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How difficult are PGA Tour course setups? - Page 5

post #73 of 120
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lihu View Post

Does this make for closer scores?

Not unless the "members" were all tour quality players.
post #74 of 120
Thread Starter 

I think the trouble with how hard some say the setups are for amateur golfers of a given ability is perhaps slightly due to how we talk about them, I think at times we're talking cross purposes due to differences in the handicap system. When members on the forum say "Even a scratch player would score x...." or "I play with a lot of scratch players and they aren't close to.......", that sort of thing, I just don't see it. I'm getting down towards Scratch (well, playing to about 2 at the mo but can only put in cards in competitions, I'll get there....) and I don't look at the courses and quiver with fear. But maybe that's all in what a scratch player is to you and what a scratch player is to us. I'm going to go off on a bit of a tangent but I'll try to explain.

I'm going to start by making some assumptions (never a good thing to admit :) ).

Firstly Dr Bo Rotella says in one of his books "Fifteen years ago, the average American male golfer's handicap was 16.2. The average female golfer's handicap was 29. Today, the average American male golfer's handicap is 16.2 and the average female golfer's is 29." I'm going to make the assumption that he's not making it up and handicaps have been fairly static over that whole period and there's not a great difference in that on either side of the pond.

Secondly I'm going to make the assumption that golfers over in the States are, by and large, of a similar standard to golfers over here. Further, I don't believe that the average course on this side of the pond is harder than in the States. None of this "Our golf is better than your golf" stuff.

Thirdly, Golf.com doesn't blatantly make stuff up either...... (well not often anyway). More about this in a mo.

Now as I think everyone knows, as your handicap lowers it gets harder and harder to cut shots off your handicap - there's more of a difference between a scratch player and a plus 2 than between a 16 and 18 handicapper. There are also fewer and fewer of each handicap level as you get down towards scratch, it's a classic bell shaped curve. So, why am I pointing all this out? I would say that when I say a scratch player would do "Ok" but other members say "Not even close" we need to look at what we mean by a scratch player. So, bearing in mind the assumptions earlier I'll show you some numbers.

Golf.com says that in the States there are 306,000 male golfer of scratch or better (http://www.golf.com/instruction/why-no-288-will-never-catch-no-1?page=3) . Now this seems awfully high but it's backed up by other things I've read as being in the ball park. And like I said, I'm guessing they don't make things up. Allegedly there are about 4.5 million golfers with registered handicaps in the US. So of the handicapped golfing population approximately 6.5 % of golfers, 6 or 7 in every 100, are "scratch golfers"..... give or take. I've seen 6.8% written down before (on here I think?!?) but it's allegedly in this area.

Contrast that with a survey of all Scottish handicaps under our system a few years ago. There are 230,000 golfers who are members of the Scottish golf union and come under their handicapping system. Nationally, how many were playing off scratch or better? 448........I've not left zeros off, the number was 448 players nationally, male and female, playing to scratch or better(considerably less than one per club as it happens). That's under 0.2%..... 2 out of every thousand handicapped golfers, not 6 or 7 in every 100. There were only 14 nationally playing off plus 3, one off plus 4 and one off plus 5.

So what?

Basically, when I say a scratch player would do ok, that's not in any way because I think our golfers are better than your golfers, it's because when we say a "Scratch Golfer" we are talking a whole world apart from what guys like impactswing is talking about when he says he plays with lots of "Scratch Golfers". That is why I said a Scratch player would do ok. When a guy here says he's playing to scratch or better, he's that top 1 out of the 30 guys there that are playing to what you call scratch or better - it means something totally different.

Lies, damn lies and statistics :)

But hopefully it clarifies what I'm talking about by saying a "Scratch Player" wouldn't struggle. What we call a scratch player - I don't think he would.

post #75 of 120
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nosevi View Post

Firstly Dr Bo Rotella says in one of his books "Fifteen years ago, the average American male golfer's handicap was 16.2. The average female golfer's handicap was 29. Today, the average American male golfer's handicap is 16.2 and the average female golfer's is 29." I'm going to make the assumption that he's not making it up and handicaps have been fairly static over that whole period and there's not a great difference in that on either side of the pond.

