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Match Play and Handicapping: Thoughts? - Page 2

post #19 of 45

I don't give full handicap in match play no way no how! I have a chance in stroke play because a higher handicap has a chance of making a big number once or twice a round. In match play I will give people 80% of their handicap at  most. If they don't like that then we don't play.

post #20 of 45

The whole handicap system was set up for match play. It looks to me like the low handicappers hate it because it is an even match instead of being a match that they can get that guaranteed victory that they feel they deserve.

 

In 100% HC match play, the lower HC will win slightly more than the high HC - but the system was designed so that they can play each other.

 

Maybe things are different on public courses, but I know at my club, sandbaggers tend to get run out.

 

In our match play championship this year, 3 of the final 4 were single digit HCs, the 4th that snuck in had a course HC of 33.

post #21 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by meenman View Post
The whole handicap system was set up for match play. It looks to me like the low handicappers hate it because it is an even match instead of being a match that they can get that guaranteed victory that they feel they deserve.

That's the biggest load of e1_poo.gif I have ever heard.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by meenman View Post

In 100% HC match play, the lower HC will win slightly more than the high HC - but the system was designed so that they can play each other.

I would love to see actual stats for this ridiculous statement. There is no way this is true because high handicappers shoot low net scores much more frequently than low handicappers. See the USGA Odds of Shooting an Exceptional Tournament Score. It shows there that a 20 handicap will shoot a score of -4 approx twice as often as a 0-5 handicapper.  One thing any low handicapper know is you cannot beat strokes.

 

It comes down to the fact that there is such room for improvement in a high handicappers game it is much easier for them to shoot a low net score. All a high handicapper has to do is chip in a couple times, or not 3 putt as much, or keep in in play slightly better and they have that "career round". I see it in every tournament at my course. The 4th and 5th flights always have way lower net scores than the championship flight does.

 

It doesn't even mean they are sandbaggers, a 20 handicap can take a couple lessons and find a key in their swing or really begin practicing a lot and they can improve dramatically in a short period of time, too fast for their handicap to catch up. It happened to me when I took up the game. My handicap was an 18 when I first got one. I improved to a 12 in a year. then improved to an 8 in another year. Then the progress slowed down considerably after that.

post #22 of 45

Interesting that in the US the percentage is set by the club. In the UK the national golf union sets the percentages.

 

It used to be 3/4 of the difference for 4 ball better balls and singles, and 3/8s of the combined difference for foursomes.

 

Its now full difference in singles and half the combind difference for foursomes, 4 ball better ball remained unchanged.

 

The biggest tournament at our club is a singles handicap knock-out. Since the change from 3/4 to full difference the handicaps of the winning players have risen noticeably - previously typically scratch to 5 handicapps, now more 6 - 9 handicappers winning.

 

Its noticeable that our lower handicap players (typically younger players) haven't entered the comp this year because they don't feel like they have a chance of winning.

post #23 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by NM Golf View Post

That's the biggest load of e1_poo.gif I have ever heard.

 

I would love to see actual stats for this ridiculous statement. There is no way this is true because high handicappers shoot low net scores much more frequently than low handicappers. See the USGA Odds of Shooting an Exceptional Tournament Score. It shows there that a 20 handicap will shoot a score of -4 approx twice as often as a 0-5 handicapper.  One thing any low handicapper know is you cannot beat strokes.

 

It comes down to the fact that there is such room for improvement in a high handicappers game it is much easier for them to shoot a low net score. All a high handicapper has to do is chip in a couple times, or not 3 putt as much, or keep in in play slightly better and they have that "career round". I see it in every tournament at my course. The 4th and 5th flights always have way lower net scores than the championship flight does.

 

It doesn't even mean they are sandbaggers, a 20 handicap can take a couple lessons and find a key in their swing or really begin practicing a lot and they can improve dramatically in a short period of time, too fast for their handicap to catch up. It happened to me when I took up the game. My handicap was an 18 when I first got one. I improved to a 12 in a year. then improved to an 8 in another year. Then the progress slowed down considerably after that.

