Originally Posted by James038
The problem with the handicap system is that it was designed for medal (stroke) play and NOT match play. I would not have a problem giving away 18 shots to a 21 in stroke play, but I don't like giving him a shot per hole in match play. He will inevitably make some doubles and triples which only result in loss in a loss of hole in match play, but that will rack up his medal score. Consequently, he will retain his high handicap which is ONLY accurate for medal play. For Match Play I favor taking 75% of a players index, then going to the slope table to get a course handicap. Higher handicappers cry like a baby at this proposition. At the very least they should take whatever score it takes to lose a hole net during match play, and not record (as they are currently allowed) a 7 or an 8.
The handicap system only works for medal play when the handicaps in the competition are all within 2 or 3 strokes of each other. Any large disparity and your theory breaks down fast. Large handicapped stroke tournaments only work if the field is divided into flights and the players then play scratch within the flight. 22 years of playing both formats has convinced me of this. I've worked on tournament setup, played in dozens of matches and stroke competitions, and the handicap system must be applied properly in both formats, or it's certainly possible for it to fail. That's true of any sort of a formula.
We always wheeled off the low handicap using 80% of course handicap in individual matches and 90% in fourball matches. That seemed to work best for leveling out the relative scoring variability which is natural for the higher handicapper. Give too high a percentage and then the low capper gains the advantage just through the consistency which is his strength. That consistency can be a detriment in a match with a wide disparity in handicap, although not as much as you seem to think. The high capper's score can go off the charts higher just as often as it goes lower. I've also known some very consistent bogey golfers who simply make a lot of bogies due to lack of distance or poor short game, but rarely have a blowup hole.
I've played several matches where I've had to give 18+ strokes, and I've won as many as I've lost. However, I prefer playing when the handicaps are closer.