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Handicap Ethics Question

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I'm taking a golf vacation with a bunch of friends and we're playing 4 rounds of golf in a type of tournament setting with cash prizes.  Everyone has to bring their official handicap cards with them.

I am a bit conflicted because at the end of last season I figured some things out and played better than my handicap (up to 4 strokes better) but because it was late in the season, the scores couldn't be posted.  I haven't been able to play a round yet this year, so I have no idea if what I did at the end of the season will carry over but I don't want to be seen as a sandbagger.

Given my current handicap I'll be getting the most strokes out of everyone, most of them are around a 10-15.  Any advice?

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Don't worry about it.  Just play and have fun.  The handicap will work itself out.

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Your handicap is your handicap.

And you haven't played in months, too.

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I'm taking a golf vacation with a bunch of friends and we're playing 4 rounds of golf in a type of tournament setting with cash prizes.  Everyone has to bring their official handicap cards with them.

I am a bit conflicted because at the end of last season I figured some things out and played better than my handicap (up to 4 strokes better) but because it was late in the season, the scores couldn't be posted.  I haven't been able to play a round yet this year, so I have no idea if what I did at the end of the season will carry over but I don't want to be seen as a sandbagger.

Given my current handicap I'll be getting the most strokes out of everyone, most of them are around a 10-15.  Any advice?


Offer to play at a lower handicap than your official index. You may not win money, but you certainly won't be perceived as a sandbagger if you cut your own handicap.

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Your handicap is your handicap. And you haven't played in months, too.

This. Sometimes the rules help, sometimes they don't. If the situation were reversed, would you ask for extra strokes?

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Not sure I understand why the scores couldn't be posted?

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Not sure I understand why the scores couldn't be posted?

Probably out of season scores.

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I'm still confused...

Never hear of an "out of season" score?

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I'm still confused...

Never hear of an "out of season" score?


In some of the northern states, they have off seasons for golf. I read in a few posts that they stop allowing people from posting any new scores. Not sure why, as golfers could travel to warmer climates, and it seems harsh not to allow them to post any rounds toward their handicap.

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You don't have it in Texas... I'm in Indiana. During the winter months, the handicap system is shut down. You can't enter scores during this time.
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I'm still confused...

Never hear of an "out of season" score?

In some of the northern states, they have off seasons for golf. I read in a few posts that they stop allowing people from posting any new scores. Not sure why, as golfers could travel to warmer climates, and it seems harsh not to allow them to post any rounds toward their handicap.

Here's the relevant page from the USGA: http://www.usga.org/handicapping/education/revision_schedule/handicap-revision-schedule/

It's not an issue in Texas but there are periods around here where your scores get impacted significantly by abnormal conditions: i.e.: Temporary greens, fairways buried in leaves, balls plugging or stopping dead, semi-frozen greens and so on...

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Being from arizona I don't understand this out of season statement. Is this more for a men's club rule then actually tracking your handicap?
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In some of the northern states, they have off seasons for golf. I read in a few posts that they stop allowing people from posting any new scores. Not sure why, as golfers could travel to warmer climates, and it seems harsh not to allow them to post any rounds toward their handicap.

If you travel to a place that's in-season, you post your score.

Being from arizona I don't understand this out of season statement. Is this more for a men's club rule then actually tracking your handicap?

See the link above. It's USGA policy, not a men's club rule.

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Thanks for the clarification on the out of season and the link.

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I'm with @iacas and @David in FL .  Sometimes the rules help you, sometimes they hurt you.  I'd say at least start off with your current official handicap.  If your improvements all carry over despite the long winter layoff and you put up a couple 82s or whatever the first two days, and if these are good friends and you feel like it's the right thing to do, maybe you could take a couple fewer strokes the last couple rounds?

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Win the darn thing and treat your friends to drinks, meal, whatever is appropriate afterward :beer: .   Go bogey golfers, go!

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Thanks for all the insight and advice.  I think I'll see how the first two days go and if I play close to how I was at end of last season (I hope so) I'll adjust things to make them right.  I'll blame it on Erik and the 5SK.

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Thanks for all the insight and advice.  I think I'll see how the first two days go and if I play close to how I was at end of last season (I hope so) I'll adjust things to make them right.  I'll blame it on Erik and the 5SK.

There is one other option you might want to consider......recommend that everyone play off a % of everyone's handicap.  80% as an example.  That lowers higher handicap players by more strokes than those with lower hcps while retaining use of the official handicaps.

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