You are trying to argue your point using stroke play stats. And for saying a high handicap can improve by taking lessons, it happens once - they dont go from a 18 to a 12, back to an 18 and back again. (I play with one of those guys that is improving - he'll win some skins now - but it wont last once he hits his peak)

 

If you put up a birdie, I have no chance of winning the hole, can only half it, just like if I put up a par, you can only half. I am going to par as often as you birdie and bogey like you par. I am also a lot more likely to put up a double or triple which I only have a shot on if you bogey one of the lower # handicap holes.

 

I will also factor in the fact that low HCers play better under pressure than high ones.

 

 

The proper way to allocate strokes in one-on-one match play is to subtract the lower handicap from the higher, then assign the difference to the weaker player. In our example, Player B's 10 is subtracted from Player A's 14, leaving 4. Player A now takes strokes on the top 4 handicap holes, while Player B plays from scratch.

Why is it done this way? I'll quote the USGA, from the decisions section of its Handicap System Manual:

 

"Handicap stroke holes are established to maximize the number of 

halved holes in a match by assigning strokes where player A most needs his four strokes in order to obtain a half on those holes. If both A and B receive strokes on those four holes, the better player (B) will have a greater chance of winning those holes. On holes allocated 14, 15, 16, and 17, A will receive strokes and B will not. A will have a greater chance of winning those "easier" holes. The result will be more holes won and lost than halved and the better player (B) will have an unfair advantage in the match."

Back to Golf Handicap FAQ index

post #24 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by NM Golf View Post

That's the biggest load of e1_poo.gif I have ever heard.

 

I would love to see actual stats for this ridiculous statement. There is no way this is true because high handicappers shoot low net scores much more frequently than low handicappers. See the USGA Odds of Shooting an Exceptional Tournament Score. It shows there that a 20 handicap will shoot a score of -4 approx twice as often as a 0-5 handicapper.  One thing any low handicapper know is you cannot beat strokes.

 

It might not be. Here's why:

 

_______.jpg

 

Just two bell curves aligned at their 25% line. As we know, since our handicap is the best 10 of the last 20, the better half of our scores count (the top 50%). Among the top 50%, half will be better and half will be slightly worse than the average.

 

So the thinner bell curve shows the distribution above or below net par for the low handicapper while the wider bell curve shows the distribution above or below net par for the high handicapper.

 

Given a large enough sample size, it's almost guaranteed that a high handicapper will post a lower net score than a low handicapper. It's even more certain that a higher handicapper will post a HIGHER score than a low handicapper, again given a large enough sample size.

 

But one-on-one, if both handicappers have followed the rules for handicapping, the match should be fairly even with a slight edge to the lower handicapper.

 

I used to play in a skins game against a bunch of high handicappers. The odds of them shooting an exceptional score for ONE HOLE were incredibly high. I'd often have to make eagle just to wipe out a guy in my own foursome.

post #25 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by iacas View Post

 

It might not be. Here's why:

 

_______.jpg

 

Just two bell curves aligned at their 25% line. As we know, since our handicap is the best 10 of the last 20, the better half of our scores count (the top 50%). Among the top 50%, half will be better and half will be slightly worse than the average.

 

So the thinner bell curve shows the distribution above or below net par for the low handicapper while the wider bell curve shows the distribution above or below net par for the high handicapper.

 

Given a large enough sample size, it's almost guaranteed that a high handicapper will post a lower net score than a low handicapper. It's even more certain that a higher handicapper will post a HIGHER score than a low handicapper, again given a large enough sample size.

 

But one-on-one, if both handicappers have followed the rules for handicapping, the match should be fairly even with a slight edge to the lower handicapper.

 

I used to play in a skins game against a bunch of high handicappers. The odds of them shooting an exceptional score for ONE HOLE were incredibly high. I'd often have to make eagle just to wipe out a guy in my own foursome.

