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Definition of a scratch golfer

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 

Getting to scratch golf is probably the holy grail of amateur golf. So, it would be nice for everyone to truly understand what it takes to become one, and discuss what everyone's idea of what is a scratch golfer.

 

My original interpretation was that a scratch golfer can hit driver off the tee an average of 250 yards and make a 470 yard par 4 in two shots driver and 3W or something like that.

 

This perception has changed in the last few months as I started watching college level players and really good amateurs hit their PW in the 150 yard range, and consider themselves as scratch golfers.

 

What are your perceptions?

 

The widely accepted text definition is as follows:

 

According to the USGA, a scratch golfer is defined as "a player who can play to a Course Handicap of zero on any and all rated golf courses. A male scratch golfer, for rating purposes, can hit tee shots an average of 250 yards and can reach a 470-yard hole in two shots at sea level. A female scratch golfer, for rating purposes, can hit tee shots an average of 210 yards and can reach a 400-yard hole in two shots at sea level."

 

Breaking down the definition we have a few phrases:

"a player who can play to a Course Handicap of zero on any and all rated golf courses"

 

That does this mean? Is the rated golf course 72/113 or could it also be 74.1/145? or even higher? What does "all rated courses" really mean? Does it mean that for the hardest rate course a scratch can score 0 over par and on easier courses they score sub-par?

 

can hit tee shots an average of 250 yards

 

 

Does this mean that if they use an 7i on one and driver on another the average would be 250? This means that if you hit your driver 300 and you 7i 200, that would give you an average tee shot of 250?

 

 

reach a 470-yard hole in two shots at sea level.

 

With what? Driver/3W or Driver/PW?

 

I presume that the answers are similar for female scratch golfers.

A female scratch golfer, for rating purposes, can hit tee shots an average of 210 yards and can reach a 400-yard hole in two shots at sea level."

 

So, is my new perception of scratch distorted or was my old one underestimating the scratch golfer?

post #2 of 23

Ignore the distance piece.  It's really not relevant and only affects those that are rating courses.

 

From our perspective, a scratch golfer is one who can play to a zero course handicap.  That doesn't mean they shoot par every time, but based on CR and slope will be below a .4 differential.......in simple terms, they'll average less than .5 strokes above the CR for any course they play.  There's a bit more to it than that, but that'll get you pretty darn close.

 

Most of us go one step further though and routinely define it as anyone carrying a "0" handicap index which is only calculated by the low 10 of your last 20 rounds.  That's not quite what the USGA means, but for most of us, that's where we're going to draw the line.

 

Regardless, an honest to God scratch golfer is stupid good, by most of our standards.

post #3 of 23
For me when I think scratch golfer I think of someone that had potential of shooting par at any course he plays.. Doesn't mean that they have to as sometimes they'll score below par and sometimes over, but they hover around it all the time.. I hate to think that someone who has never shot even par in a pro course can be considered a scratch golfer no matter what the HC system says.. That's my opinion anyway, eventually I want to be able to play par golf, but not just be able to say that my HC is 0!
post #4 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Abu3baid View Post

For me when I think scratch golfer I think of someone that had potential of shooting par at any course he plays.. Doesn't mean that they have to as sometimes they'll score below par and sometimes over, but they hover around it all the time.. I hate to think that someone who has never shot even par in a pro course can be considered a scratch golfer no matter what the HC system says.. That's my opinion anyway, eventually I want to be able to play par golf, but not just be able to say that my HC is 0!

 

Sure, but driving 280+ yards and hitting a PW into orbit would also be pretty impressive to the average golfer.

post #5 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by David in FL View Post

Ignore the distance piece.  It's really not relevant and only affects those that are rating courses.



 



From our perspective, a scratch golfer is one who can play to a zero course handicap.  That doesn't mean they shoot par every time, but based on CR and slope will be below a .4 differential.......in simple terms, they'll average less than .5 strokes above the CR for any course they play.  There's a bit more to it than that, but that'll get you pretty darn close.



 



Most of us go one step further though and routinely define it as anyone carrying a "0" handicap index which is only calculated by the low 10 of your last 20 rounds.  That's not quite what the USGA means, but for most of us, that's where we're going to draw the line.



 



Regardless, an honest to God scratch golfer is stupid good, by most of our standards.


 



The last two paragraphs are what I think of as a scratch golfer.
post #6 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lihu View Post
 

 

Sure, but driving 280+ yards and hitting a PW into orbit would also be pretty impressive to the average golfer.

