When you hit your first stroke from the tee, you have started your round. It doesn't matter what you call it. I guess if you play from outside of the teeing ground, then you can call it practice. Kind of hokey to me, but I don't really care as long as you aren't holding up my group as each of you plays 2 balls. Once you play from the teeing ground your round as begun.
The phrase I put in bold is a key to my way of thinking. For me, I don't say "more accurate than most", When I talk about a score or a round, I can say that my scores are accurate, with no qualifications. Maybe one round in 10 I find myself in that quandary of having lost a ball when it should be in plain sight, and the course is too crowded to return to the previous spot. This is very rare for me, as I am quick to play a provisional if there is any possible doubt. When that happens, for handicap purposes I pick up and go by the handicap manual for unfinished holes. If I'm also playing for score against my buddies, I will finish out the hole from there adding 2 penalty strokes. Such scores will never be counted for anything but handicap and the game within my group. I won't bring them up here Even if I ultimately shoot a 70-something, it just doesn't matter, and I don't go about bragging on it.
Like you, I've had some widely varying scores on the same course. In 1989 I shot a 73 while carrying a legitimate 16 handicap (it was the first time I ever broke 80, and it's still my personal best for my home course). It happened during the 3rd round of the club championship and was played completely under the rules ans I do use it a little bit for bragging rights. As a player wh has never carried an index lower than 9.6, I feel that shooting a 73 is a significant accomplishment. In 1991, in the first round of the club championship, carrying a legitimate 10 handicap, I shot a 104. I not ashamed to mention that one either, although not in the same way.
Here is my main gripe with the players who fudge their scores with cheap drops and foot wedges and then make excuses, or worse don't make excuses and still brag about those scores. I once stood on the 18th tee at 1 under par. I hooked my tee shot close to the OB stakes. I played a provisional ball rather poorly, then went up to find that my ball was indeed out of bounds. I wound up making a triple on the hole and didn't even tie that 73. Had I played it as most of the posters on this board feel is acceptable, I'd have just dropped up by where it was OB and played in with a one stroke penalty. Because that position would have actually been better than where my provisional ball was, I'd have probably made a bogey, and shot even par for the only time in my life. However, I'd never have been able to talk about it, because it would never really have happened. I played by the rules, scored a 74, and while that last hole left a bad taste in my mouth, 74 is still pretty good for a 10 handicap.
I really don't care how anyone plays their game or if they post bogus handicap rounds because it's only hurting them if they have to compete and have an artificially lowered HC. But when you come on here and tell people they are breaking rules yet state yourself that 10% of your rounds, 2 of your 20 posted HC are not legit it gives me pause to scratch my head.....Again, I don't care but how can you simply refer to that hole as unplayed? Based upon your HC you would likely enter either par or bogey depending on the hole difficulty. Had you rehit you'd already be down 2 strokes and likely double bogey or worse if you lost a second.
I'm not condemning your because I don't care. But those holier than thou who have never broke a rule on here preaching to everyone about the rules I'd love to watch them play. Have they never played alone and stuck it 1" from the cup at 100yrd out and took it as a gimme? Or did they tap it in with the flag still in? Almost everyone has. Why pull a pin to tap in a 1" putt in recreational play, even if it's to post a HC? Oh yea, because the rules say you must. When I watch lateral drops or relief drops on TV and they mark with tees and 2 clubs.....is that the rigid application of the rule or can you just drop it where you know it's a club length from where it entered? I really don't know that one but I've never on a course seen anyone mark with tees and 2 club lengths. They just drop where they safely know it's no closer and within 2 clubs. And God forbid you take a demo driver on the course to try out with your own ball and not range balls. Do you ditch your regular driver hoping you will play it well for 14 holes with the demo or do you do what most do....have 15 clubs for that one round?
Tournament play is a whole other matter but recreational play is likely fudged a little by everyone. I don't take 2 off the 1st when posting for HC because I believe it could be an added advantage to enhance a score but the others I have to look at and see if there is an added advantage by fudging the rule. 1" tap in with flag in is hard to show an advantage IMO. But I guess a rule is a rule. I'll make sure my guys pull over and write tickets for everyone driving 56 in a 55 because that's the law by God. Oh? I can fudge that one? LOL