As we know, COVID-19 has modified how we play golf for the time being. Social distancing is really not a challenge on the golf course, but some of the new rules for putting makes it easier to score. Regardless of the changes, I have decided to submit my scores following the current Golf Canada COVID-19 playing guidelines.Continue reading
For the past few years, “An extensive review of existing handicap systems administered by Golf Australia, the Council of National Golf Unions (CONGU) in Great Britain and Ireland, the European Golf Association (EGA), the South African Golf Association (SAGA), the Argentine Golf Association (AAG) and the United States Golf Association (USGA) has been undertaken.” (The R&A)
“More than 15 million golfers in over 80 countries presently have a handicap, a numerical index long used as a measure of a golfer’s potential skill level. Handicaps are currently delivered through six different systems around the world. The aim of the proposed handicap system is to adopt a universal set of principles and procedures that will apply all over the world.” (The R&A)
And now there is movement towards the World Handicap System. Continue reading
The handicap is the golf’s measuring stick. Many casual players do not go through the effort to establish one because it has no bearing on their game. For more serious golfers, like me, establishing a handicap is important as it helps me gauge my play at any given time and provides a tangible goal to pursue. Additionally, it is important to establish a handicap through golf’s governing body if you want to play in tournaments at the local, provincial, or national level. And yet, establishing a handicap early in the season can be damaging to a golfer’s ego, so why go through the frustration? Continue reading
Tomorrow is the second time (last year was the first) my friend Jean and I will play in a two-man scramble. It is a low-key event with 20+ teams and handicaps will be applied. Our second place finish last year is something Jean and I will build on to see if we can win it all. The big prize in this event is the bragging rights as most of the players are regulars at my home course of Roundel Glen.
Similar to last year, the rules for this tournament are pretty simple. The handicap of the two players are added together, divided by two and multiplied by 25% (was .75% last year). The multiplying factor is a slight change from last year.
What this means is: my handicap is 3.8, Jean’s handicap is 10.8, combined 14.6, divided by 2 is 7.30, multiplied by 25% is 1.8; everything is rounded down to the nearest whole number. Therefore, our handicap for this tournament is 1. For those non golfers, this means we are awarded one stroke on the toughest hole on the course. So if we shoot a 4 on the toughest hole, we would record a 3 on our scorecard. All things being equal and everyone is honest, this method of using our handicap is golf’s way of leveling the playing field.
Our strategy was straight forward last year. This is how it unfolded:
- Jean tees off first on all par 5s and short par 3s.
- Jim tees off first on all par 4s and long par 3s.
- Jean is first to hit our second shot inside 175 yards.
- Jim is first to hit our second shot outside of 175 yards.
- Jean chips first by all green.
- Jean putts first on all greens.
This year, things will be a bit different. We will play to our strengths. Jean hits the ball farther off the tee than I do, however my short game is a bit stronger. So, I will hit first on all par 5s. Jean will hit first off the tee all other times except for two short par 4s that Jean can reach, so I will put us in play on those holes. Jean will hit first for all second shots, chips and putts. This strategy will be modified as the day goes on to ensure we make the most out of every opportunity to score low.
We are looking forward to improving our score from last year. With a change in the handicap system, the scores might be a bit higher this year, so our goal will be shot a 66 again and see what happens.
Regardless of the outcome, this event is a great time to hang out with my fellow grateful golfers doing what we like to do most – play golf.
Our strategy is set, what do you think? What would you do?
I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!
Before you say your driver or 60 degree wedge, this is a valid question that most golfers overlook. This question popped up at work today and I thought it would make for an interesting topic.
Here is what Golf Canada has to say:
The purpose of the Golf Canada Handicap System is to make the game of golf more enjoyable for golfers by providing a means of measuring one’s performance and progress and to enable golfers of differing abilities to compete on an equitable basis.
Through this system, each golfer establishes an “Golf Canada Handicap Factor” which is a numerical measurement of a player’s potential (not actual) scoring ability on a course of standard difficulty.
The Handicap Factor is calculated using the best 10 of the player’s last 20 rounds and updated with each new round played. The Handicap Factor travels with the golfer from course to course and is adjusted up or down depending on the length and difficulty of the course played, resulting in a “Course Handicap”. The Course Handicap is the number of strokes a golfer receives from a specific set of tees at the course played and represents the number of strokes he would require to play equitably against a “scratch” golfer (a golfer with a Handicap Factor of “0.0′). The more difficult the golf course, the more strokes the golfer receives and vice versa.
The real question dealt with what we considered to be a low, medium and high handicap. My friend suggested anyone with a 20+ score and I said 10+. Immediately we looked at each other and realized that something was amiss.
At SandTrap.com they suggest:
- Low: Handicaps 8 and under (typically shooting in 70’s)
- Mid: Handicaps 9-24 (low 80’s to mid 90’s)
- High: Handicaps 25+ (high-90’s and up)
At Golfsmith.com, they suggest:
- Low: Handicaps 9 and under (typically shooting in 70’s)
- Mid: Handicaps 10-18 (low 80’s to mid 90’s)
- High: Handicaps 19+ (high-90’s and up)
The last bit of information that is important is the average handicap for men and women. After checking many sites, the consensus is that the average male golfer has a handicap of 16.1 and the average female has a handicap of 28.9. So using this information, most golfers would be considered medium handicap players. Additionally, the definition of low, medium, and high handicap does vary, but the reasons for establishing a handicap do not.
To enter in some tournaments, handicaps are used to place players in flights against others of their own caliber. It is also used to calculate foursome handicaps for “Scramble” tournaments. And lastly, it determines how many strokes a higher handicap player will receive in a match-play event. Most players do not have an official handicap and for the most part it really does not matter.
Personally, I am a member of the Golf Association of Ontario. My handicap index is 5.4 or a 5 handicap with a scoring average of 79.2 over 20 games. For the golfer who plays many rounds a year, establishing a handicap is a good thing. It is part of the game and helps promote an often overlooked aspect of golf – fair play.
Do you have an official handicap?
I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!