 

This is the post I have been waiting for... Erik where have you been on this one.  You sleep... really?  In all seriousness, I am a high capper and am still improving so my cap is a stroke or 2 inflated at the moment.  I still lose more often than not to low cappers in match play and stroke play at my club.  I have to agree with Meenman that it "all comes out in the wash."  Most of the low cappers at my club have the same feelings that NM Golf has.  They are not at near the "disadvantage" as they think they are, but I just shut up and try to grind out bogeys to stay close.  

post #26 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by Double Bogey View Post

This is the post I have been waiting for... Erik where have you been on this one.  You sleep... really?  In all seriousness, I am a high capper and am still improving so my cap is a stroke or 2 inflated at the moment.  I still lose more often than not to low cappers in match play and stroke play at my club.  I have to agree with Meenman that it "all comes out in the wash."  Most of the low cappers at my club have the same feelings that NM Golf has.  They are not at near the "disadvantage" as they think they are, but I just shut up and try to grind out bogeys to stay close.  

 

I will say this, though: I played a nine-hole league at the club I was at for a few years, and despite being the team's #1 guy with an index of 2 or 3 or 1 or so, I'd often be playing against guys with high-teens handicaps, and I rarely won those matches. They were close, but I'd guess my winning percentage was more like 45%. All too often they'd shoot 43 to my 37, but 10 of their 43 would be on one hole. I don't think people intentionally sandbag, but I don't think most people apply ESC properly. If your match play handicap is based on your stroke play scores and you have a blow-up hole once or twice a round, it's going to be a few strokes higher than it should be. High enough to tip the advantage to you in a match play situation, for sure.

 

And if there are a lot of high handicappers? Forget it. The low handicapper(s) will lose out (net) just about every time.

 

ESC - it's easy to understand but a LOT of people are simply unaware of it. They're not trying to cheat, they just add up their score and post it.

post #27 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by iacas View Post

 

I will say this, though: I played a nine-hole league at the club I was at for a few years, and despite being the team's #1 guy with an index of 2 or 3 or 1 or so, I'd often be playing against guys with high-teens handicaps, and I rarely won those matches. They were close, but I'd guess my winning percentage was more like 45%. All too often they'd shoot 43 to my 37, but 10 of their 43 would be on one hole. I don't think people intentionally sandbag, but I don't think most people apply ESC properly. If your match play handicap is based on your stroke play scores and you have a blow-up hole once or twice a round, it's going to be a few strokes higher than it should be. High enough to tip the advantage to you in a match play situation, for sure.

 

And if there are a lot of high handicappers? Forget it. The low handicapper(s) will lose out (net) just about every time.

 

ESC - it's easy to understand but a LOT of people are simply unaware of it. They're not trying to cheat, they just add up their score and post it.

 

No Doubt.  I had never heard of ESC before I joined my club.  My club actually checks the scores that the members "post" for accuracy.  And the pro shop puts in all tourney scores.  

 

Thanks for your opinion on the matter a2_wink.gif

post #28 of 45

I always find it interesting when the discussion of handicaps come up.  It is an imperfect system but better than anything else I can think of.  So I believe it as fair a system of trying to level the field between players of varying abilities, but has some issues when trying to address two specific players playing a match.  The system becomes less accurate in trying to predict the outcome of a specific match the greater the differences in the two handicaps are.  I think if you take a look at the curves above you can see why that might be the case.  Also a factor the standard deviation ( a measure of the width of the curves) is certainly a factor.   While the curves show the higher handicap golfer with a wider curve, which is typical, there are higher handicap golfers that have very consistent games and are high handicaps because they have some physical limit (got old maybe).  If you look at that situation the higher handicap golfer has little if any chance of winning and should probably be given extra strokes if you want an even (50/50)match.  Again if you limit the difference in handicaps between players it get more fair regardless of the deviation in curve widths.   Just a final comment while the Gaussian (Normal) curves are often used in handicap discussion,  if you make a graph of the best 10 out of your last 20 rounds do you get a curve that looks like that?  Probably not.  But they are accurate for the USGA because of the large sample base (lots of golfers) and therefor the probabilities they quote on "exception rounds" and the probability of a "typical" 5 handicap beating a "typical" 15 handicap are accurate.  But when it comes to Bob (5) beating Tom (15) the numbers are not meaningful.  You would have to look at the specific last 20 scores from which the best 10 were selected to get a handle on what the statistics are on who wins the match.  Even then remember it is just a probability of Bob beating Tom and Ol' Tom might just have a real good day and you'll lose you money.  They would have to play the match several times for the probability to have much meaning.