I've linked several times to a post which days this is not true. So be careful about assuming.

Someone else can probably find the link for me. On my phone about to board sixteenth from last on a 100% full 5-hour Southwest flight… ugh.

EDIT: http://thesandtrap.com/t/35971/what-the-usga-and-club-manufacturers-dont-want-you-to-know/0_30#post_463168
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bomb and Gouge:
Either that or we're in the midst of one of the most curious coincidences in the 500-year history of our game. First, to the evidence about us. The USGA is unequivocal about average golfers: Despite decades of naysayers and experts alike suggesting that the average handicap is not dropping, has not dropped and never will drop, the fact is, it has. Let's say that again: The average handicap of all golfers -- men, women and children -- has decreased consistently for the past 15 years. The average handicap today is two strokes better than it was in the early 1990s, according to research provided to Golf Digest by the USGA's Golf Handicap & Information Network (GHIN). This decrease coincides with a remarkable decade of equipment innovation that has brought us titanium drivers in every shape and size, game-changing hybrids and oversize putters.

Source: http://www.golfdigest.com/golf-equipment/hot-list/hotlistevolution_0902
post #76 of 120
Quote:

Originally Posted by Nosevi View Post

. . .

 

Golf.com says that in the States there are 306,000 male golfer of scratch or better (http://www.golf.com/instruction/why-no-288-will-never-catch-no-1?page=3) . Now this seems awfully high but it's backed up by other things I've read as being in the ball park. And like I said, I'm guessing they don't make things up. Allegedly there are about 4.5 million golfers with registered handicaps in the US. So of the handicapped golfing population approximately 6.5 % of golfers, 6 or 7 in every 100, are "scratch golfers"..... give or take. I've seen 6.8% written down before (on here I think?!?) but it's allegedly in this area.

Contrast that with a survey of all Scottish handicaps under our system a few years ago. There are 230,000 golfers who are members of the Scottish golf union and come under their handicapping system. Nationally, how many were playing off scratch or better? 448........I've not left zeros off, the number was 448 players nationally, male and female, playing to scratch or better(considerably less than one per club as it happens). That's under 0.2%..... 2 out of every thousand handicapped golfers, not 6 or 7 in every 100. There were only 14 nationally playing off plus 3, one off plus 4 and one off plus 5.

So what?

 

If we include 3 or below, the number you quoted seems more reasonable, and I think there are 5 million registered male handicaps.

 

http://www.usga.org/handicapping/articles_resources/Men-s--Handicap-Indexes/

 

1.6% still seems high for the percentage of scratch golfers with registered handicaps (who are roughly about 10% of the golfing population?)

post #77 of 120

To answer the question posed in the thread title:

 

As I understand it, they play from the tips (obviously) on, usually, already difficult courses.  I think they sometimes cut the fairways a little narrower than they usually are**, let the rough grow higher, and make the greens run faster.***

 

**Several years ago, I played Torrey Pines several weeks prior to the then Buick Invitational and I remember painted lines several feet, sometimes yards, in from the edges of the fairways, and I made the educated guess that they were marking where they were going to be cutting the fairways for the tournament.

 

***This is more a guess based on what they say on TV (greens running at 12 or 13), and just watching how easy they have to hit it.

 

Not to mention, they go with the tough pin placements, usually on Sunday, as well.  So, yeah, I would assume that the courses are set up quite tough.

post #78 of 120

I'm not sure what exactly the argument here is.  A couple guys are over(under?)estimating what pro's handicaps would be and at the same time talking about how tour courses and setups aren't as hard as people say.  So you're saying you have to have a superhuman +8 to be average on the PGA tour, or all of us amateurs who can break par on tough amateur courses would do fine on tour?

