Handicap Info




Handicap Questions

 

Note: The USGA handicap manual (used by the NCGA) can be accessed at the following link:

http://www.usga.org/Handicapping/handicap-manual.html


Question 6. You have a handicap index of 15 and during the club championship you dump two shots into the creek on 18, ending up with an 8 for the hole. What score do you report for this hole for the tournament competition, and what score should be recorded for this hole for handicap purposes?


Answer 6. For the tournament you count the strokes and any penalties for your gross score, and you should record an 8, but for submission of the score for handicap purposes, a 7 would be used. Since your handicap index is between 10 and 19, the most you can count for handicap purposes is a 7.  See the Equitable Stroke Control table below.

 


Details can be found in section 4.3 of the USGA Handicap Manual  http://www.usga.org/Handicapping/handicap-manual.html


Question 5. Lightning strikes while you’re on the 14th hole, and you smartly scurry to the clubhouse where you take advantage of the happy hour at the Lodge Restaurant and Pub. Should you post a score for the round? Do you have an option to do so or not?

Answer 5. Since you finished 13 holes (in accordance with the principles of the Rules of Golf), the answer is Yes, you must post a score, and it is not an option, but part of the handicap rules. There are two basic premises to the USGA handicap system: 1) that a player will try to make the best score at every hole in every round; 2: the player will post every acceptable round for peer review. Since 13 holes were completed, this constitutes an acceptable round.

For 13 or more completed holes, you post an 18-hole score. For 7 through 12 holes played, you post a 9-hole score. For less than 7 holes consider it a nice walk in the forest while trying to find birdies and eagles and avoiding one or more bogeymen.

     What scores do you use for the holes you didn’t play (14 thru 18 in this case)? For handicap purposes the scores posted for those holes would be par plus any handicap strokes the player is entitled to receive on that hold.  At Tahoe Donner, a player with a handicap index of 12 would have a course handicap of 14 from the silver tees, giving strokes on the first 14 handicap holes.  This would give him a bogey on 14, 15, 16, and 18, and a par on 17 (17 is the no. 16 handicap hole, so he doesn’t get a stroke on that hole). After completing his card (with an x before the scores for holes 14-18 to indicate these were not played) he would file a score for 18 holes with his adjusted gross score, following the usual Equitable Stroke Control guidelines.

Details can be found in section 5.2 of the USGA Handicap Manual  http://www.usga.org/Handicapping/handicap-manual.html


Question 4. You and your partner are playing a two-man best-ball team event, and you are on a hole where neither of you gets a stroke. Your partner holes out a chip for a birdie, and your ball lays two, 20 feet from the pin. You can pick up, since you can’t better your partner’s score. If you do, what score should you record for handicap purposes?

Answer 4 You’re supposed to record the “most likely score”.  Since you most likely would not make the 20 foot putt, but would likely two-putt, you would record a 4. However, if you typically 3-putted from 20 ft (something most would not admit to), you could add 3 strokes and take a 5. Here’s the USGA definition of Most Likely Score:

A "most likely score" is the score a player must post for handicap purposes if a hole is started but not completed or if the player is conceded a stroke. The most likely score consists of the number of strokes already taken plus, in the player's best judgment, the number of strokes the player would take to complete the hole from that position more than half the time. This number may not exceed the player's Equitable Stroke Control limit. (See Section 4-3.)

Details can be found in section 4.1 of the USGA Handicap Manual 
http://www.usga.org/Handicapping/handicap-manual.html


Question 3. Your golf buddy is constantly boasting about how good he’s playing, and you want to bring his ego down a notch by having him play the most difficult course around. Shown below is course information for four different courses in the Truckee/Tahoe region, rated by the usual USGA guidelines. Which course should you play to make the odds of getting a low score the highest, i.e. which course is the most difficult?  Alternatively, if you need to get a low score to stroke your own ego, which course should you play to increase your chances of getting a low score – i.e. which is the easiest? 

Course

Yardage

Rating

Slope

A

6704

71.5

137

B

6573

71.0

135

C

6572

72.4

130

D

6486

69.3

121


Answer 3. This is a trick question – relative difficulty depends on your handicap index.  If you’re a scratch golfer, you’d expect to shoot the course rating, on average. That would make course C the most difficult by 0.9 strokes. The easiest would be course D. But for a non-scratch player, the slope index is also important, as it indicates how difficult the course is for a bogey golfer (defined by the USGA as someone with a handicap index of 20) compared to a scratch golfer for a given set of tees. A slope index of 113 indicates the “standard playing difficulty”, while a higher slope indicates that course is relatively more difficult for the bogey golfer. The right-most column shows what an 18-handicap player would expect to shoot if he shot at his handicap level. Now course A is the most difficult, but only by 0.2 strokes over course C, and course D is still by far the easiest, by nearly 4 strokes.