post #29 of 45

Glad to see some sanity in this thread.   I don't know why it is that so many (not all by any means) low handicappers seem to feel that if they don't win every time, they are somehow being cheated of a fundamental right.  tstansberry posted:

 

 

Quote:
 I'm a 4 at my course and play with some of my buddies who are up to 18.  I won't play them for money anymore because of this issue.  18's will go around the course in something like this:

 

par, bogey, bogey, bogey, triple, triple, bogey, bogey, par  

 

On a par 72 that would be 47 on the front.  How would you compete with that score? He's getting 7 from me a side, and I really only have 2 opportunities to win holes.  Those two triples.  His 2 pars are almost certainly winners and god forbid I bogey a hole.

 

 

Rather than proving his point, he actually proves that the system works as intended.  In this scenario, the match would probably be very even.  One good hole to either player could decide it.    In fact it's more likely that the bogey golfer he postulates would make double on one of those bogies, giving another chance to the 4 handicap to win a hole.  That 18 handicapper is more likely to shoot over his handicap than below it, if it is an honest handicap, unless he is in an actual game improvement cycle.  Then he may have a slight advantage until his handicap catches up with the improvement in his game.  This would be a very temporary condition.

 

Handicapping is supposed to make the match play fairly even, and in my 22 years of playing competitive matches, experience shows that it does exactly that.

post #30 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fourputt View Post

Rather than proving his point, he actually proves that the system works as intended.  In this scenario, the match would probably be very even.  One good hole to either player could decide it.    In fact it's more likely that the bogey golfer he postulates would make double on one of those bogies, giving another chance to the 4 handicap to win a hole.  That 18 handicapper is more likely to shoot over his handicap than below it, if it is an honest handicap, unless he is in an actual game improvement cycle.  Then he may have a slight advantage until his handicap catches up with the improvement in his game.  This would be a very temporary condition.

 

While true, he'll also be more likely to shoot below his handicap by a larger amount than the low handicap player.

post #31 of 45

I tend to play very even up (comes down to the last hole or two) against low index players. A lot of higher index players are always "improving" and yet their index never moves down. Weird.

post #32 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by iacas View Post

 

While true, he'll also be more likely to shoot below his handicap by a larger amount than the low handicap player.


Yes, and this is quite likely to be one or two holes a usual 8, 9, or 10 turns into a par or bogey, so it's not such a big deal for a match play event. (Which, yes, I understand you have said several times.)

 

I'm somewhat amused to see the discussion, particularly as I recall posting a link to the USGA's position on the matter early in the thread... over two years ago! :-) Basically, you've nailed it. In a singles match, the stats bear out that, on average, the handicapping works as intended. For the statistical reasons you've outlined, adjustments are needed when you have multiple players essentially because you need to match higher moments of the probabilities.

 

A few posts ago you mentioned you guessed your one-on-one win rate against higher handicappers was probably 45% or so. IMO, that's phenomenally close to the ideal when you consider how crude the handicap statistic is. It shouldn't be surprising that individual golfers will have varying experience, but on average, the USGA seems to think the stats work out.

post #33 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by zeg View Post


Yes, and this is quite likely to be one or two holes a usual 8, 9, or 10 turns into a par or bogey, so it's not such a big deal for a match play event. (Which, yes, I understand you have said several times.)