 

I haven't played any courses that host tour events, but I've played a few with ratings from the non-PGA-tournament back tees similar to the ratings of courses that host events (ratings for the normal setup that is).  The question in the OP doesn't seem that tricky.  The layout of most tour courses is of similar difficulty as the those of the couple most difficult courses any of us has played.  Move the back tees further back and to one side, thin the fairways, let the rough grow when there's not a drought, and speed up the greens.  That doesn't make it some crazy superhuman course none of us could break 150 on, and on our very best days we could probably go out and only shoot a handful of strokes over our course handicap.  It would also mean that on any but our best days, we'd leak strokes left and right with the super long holes, tough green setups to approach with longer clubs, thin fairways, tough rough, and fast greens.  Our average score on course setups like that would be much worse than we're used to.  Is that not the obvious answer?

post #79 of 120

I volunteered at the Senior PGA Open at Bellerive CC last summer.

 

When people talk about the rough in pro tournaments, they often forget about lack of rough on the edge of elevated or crowned greens.

 

When the members play such a hole during normal times, the downhill slope has first-cut rough. A shot catching the edge of the green, or hitting the green with too much backspin, will roll into the first-cut and stop on a slight downslope.

 

To prepare for the pros, the downslope around the green is shaved. Such a ball skipping around the edge of the green will hit the downslope and roll downhill into the deep rough. This can leave a shaggy shot that's a blind shot.

 

Sometime the light rough is your friend!

post #80 of 120
Thread Starter 
Firstly, thank iacas - that stat/'fact' has always seriously bother me. My coaching involves the use of high speed video, launch monitors (2 types), physical profiling, performance testing, my coach is even trying to get me to eat healthily and cut down on alcohol. It 'bothered' me that no matter what we're doing collectively, it was making no difference.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lihu View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nosevi View Post

. . .

Golf.com says that in the States there are 306,000 male golfer of scratch or better (http://www.golf.com/instruction/why-no-288-will-never-catch-no-1?page=3) . Now this seems awfully high but it's backed up by other things I've read as being in the ball park. And like I said, I'm guessing they don't make things up.............


If we include 3 or below, the number you quoted seems more reasonable, and I think there are 5 million registered male handicaps.

http://www.usga.org/handicapping/articles_resources/Men-s--Handicap-Indexes/

1.6% still seems high for the percentage of scratch golfers with registered handicaps (who are roughly about 10% of the golfing population?)

Ok, so Golf.com do make stuff up :) Looking at the new stats though you'd need to involve a chunk of the guys from the next group as those with a handicap 0.4 to zero have a playing handicap of scratch. So you're at about 2% (if golf.com lies but the USGA tells the truth) and if there's 5 million golfers, that's 100,000 scratch players. 2% is still very different from the 0.2% over here as a percentage of players who are off what we deem to be scratch.

When guys like impactswing say that you need to be plus 8 to play on tour and cope with these courses that doesn't compute. It's saying no amateur in Scotland is within 2 strokes of ever getting on a golf tour, 1 guy is within 3 strokes, only 2 guys within 4 strokes - that's nonsense. But if you take what iacas says - they are more like plus 5 or so, then factor in the fact our plus 3 is more like your plus 5, it looks more reasonable.

So when I'm debating whether a "scratch" player would struggle, over here (this is a US site after all) I need to change my terminology. I mean someone you guys would have at plus 2 or towards plus 3. My current scoring is getting down towards what you guys call scratch, but I'm cat 1, it hasn't been in comps recently and our handicap is cumulative not the average of the best 10 from the last 20 social rounds (with a correction factor....). I actually think your system is more sensible, my official handicap doesn't reflect my current scoring, which to me is what a handicap should be all about.

