Originally Posted by Chunk
Do these exist? I see some people post about golf tourneys they play in and look at their handicaps and they are around my 20 handicap.
Not a stupid question at all. It can be hard to find opportunities to play handicapped tournaments. There are always amateur events available for players with low single digit indexes. Most state golf associations have a full schedule of events for the very good player but often few or no opportunities for those of us with indexes of 10+.
Generally handicapped tournaments are arranged in one of two formats, flighted by handicap or net scoring using full or a percentage of handicap.
Flighted tournaments place everyone with an index falling within a pre-set range into a group or "flight" (e.g. 0.0 - 3.9; 4.0 to 7.9; 8.0 to 13.9; 14.0 to 19.9 and 20.0+). Scoring within the flight is at scratch - no handicap adjustment is made. The winner is the player with the lowest gross score within the flight. The best examples of this type of tournament is the Golfweek Amateur Tour and/or the Golf Channel Amateur Tour.
Net tournaments give every player their full course handicap based on their current index. Sometimes organizers go one further step and flight the players by age, gender and/or index while still playing to a net score. The best example of this is the World Amateur Handicap Championship held in Myrtle Beach each year.
So how do you find these handicap tournaments? Start with your state or local golf associations. In Michigan the demand for net tournaments was great enough that the USGA affiliated Golf Association of Michigan now holds several "Net" events annually. It is common for cities to have golf championships. Some are for just the elite amateur but others cater to every type of golfer by using flights and/or awarding prizes for both "Gross" and "Net" results. Most allow entries from nonresidents so one does not need to live in Taylor, Livonia or Ann Arbor to play in the City Championship. Many public courses hold a handicapped club championship or other tournament designed for all levels of ability. Typically these events are posted on club bulletin boards and/or websites.
Finally, there are often amateur associations that sponsor & run a series of events. In Michigan we are fortunate to have both the Michigan Publinx Golf Association and the Michigan Publinx Senior Golf Association. Each of these groups run a series of handicapped events throughout the summer. It would not surprise me if Ohio did not have similar groups.
With a bit of work, you probably can find a number of events in Ohio where an index of 20.0 will be competitive within the proper flight or where prizes are awarded for "Net" scoring.