 

I'm somewhat amused to see the discussion, particularly as I recall posting a link to the USGA's position on the matter early in the thread... over two years ago! :-) Basically, you've nailed it. In a singles match, the stats bear out that, on average, the handicapping works as intended. For the statistical reasons you've outlined, adjustments are needed when you have multiple players essentially because you need to match higher moments of the probabilities.

 

A few posts ago you mentioned you guessed your one-on-one win rate against higher handicappers was probably 45% or so. IMO, that's phenomenally close to the ideal when you consider how crude the handicap statistic is. It shouldn't be surprising that individual golfers will have varying experience, but on average, the USGA seems to think the stats work out.

 

This is why a handicapped stroke competition should be flighted so that players are only competing against others of similar skill levels.  Sometime you will be competing at scratch within the flight, sometimes they will apply handicaps.  In my home men's club we often paid off both low net and low gross within the flight.   It means that you only win within your flight, but it also means that everyone has the opportunity to be competitive. 

 

If you watch the scoring in such a tournament, the net scores of the winning bogey level players tend to be the lowest in the field.  Higher handicappers tend to be more likely to blow up a few holes and play closer to their handicaps (although the scores of 25 and up players can fluctuate wildly), and better players don't have as much wiggle room built into their handicaps.  My first year of competition in 1989 I took my honest 16 handicap into the Club Championship and had a career tournament, shooting a net 25 under par (73-78) for the second weekend.  With a couple more casual rounds in the 79-80 range immediately after that, my next handicap revision dropped me to a 12, and I played at that or lower for the next 18 years.  For me the game just suddenly made sense, and my scores reflected that.  I turn in every score and my handicap has stayed in the 10-13 range ever since.  Even this spring after a 3 month layoff due to winter weather in Colorado, I shot 3 of my first 6 rounds in the high 70's.  I feel that isn't too bad for an overweight 65 year old.  I'm no longer playing competitively (actually not playing at all since there is no golf here on the island), so those scores are just for fun.

post #34 of 45

Basically, a low hcp player has little margin for error.  Hence the frustration.  The high hcp has huge margin for improvement.  Couple those together and you get the animosity.  Our club plays 100% hcp in our match play championship but in the first round the match ups generally have few strokes separating each contest.  I was playing as a 7 against a guy that was a 10.  A buddy of mine was an 11 playing a 14.  And one match was a 3 playing a 5.  Now things will get more separated as we get to the second round but it is what it is.  Hopefully the sandbaggers get weeded out somewhat in the first round.  If we didn't have some sort of hcp system then the better golfers would win almost all the time.  Golf is not an easy game.  Some guys never improve beyond a certain point so for the enjoyment of the game and for fun and fellowship we have this system.  Perfect? Not hardly.  Fair?  Somewhat.  It's the guys who are dishonest that screw the whole thing up.

post #35 of 45

I have no problem losing to someone who got 8 strokes on 9 holes, as long as I was in it - as long as I had a chance to win if I made good shots.

 

Net stroke play where a higher handicap could be considered by some to be the "Club Champion" is just silly. The Club Champion is the low gross from the lowest flight (first, championship, whatever). Low net - lol.

post #36 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by sean_miller View Post

I have no problem losing to someone who got 8 strokes on 9 holes, as long as I was in it - as long as I had a chance to win if I made good shots.

 

Net stroke play where a higher handicap could be considered by some to be the "Club Champion" is just silly. The Club Champion is the low gross from the lowest flight (first, championship, whatever). Low net - lol.

 

Well, I could see the club champ being low gross from any flight (I've seen some clubs with flights that include only + handicappers, and the "tier 2" flight is 0-5), but I agree with the sentiment that it's a joke to have a low net club champ.

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