As an aside, I'm still struggling with all this talk of deep rough. Drought or no drought, for PGA tour events the 'deep stuff' is, on average, cut at an even 3 inches or so across the whole course. We don't cut the deep rough at all here, it's often 3 feet in the summer on courses I play, not 3 inches. You guys aren't expecting us to cut it at Gleneagles this year, are you? In for a shock if you are :D
post #81 of 120
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nosevi View Post

As an aside, I'm still struggling with all this talk of deep rough. Drought or no drought, for PGA tour events the 'deep stuff' is, on average, cut at an even 3 inches or so across the whole course. We don't cut the deep rough at all here, it's often 3 feet in the summer on courses I play, not 3 inches. You guys aren't expecting us to cut it at Gleneagles this year, are you? In for a shock if you are :D

Sounds to me like you are making a somewhat false comparison.  The "rough," as we define it, is usually the grass immediately off the fairway.  That's the stuff that might be 3 inches high, sometimes a less, sometimes more.  At the US Open, its often closer to 5 or 6 inches.  It sounds to me like you are talking about the natural stuff way off the course.  We have plenty of courses here that have natural grass beyond the rough that is unplayable.

 

I have NEVER seen, in person or on TV, a golf course that has fairways bordered by 3 foot high rough.  That would be like playing in tunnels.  Unless you are talking about courses that have 60 yard wide fairways?  (Which, to me, means the course doesn't have rough)

post #82 of 120
Thread Starter 

Back to the courses (which is really what I was talking about) I actually think this article makes a good point (as long as it's not all made up as well - please tell me if it is :) )

 

http://www.popeofslope.com/magazine/how_tough_augusta.html

 

The question is - Why does Augusta not want to be rated? "Our members already know each other's games," is about the most pitiful excuse I have ever heard. It's not rated because people like the Committee at Augusta want to tell everyone how tough their course is and this belief is perpetuated by others.

 

This article says during the Masters that year (2010) it was at about 78.1 . Given between a 2 and 3 shot difference in our handicaps at the scratch level, the course I used as an example at the start of all this has a course rating (with standard rough, bunkers, fairway width etc) of about 77.5 off the back tees on a day to day basis, so about half a shot difference than Augusta when set up for a major. The top pros in the world (not just the PGA Tour) averaged 72.6. So fair to say they would be about par on average round The Hotchkin off the back tees, set up as it normally is?

 

What's more telling is what the course rating guys from the USGA estimated different handicappers would score on average. It says 10 handicappers would average 93. Now that's pretty high but it's not nearly as high as some, the Committee at Augusta included, would have you believe. A scratch player over there would hope to average 81 and one of what we term a scratch player would hope to average 78. Average, not the round of their life.

 

I really do think the committees at the courses, tournament directors, PGA Tour complete with new slogan and commentators (and impactswing - sorry mate, just teasing :) ) do big up how good these guys are and how tough the courses are. Great players, tough courses....... but not demi-gods playing golf on impossible courses.

post #83 of 120
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Golfingdad View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nosevi View Post

As an aside, I'm still struggling with all this talk of deep rough. Drought or no drought, for PGA tour events the 'deep stuff' is, on average, cut at an even 3 inches or so across the whole course. We don't cut the deep rough at all here, it's often 3 feet in the summer on courses I play, not 3 inches. You guys aren't expecting us to cut it at Gleneagles this year, are you? In for a shock if you are :D

Sounds to me like you are making a somewhat false comparison.  The "rough," as we define it, is usually the grass immediately off the fairway.  That's the stuff that might be 3 inches high, sometimes a less, sometimes more.  At the US Open, its often closer to 5 or 6 inches.  It sounds to me like you are talking about the natural stuff way off the course.  We have plenty of courses here that have natural grass beyond the rough that is unplayable.

 

I have NEVER seen, in person or on TV, a golf course that has fairways bordered by 3 foot high rough.  That would be like playing in tunnels.  Unless you are talking about courses that have 60 yard wide fairways?  (Which, to me, means the course doesn't have rough)

You lot looking forward to your visit to the UK for the Ryder cup?

