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Gotta love the handicap system

post #1 of 43
Thread Starter 

Well, for the second year in a row, I played in our club's match play tournament only to run into a double digit handicapper who shot very close to par golf.  Coincidence?  Hmm? Think I'll stick to playing in non-handicap events. I'd rather lose straight up than to give strokes to guys who are just as good, if not better, than me.  

post #2 of 43

Yeah, this annoys me too. But I think the handicapping system is a lot better than other country's so we can't complain.

 

post #3 of 43
Thread Starter 

Unfortunately, I think it comes down to integrity and there are many players who appear to have none.

post #4 of 43

When I first moved here (Tucson) I was invited to play a couple of tournaments at the GC surrounding my home. Both times, some sandbagging idiot with a (supposedly) double-digit handicap won with near par rounds. Petty, arrogant, sandbaggers cheating for bragging rights and a few hundred bucks.  b5_confused.gif

 

Haven't bothered to play in a tournament since.

post #5 of 43

Most tournaments I have played limited the handicap difference to 5-7 strokes in the various flights.  That helps.  But I hear you and there are sandbaggers out there, but not many. But that doesn't help when you run into one.  Another heartbreak is to get a fellow with an ego handicap for a partner as I did once and I personally think that is more likely than getting a sandbagger.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Doctorfro View Post

Unfortunately, I think it comes down to integrity and there are many players who appear to have none.



 

post #6 of 43

So these guys shoot a net 59 or something?  lol, I can't even imagine that.

 

Brandon

post #7 of 43
Thread Starter 

Statistics say that the chances of shooting your handicap or  better (ex: 80 or lower on a par 72 if you're an 8) is one in five.  So two years in a row I play guys who shoot way better than their handicap.  I also played in a small tournament where over 50 percent of the participants shot better than their handicap.  How does that happen?  Sandbagging. Not all of the 50 percent were but obviously some had to be.  Takes the fun away knowing you have little chance to be competitive unless you shoot some career round (priest on caddyshack comes to mind).

post #8 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Doctorfro View Post

Statistics say that the chances of shooting your handicap or  better (ex: 80 or lower on a par 72 if you're an 8) is one in five.  So two years in a row I play guys who shoot way better than their handicap.  I also played in a small tournament where over 50 percent of the participants shot better than their handicap.  How does that happen?  Sandbagging. Not all of the 50 percent were but obviously some had to be.  Takes the fun away knowing you have little chance to be competitive unless you shoot some career round (priest on caddyshack comes to mind).



Was one of the guy's name Masashi Yamada?  You know.  The guy who claimed to be a 15 'capper and shot (an equivalent) of a gross 79 during the 1995 AT & T Pro-Am and won.  Well, someone stated that a 15 shooting a 79 was "statisically impossible", so they dug deeper and found out he was a 6.  From there, they stripped him of the title and basically black-balled him from ever playing that event again. 

 

post #9 of 43

This also holds true for higher handicap players. When I started off playing golf I had the max CONGU handicap of 28. I played golf with people claiming an 18 and a 23 handicap respectively, the 18 handicapper had played for nigh on 10 years and the 23 handicap played for nigh on 20 years.

 

I scored 15 points in Stableford for my round and was happy with how I'd played.

Mr 18 scored 36 points.

Mr 23 scored FOURTY FOUR points and needless to say won the round and betting cash.

 

When I mentioned the fact that realistically Mr 23 was in effect saying "As an absolute beginner I'll give you one single extra shot on the five most difficult holes even though I've played for 20 years and you've played for a couple of months" the response was, "I don't play as much any more so I've upped my handicap"

 

W

 

T

 

F

 

?

post #10 of 43

http://www.popeofslope.com/sandbagging/odds.html

 

It varies by handicap the farther below net par you shoot.  For all, shooting net par is about a 5:1 shot, and shooting net -2 is only about a 10-20:1.  For the low handicappers, the odds go down drastically, to the tune of 150:1 to shoot net -4.  For a high handicapper (22+), the odds of shooting net -3 are about 20:1, so it's definitely unusual, but it's not exactly remote.  For a 30+ handicapper, even shooting -7 is just about 100:1; again, very uncommon, but not remote.