Course

Yardage

Rating

Slope

Expected Score for 18 hdcp

A

6704

71.5

137

93.3

B

6573

71.0

135

92.5

C

6572

72.4

130

93.1

D

6486

69.3

121

88.6

These courses are:

A: Coyote Moon – Blue tees

B: Nakoma  - Dragon 4 tees

C: Tahoe Donner – Silver tees

D: Whitehawk – Three Hawk tees

 

  For a full comparison of courses in the Truckee/Tahoe North Shore region, a table is provided below ((ctrl-click to save file).



Question 2. Dan (handicap index of 13.2) and Sam (handicap index of 19.4) want to play a round of golf against each other at Tahoe Donner, and Dan’s wife Stella (handicap index of 16.2) decides she would also like to get in on the competition. John wants to play from the Silver tees, Sam from the Silver/Green Combo tees, and Stella from the Green tees. How many strokes does Dan give to Sam and to Stella, and which holes would the strokes be used on.

Hint: This is not an easy determination – both the course rating and slope for each set of tees must be involved in calculating the handicaps used for competition.

Note: starting this summer there will be two hole handicap designations for men, the traditional one for the silver/black tees, and a new one for the silver/green combo tees.  The handicap for holes for these two and the women’s handicap are shown below.

 

 

Golfer

 

Tees

Rating

Slope

Handicap

Index

Course Handicap Calculation

Dan

Silver

72.4

130

13.2

13.2•130/113

Sam

Silver/Green

69.7

124

19.4

19.4•124/113

Stella

Green (Women)

72.3

138

16.2

16.2•138/113

 

Handicap by hole

Hole=>

Tees  

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

11

12

13

14

15

16

17

18

Silver/Black

1

9

5

11

17

13

15

3

7

4

6

12

18

14

8

2

16

10

Combo (S/G)

1

13

11

3

7

5

17

9

15

4

6

16

12

8

14

10

18

2

Women

2

14

6

16

10

8

18

4

12

1

5

15

9

7

11

13

17

3

 

Answer 2. The table below shows the calculated course handicaps. The strokes allotted depend on both the slope rating, giving the course handicap, and the course rating for each tee. The lowest course rating is used to determine the affect of course rating on what will be called here the Competition handicap.

 

·      Because he is playing from more difficult tees, Dan gets three strokes (72.4-69.7=2.7 which is rounded to 3) added to his course handicap for this competition due to the silver tees having a course rating higher than the combo tees (Sam’s tees).

·      Stella also gets 3 strokes (72.3-69.7=2.6 which is rounded to 3) since the green tees are rated higher than the silver tees).

·      Based on the differences between the competition handicaps, which are influenced by both the course rating and the slope, Sam would get strokes on three holes (21-18=3) and Stella strokes on 5 holes (23-18=5).

·      If Stella were competing only against Sam, Stella would get two strokes against Sam (23-21=2).

·      Based on the handicap by holes for women, Stella would get strokes on holes 1, 8, 10, 11, 18. Based on the new handicap by holes at Tahoe Donner for the silver/green combo tees, Sam would get strokes on holes 1, 4, 18.

 

Golfer

 

Tees

Rating

Slope

Handicap

Index

Course Handicap

Competition Handicap

Dan

Silver

72.4

130

13.2

15.2 => 15

15+3 =18

Sam

Silver/Green

69.7

124

19.4

21.3 => 21

21+0 = 21

Stella

Green (Women)

72.3

138

16.2

19.8 => 20

20+3 = 23

 

For details, see Section 3.5 of the USGA Handicap Manual http://www.usga.org/Handicapping/handicap-manual.html

 

Question 1. A handicap as calculated by the USGA guidelines is intended to represent a golfer’s “potential” ability, not his actual, current or average ability.  How often would one expect to shoot at or below their course handicap on a given course?

a.     Once every other round

b.     Once every 3 rounds

c.      Once every 5 rounds

d.     Never – since only 96% of the top 10 of the last 20 scores are used to calculate handicap


Answer 1. About 1 out of every 5 rounds would be expected to be at or lower than the handicap. This should make sense – the worst 10 of the most recent 20 rounds are eliminated, and then the handicap is computed as 96% of the remaining 10 scores. Only about 4 of these lowest 10 normally are at or below the handicap calculation. Also, remember that the calculation of the best 10 of 20 is also compared with the two best T-scores recorded within the past 12 months (longer for golfers who play fewer than 20 rounds per year), and adjusted if necessary.

Details of the probability of shooting a score lower than your handicap index can be found in Appendix E of the USGA Handicap Manual http://www.usga.org/Handicapping/handicap-manual.html

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