 

 

Teasing again but no I am not imagining it. And the document I posted earlier put out by the PGA Tour dictates that all the grass throughout the course (at a normal tour event) should be cut at between 2-4 inches. Just off the fairway in the first cut it's 1- 1.5 inches.

post #84 of 120
Thread Starter 

Last thing I'll say on the question of rough (which I consider to be hugely important to a course's defences - it makes a massive difference) then I'll leave you all alone, honest.

 

This is the shot of the Hotchkin I posted earlier:

 

 

This is the hole it's taken from:

 

 

It's not miles off the fairway, in fact the fairway bunker lies in it.

 

The width of the landing zone on the fairway which is marked is measured at 30 yards (comparable to what is dictated for the PGA Tour), the semi is 5 or so yards either side and you pray your ball stops in it. If it doesn't then you're into this stuff. I would say this is not comparable to what they generally play on the PGA, it's not even close. Even put someone like Tiger in this stuff all day and he's going to have a horrible round. He'd have to back it off and hit the fairway or he'd be swearing and throwing clubs all day.

 

Anyway, I'm done. Cheers for the lively debate. Look forward to some healthy debate come the Ryder cup :)

post #85 of 120
I think it's an impossible debate to conclude tbh. Tiger may well change his course strategy* for Hotchkin Nosevi. But he would probably find the greens easier to play on etc.
There is no "standard/average" course that we can compare things with so it will go around in circles.

*Like he does at The Open, an iron of the tee may be used.
He still can post a great score at The Open, but he won't tear it up as he does at some of the tour events were -20 gets you a top 10.
That's not a Eur v US angle either, put him on the European Tour and he would destroy most of the parkland courses.
There are also plenty of events in the US were scoring is low. Your course is very links like, I think most would agree that a links or links like course may be slightly harder to score on.

My conclusion. Some courses are harder than others.

I'm surprised this point hasn't been mentioned but I would love to see what someone like Bubba would score at the Northern Trust if he played under the exact same course conditions but without the crowds or ball spotters. Same course but an empty course if you get me.

It would be interesting to see if he would tone down his aggression. If he didn't I would expect he would have to play quite a few provisionals, would lose a fair few balls and his score would suffer due to the lack of crowds to "flatten" the "wild rough".
That's where they get a big advantage IMO. I wouldn't get too hung up on the exact hight of the fringes or semi rough. The fact that a Pro like Bubba can hit it 60 yards off the fairway and
1. Have someone find his ball and then
2. Benefit from the crowds have flattened that area
Is a big advantage.

I'm guessing he would tone down his aggression off the tee on this empty course, he may score similar to the 15 under with this less aggressive approach, but I would assume it may cost him a few shots.
post #86 of 120
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nosevi View Post

Back to the courses (which is really what I was talking about) I actually think this article makes a good point (as long as it's not all made up as well - please tell me if it is :) )

http://www.popeofslope.com/magazine/how_tough_augusta.html

The question is - Why does Augusta not want to be rated? "Our members already know each other's games," is about the most pitiful excuse I have ever heard. It's not rated because people like the Committee at Augusta want to tell everyone how tough their course is and this belief is perpetuated by others.

This article says during the Masters that year (2010) it was at about 78.1 . Given between a 2 and 3 shot difference in our handicaps at the scratch level, the course I used as an example at the start of all this has a course rating (with standard rough, bunkers, fairway width etc) of about 77.5 off the back tees on a day to day basis, so about half a shot difference than Augusta when set up for a major. The top pros in the world (not just the PGA Tour) averaged 72.6. So fair to say they would be about par on average round The Hotchkin off the back tees, set up as it normally is?

What's more telling is what the course rating guys from the USGA estimated different handicappers would score on average. It says 10 handicappers would average 93. Now that's pretty high but it's not nearly as high as some, the Committee at Augusta included, would have you believe. A scratch player over there would hope to average 81 and one of what we term a scratch player would hope to average 78. Average, not the round of their life.