 

He proposes an interesting adjustment there, where you look at your two best differentials.  A 'consistent' player, let's call him, would have differentials (relative to his current handicap) that might look something like: -4, -3, -2, -2, 1, 1, 1, 2, 2, 3 (mathematically, that may not work, you get my point).  Say someone had two lowest differentials of -6 and -8, and they were a 15.  He says that's a 1 in 7,249 chance, which is too small.  If you revise it to say, that should only happen 1 in 258 rounds, you adjust the handicap by however stair-steps in his table you need to go to get to that revised probability (in this case, it's three).  So that person becomes a 12.

 

What he's talking about is, I think, very closely related to the idea of anti-handicaps, as well as an idea I threw out once on here, about a third handicap.  That is: current USGA index is best 10 of last 20.  "Anti-handicap" is a somewhat well-known measure, and would take the WORST 10 of last 20.  I think looking at a third measure - which is the middle 10 (throw out best 5 and worst 5) - would provide some insight, too (would be interesting to really analyze real data).  You can see in my profile, not only is my anti-handicap high, but so is my (guess I need a name, I'll pick) "mode" handicap.  These three numbers show a 'sliding' window of your scores:

 

Break your 20 rounds up into 5 sections, call them A (lowest 5), B, C and D (highest 5).  Index uses A&B, mode uses B&C and anti-handicap uses C&D.  Seeing the progression across these three numbers tells you, in some respects, how good their good rounds are, and how much worse their other rounds are.  I think you could actually set up a pretty easy algorithm that says, 'based on your scores, we'll calculate these three numbers, and then based on their spread, the adjustment to your final index is X."  It still never addresses people who just don't turn in bad rounds, but it does help address the people who have higher handicaps but clearly hold the potential to drop some low scores every now and then.

post #11 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tomboys View Post


Was one of the guy's name Masashi Yamada?  You know.  The guy who claimed to be a 15 'capper and shot (an equivalent) of a gross 79 during the 1995 AT & T Pro-Am and won.  Well, someone stated that a 15 shooting a 79 was "statisically impossible", so they dug deeper and found out he was a 6.  From there, they stripped him of the title and basically black-balled him from ever playing that event again. 

 



Statistically impossible? That's only 8 shots better than his handicap. That can happen, OK not at the AT&T Pro AM, but it can happen! I could understand it if he had shot 69 off of 15.

 

post #12 of 43



 

Quote:
Originally Posted by sonicblue View Post

 

Break your 20 rounds up into 5 sections, call them A (lowest 5), B, C and D (highest 5).  Index uses A&B, mode uses B&C and anti-handicap uses C&D.  Seeing the progression across these three numbers tells you, in some respects, how good their good rounds are, and how much worse their other rounds are.  I think you could actually set up a pretty easy algorithm that says, 'based on your scores, we'll calculate these three numbers, and then based on their spread, the adjustment to your final index is X."  It still never addresses people who just don't turn in bad rounds, but it does help address the people who have higher handicaps but clearly hold the potential to drop some low scores every now and then.



OK, I'm a pro but wanted to do this imagining I was off 0. In 30 rounds this year my stroke average is 72.87. I like the mode idea...

 

Last 20 rounds:

 

Index: 70.70 (+1.3)

Mode: 72.40 (0.4)

Anti-handicap: 75.80 (3.8)

post #13 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by The_Pharaoh View Post





Statistically impossible? That's only 8 shots better than his handicap. That can happen, OK not at the AT&T Pro AM, but it can happen! I could understand it if he had shot 69 off of 15.

 

 

I've never shot my handicap in a tourney, let alone 8 under it.  It would seem like if you have a well-established handicap and haven't had some major breakthrough in your game, -8 would be a huge statistical anomaly.

 

Looking at the alleged numbers, he shot 8 under his false handicap, which was 1 over his true handicap.  

 

Brandon

post #14 of 43

No matter what kind of math you do with the numbers, you still have to start with numbers that are honest, or you don't get anywhere. Golfers who turn in phony scores will find a way to game any system. 

