. We want our club to be enjoyable for everyone, but also fair and competitive.  We believe these changes will accomplish that goal.  So, if you are interested, let me try to explain each of the changes and what effect it will have.

The first change is to the rules for establishing a new handicap with the club.

These changes should ensure a more accurate handicapping of a new players ability.  This change will be in effect beginning with the June 2009 tournament.

The second change is to the actual handicapping formula.  The only change to the formula is the percentage of the player’s scoring differential that is used in calculating the handicap.  In the past, we have used 80% of the difference between a player’s qualifying average score and par.  Beginning with the June 2009 tournament, we will be using 92%.  So, here are the handicapping procedures and new formula:

  1. Calculate the average of the best half of a player’s scores.  If the player has played an odd number of rounds, the median score is not included in the average.
  2. Subtract that average score from par (81 is par for 27 holes).
  3. Multiply the result by .92 and round to the nearest whole number.
  4. If the number is a negative, the player will subtract the number from their tournament scores.  If the number is a positive, the player will add the number to their tournament scores.

Here is an example of how the handicap is calculated for a player with rounds of 96, 103, 91, 94, 95:

  1. The rounds of 91 and 94 are averaged for a score of 92.5.  The player has an odd number of rounds, so the median score of 95 is not used in the average.  The high scores of 96 and 103 are also not used.
  2. 92.5 is subtracted from 81, resulting in a -11.5.
  3. -11.5 is multiplied by .92 with a result of -10.58.  This is rounded to the nearest whole number, -11.
  4. The players handicap is recorded as a SUB 11, meaning that they will subtract 11 throws from their next tournament score.

Here is the impact of the formula change.  In the past, the difference between the average round, after handicaps, of the lowest handicapped player and the highest handicapped player was 8.4 throws.  This means, that if the low handicap player threw their average round, the high handicapper would have to throw a whopping nine (9) throws better than their average to beat the low handicapper.  The high handicapper was at a significant disadvantage.

With the new formula, the low handicappers (meaning, the better players) still have a handicapping advantage versus the high handicappers, but that advantage has been reduced some.  With the new formula, the lowest handicapper in the club will have a 3.4 throw advantage over the highest handicapper for a 27 hole tournament.   This means that the high handicapper will still have to play four (4) strokes better than average to beat the low handicapper on a typical day.  So, the handicapping change will make the total field a bit more competitive, while still rewarding the better players with a small handicapping advantage.  BTW, for comparison, the United States Golf Association handicapping uses 96% of a players scoring differential, still 4 points higher than we are using.

The new handicaps are already posted on the website, so visit the Club Handicaps Page to see what effect it had on your handicap.  Most of you will see very little, or no change.  And, if you have any questions about this change, or want to see exactly how the change impacts each person’s average score, just ask.  I have all the data and can email it to you for review.


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Wowsa Jim!!! Looks like you dug deep into the photo box for that one!! Chainrackers, hope you all throw straight and into the trees!!!!!–LOL.. Have fun!! I will be watching our oldest walk in cap & gown. Keep ’em flyin’

figures i was at a +5 for ever and finally dropped to a +4 for the up coming monthly and it changes in handi system puts me back up to a +5. glad to see some changes being made kinda follows some of our clubs system, except for the rounds being played with a club officer counting towards your handicap, i’d like to see that changed as well. i can explain why too you at the monthly if you’d care to listen trust ME it is a valid i am a professional president

Thanks for your hard work in setting up and explaining the handicap system. See you on Saturday!

@Chracker – enjoy the graduation…and congrats to the family! Graduations are a family success. You will be missed tomorrow.

@B-Me – I think these changes will only improve our tournaments…both the fun and the competition. I’d be glad to talk about the “rounds with a club officer” option, but I’m not sure it will change. This has been discussed a lot and considered from most every angle. Bottom-line: We want players to be able to compete without waiting three months to establish a handicap. But I do understand the concern.

@World – Thanks. I actually enjoy managing the handicap system…it’s a love of numbers thing. Some would call it a sickness. I only hope the explanation made sense.

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