I really do think the committees at the courses, tournament directors, PGA Tour complete with new slogan and commentators (and impactswing - sorry mate, just teasing :) ) do big up how good these guys are and how tough the courses are. Great players, tough courses....... but not demi-gods playing golf on impossible courses.

I'm curious, and I don't want to stray OT, but yOu keep insinuating, among other things, that a "scratch" golfer over there is somehow a better player than here. I suspect that you have a poor understanding of the relatively minor differences in our handicapping systems, but I'd be interested to hear why you think that is.
post #87 of 120
Anyone else singing "there may be trouble ahead" to themselves :)

@Dave it's a common enough mindset the people in Congu land think there is a slight difference, they are different systems after all.
If someone over here thinks this (I do) than that is fair, but ye guys have every right to be P*ssed off with our attitude.

Maybe it's worth a new thread?
I would like to get to know the differences a bit better myself. I have spent time to get to know your system but I probably have a lot to learn.
post #88 of 120
Quote:
Originally Posted by Golfingdad View Post
 

Sounds to me like you are making a somewhat false comparison.  The "rough," as we define it, is usually the grass immediately off the fairway.  That's the stuff that might be 3 inches high, sometimes a less, sometimes more.  At the US Open, its often closer to 5 or 6 inches.  It sounds to me like you are talking about the natural stuff way off the course.  We have plenty of courses here that have natural grass beyond the rough that is unplayable.

 

I have NEVER seen, in person or on TV, a golf course that has fairways bordered by 3 foot high rough.  That would be like playing in tunnels.  Unless you are talking about courses that have 60 yard wide fairways?  (Which, to me, means the course doesn't have rough)


Absolutely. What the OP is calling "rough" would be in the swamp or in the woods here in the Southeast and in the desert out west.

 

Another thing that seems completely misunderstood in this thread is whether the difficulty of "rough" can be judged by looking at a picture. The hayfield next to my house looks long, uncut, and scraggly like the pictures in this thread. I know golf courses with Bermuda rough that is only 4 inches tall that is much more penal than that hay field but looks like a mowed yard.

 

With 4 inch Bermuda it's almost impossible to find a golf ball unless you happen to step on it and if you are lucky enough to find it getting the club on the ball is about like trying to tear through shag carpeting. Looks can be very deceiving in different types and thicknesses of grass.

post #89 of 120
Quote:
Originally Posted by MS256 View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by Golfingdad View Post

 
Sounds to me like you are making a somewhat false comparison.  The "rough," as we define it, is usually the grass immediately off the fairway.  That's the stuff that might be 3 inches high, sometimes a less, sometimes more.  At the US Open, its often closer to 5 or 6 inches.  It sounds to me like you are talking about the natural stuff way off the course.  We have plenty of courses here that have natural grass beyond the rough that is unplayable.

I have NEVER seen, in person or on TV, a golf course that has fairways bordered by 3 foot high rough.  That would be like playing in tunnels.  Unless you are talking about courses that have 60 yard wide fairways?  (Which, to me, means the course doesn't have rough)


Absolutely. What the OP is calling "rough" would be in the swamp or in the woods here in the Southeast and in the desert out west.

Another thing that seems completely misunderstood in this thread is whether the difficulty of "rough" can be judged by looking at a picture. The hayfield next to my house looks long, uncut, and scraggly like the pictures in this thread. I know golf courses with Bermuda rough that is only 4 inches tall that is much more penal than that hay field but looks like a mowed yard.

With 4 inch Bermuda it's almost impossible to find a golf ball unless you happen to step on it and if you are lucky enough to find it getting the club on the ball is about like trying to tear through shag carpeting. Looks can be very deceiving in different types and thicknesses of grass.

Speaking in regard to our desert rough, we also have rattlesnakes sunning themselves in our rough.