 

The USGA does have a tournament adjustment, though. If a player shoots too far below his or her handicap in two or more tournaments, a greater that normal adjustment downward is made. http://www.ncga.org/_pdf/10_3_handicap.pdf

post #15 of 43



 

Quote:
Originally Posted by The_Pharaoh View Post





Statistically impossible? That's only 8 shots better than his handicap. That can happen, OK not at the AT&T Pro AM, but it can happen! I could understand it if he had shot 69 off of 15.

 



Sorry, I left out some additional information.  Sure, the chances of a 15 shooting a 79 is about 1:1,000 (based on the article), so yeah, it could happen.  However, what got Mr. Masashi Yamada  noticed was that he did it (shot well below his handicap) for four consecutive days.  That's the part that made it "statistically impossible".

 

post #16 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Doctorfro View Post

Well, for the second year in a row, I played in our club's match play tournament only to run into a double digit handicapper who shot very close to par golf.  Coincidence?  Hmm? Think I'll stick to playing in non-handicap events. I'd rather lose straight up than to give strokes to guys who are just as good, if not better, than me.  


While that does suck for you mate do you know an awful lot about these "Sandbaggers"? Were they players with long established handicaps or players new to the game who are in the process of learning and capable of rapid improvement? What is their sporting background? I tend to play much better in matchplay because it fires up my competitive juices that don't typically get stimulated in an individual round.

 

I have fired off 6 pars on the front 9 in several matchplay games and hit the turn 4-6 holes up from a 22-26 handicap. I'm sure that would seem ridiculous to the low marker I am playing to need numerous birds to halve holes...if the match is over after 12 or 13 holes and I've shot 6-8 pars the impression the low marker is going to take away is that I played close to par golf. This is actually pretty different to playing par golf because my bad holes are usually double bogey or worse...often much worse. The low marker doesn't often remember the holes where I have conceded without making the green. Did they play near par golf for 18 holes or did they shoot enough pars early to put you under considerable pressure which you didn't manage to deal with?

 

And after all this "potential sandbagging" I may have been doing where is my handicap at - 22. What were my last two competitive rounds? Keep in mind this is the biggest tourney for our club outside of champs where we host visiting clubs from the district (so this is where I should be playing my out of the box game to win big) 12 stableford points in round 1 and 26 points in round 2 - humiliating stuff.

 

I'd trade the odd blinder for the consistency that a low marker has any day of the week and twice on Sunday...

post #17 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tomboys View Post



 



Sorry, I left out some additional information.  Sure, the chances of a 15 shooting a 79 is about 1:1,000 (based on the article), so yeah, it could happen.  However, what got Mr. Masashi Yamada  noticed was that he did it (shot well below his handicap) for four consecutive days.  That's the part that made it "statistically impossible".

 



lol, yes, that is a pretty big distinction.

 

Brandon

post #18 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by sonicblue View Post
He proposes an interesting adjustment there, where you look at your two best differentials.  A 'consistent' player, let's call him, would have differentials (relative to his current handicap) that might look something like: -4, -3, -2, -2, 1, 1, 1, 2, 2, 3 (mathematically, that may not work, you get my point).  Say someone had two lowest differentials of -6 and -8, and they were a 15.  He says that's a 1 in 7,249 chance, which is too small.  If you revise it to say, that should only happen 1 in 258 rounds, you adjust the handicap by however stair-steps in his table you need to go to get to that revised probability (in this case, it's three).  So that person becomes a 12.


Interesting idea, but you do have to be careful with tweaks like that.  That one in particular reeks of a posteriori statistics (although that's not necessarily a problem for this context).  I won't claim that the current USGA handicap system is ideal, but a lot of the complaints I see about it (at least the ones that aren't complaints about outright sandbagging) boil down to the better golfer not winning as often as he feels like he should.  That's not something that should be fixed, since if the handicap system were perfect then everyone would have equal odds of winning, regardless of their ability.

 

I have seen a few complaints that had plainly implausible numbers in virtually every tournament.  But I think a lot of it can boil down to misunderstanding the statistics.  Nominally rare events happen more often than you expect when there are lots of golfers and lots of possible rare events.  It's not the same thing, but the Birthday Paradox is an example of this sort of thing.

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