Not a good idea to walk through it, even if you see your ball. Hidden Valley and Angeles have rattlesnake signs up.
post #90 of 120
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by David in FL View Post

I'm curious, and I don't want to stray OT, but yOu keep insinuating, among other things, that a "scratch" golfer over there is somehow a better player than here. I suspect that you have a poor understanding of the relatively minor differences in our handicapping systems, but I'd be interested to hear why you think that is.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by hopefulhacker View Post

Anyone else singing "there may be trouble ahead" to themselves :)
..........
but ye guys have every right to be P*ssed off with our attitude.

 

 

Hopeful, it's not an attitude it's just a different way of calling a golfer something. I don't think our golfers are better, and I certainly don't think our system of handicapping is better, wish we'd change to the US system if I'm honest.

 

There's a measurable difference in the two systems and that means that if you take a given golfer of x handicap under the USGA system and work out their handicap under CONGU, the guy will have a higher CONGU handicap that is just a simple fact. The difference is about 3 shots for a higher handicapper and about 2 or so for a CAT 1 golfer (although that may increase as CAT 1 golfers can no longer submit any rounds outside a competition). That means that when you get a golfer of say a 13 handicap under CONGU, that guy would hold about a 10 handicap under USGA. A Scratch golfer under COGU would be about a +2 player under USGA

 

David, I have a perfectly good understanding of both systems, it's not better or worse, it's just different. Obviously, statistically, taking the numbers above there are 10 times more 'scratch players' per handicapped player in the US than in say Scotland, under CONGU. This is unlikely. It's really that what you term a 'scratch' player is not what we term a scratch player - under CONGU they'd come out at about a 2 handicapper - and there are 10 times more of those than what we term a 'scratch player'.

 

Several countries like Australia and New Zealand have changed form a CONGU based system to a USGA based system in the last few years and all have found the same - handicaps dropped.

 

Here's a chap with far too much time on his hands - http://tryingtobeascratchgolfer.blogspot.co.uk/2010/02/my-us-handicap.html - He's been tracking his handicap under both systems for years. Lowest he's been under USGA 0.9, he was a 2.5 under CONGU.

 

My lowest scores at one of my home tracks have been -4, -2, -1 (x3 times)......... none of which counted towards lowering my handicap as CONGU will no longer allow CAT 1 golfers to submit supplementary scores outside an official competition. Social rounds don't count only competition rounds shot against Competition Scratch Score....... and they all count.

 

Who's system is better?

 

Yours in the US, hands down, especially if you are improving as ours takes an eternity to get your handicap down.

 

Hypothetical example for you. I was a 5.4 handicap but could shoot a scratch round (I was, I did, several times) let's say that is my current 'potential'. The first time I do it my handicap would drop by 0.5 so I'd be a 4.9 handicap. But the thing is, under our system the closer you get to scratch the smaller the drop - when you are a 1.4 handicap or below and you shoot a scratch round it only goes down by 0.1.

 

In fact if you're a 5.4 handicap and you start shooting scratch rounds, you have to shoot scratch 26 times in order to reduce your handicap to 0.0. All of these times have to be in an official competition. And every time you shoot 2 over your current handicap or more your handicap goes back up by 0.1 and you need another scratch round to cancel that out. In reality if you shoot down to scratch 10 times with a few rounds between that are just above your handicap you will not be close to scratch here, you would be there - that's not a comment on the systems or an attitude it's just simple maths. If you shoot scratch, scratch, 2 over you handicap, scratch, scratch, 2 over handicap (which is perhaps more realistic if your 'potential' is scratch), in order to get from a 1 handicapper to a 0.0 you'd have to shoot scratch 26 times in a competition.

 

Like I say, the US system is better, it's more accurate and properly reflects a golfers potential at any given time. But there is a measurable difference in the 2 systems and when a guy gets to scratch under the USGA system he would not be scratch under CONGU.

 

If anyone is unconvinced - give me your handicap 20 rounds ago, your last 20 scores and your course rating and I'll tell you what your handicap would have been under CONGU. I absolutely guarantee it'll be higher than it is under USGA.

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