I play with a good friend of mine who hits his driver 290+ very regularly and straight. He also hits his PW about 145-150.  I think the lowest he got down to was .8 or something just under 1.  He has only shot par on an 18 hole round 1 time and he wouldn't consider himself a scratch golfer.  It is really fun to watch him even though he has fallen off in the last year of 2 (he doesn't really play all that much anymore). Whats funny to me is he knows a guy he's played with a number of times thats a plus handicap and he said theres a huge difference between the two of them.  Shooting around par is just so difficult I respect the hell out of anyone that gets to that level.

post #7 of 23

Hey Abu.  You are H\cap 26 now, presumably a grown adult, live in a land with few golf courses and those probably very dear in cost, and expect one day to shoot par on any course?  Is that really you or the tooth fairy talking? 

No disrespect of your dream intended but i don't think you can truly understand how steep is the climb to the top of the hill and how heavy is the bag you must carry. 

I'm breaking my a** trying to move from H'cap 19 to 15. Unless some miracle occurs which can upset my life story of 50 years of golfing behaviour, i will be blessed and grateful if i reach my goal in my lifetime. Par?  I may as wish to win the lottery. 

post #8 of 23

Scratch = damn good, less than 1% of all golfers and is not relative to how far they drive the ball but rather how many strokes it takes to hear that sound of ball rattling around in the cup.

post #9 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by joekelly View Post
 

Hey Abu.  You are H\cap 26 now, presumably a grown adult, live in a land with few golf courses and those probably very dear in cost, and expect one day to shoot par on any course?  Is that really you or the tooth fairy talking? 

No disrespect of your dream intended but i don't think you can truly understand how steep is the climb to the top of the hill and how heavy is the bag you must carry. 

I'm breaking my a** trying to move from H'cap 19 to 15. Unless some miracle occurs which can upset my life story of 50 years of golfing behaviour, i will be blessed and grateful if i reach my goal in my lifetime. Par?  I may as wish to win the lottery. 

 

:)

 

yes, I am only 35 yo, so I hope there is plenty of time ahead.  Besides I was just talking about what I consider to be a scratch golfer in my opinion and how I hope to become one someday (nothing to do with the tooth fairy here)... I am taking the necessary steps to achieve my goals and I have ways to measure my progress as well.. I might not be accelerating the process, but that is because of other obligations and family and the fact that I didn't start golf when I was 7.

 

Anyway, none of this is here nor there, so I can hope and dream and I will enjoy the journey there as much as I will enjoy the result at the end!

post #10 of 23

To me a scratch golfer is just what the book says it is, minus the distance references. If you can shoot the course rating at any course on any given day, you are a scratch golfer in my eyes. I don't mean have the round of your life and shoot the course rating once, but do so consistently so that your handicap reflects it by being near zero. There is a significant disparity between me and a scratch golfer, and an even bigger disparity between a scratch golfer and a +2. The margins widen as you go lower. A good friend of mine is a pro that hovers between +2 and +3, and he's on a completely different level than me when it comes to golf. Several levels, actually.

post #11 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Maddog10 View Post
 

To me a scratch golfer is just what the book says it is, minus the distance references. If you can shoot the course rating at any course on any given day, you are a scratch golfer in my eyes. I don't mean have the round of your life and shoot the course rating once, but do so consistently so that your handicap reflects it by being near zero. There is a significant disparity between me and a scratch golfer, and an even bigger disparity between a scratch golfer and a +2. The margins widen as you go lower. A good friend of mine is a pro that hovers between +2 and +3, and he's on a completely different level than me when it comes to golf. Several levels, actually.

 

What visible differences between you and your buddy are there?  It seems you are very accomplish already, then what separates his skills vs. yours?  Ball striking, short games within 100 yd, chipping, putting, different shot making, etc or all of above and beyond?   Is your pro friend in pga tour or web.com tour?  If not, does your friend say his skills are not up to the par to those guys?  I'm always curious about this topic.  I watch pga games on tv and I know they are good.  Just can't wrap my head around to fathom how good they are since I play with mostly weekend rough riders and tree huggers

post #12 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Spitfisher View Post
 

Scratch = damn good, less than 1% of all golfers and is not relative to how far they drive the ball but rather how many strokes it takes to hear that sound of ball rattling around in the cup.

 

Yep. :beer:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Maddog10 View Post
 

To me a scratch golfer is just what the book says it is, minus the distance references. If you can shoot the course rating at any course on any given day, you are a scratch golfer in my eyes. I don't mean have the round of your life and shoot the course rating once, but do so consistently so that your handicap reflects it by being near zero. There is a significant disparity between me and a scratch golfer, and an even bigger disparity between a scratch golfer and a +2. The margins widen as you go lower. A good friend of mine is a pro that hovers between +2 and +3, and he's on a completely different level than me when it comes to golf. Several levels, actually.

Only half of the time (no matter what you do the other half) will get you there. :-D

 

Damn, playing really well half the time ought to be easy to do. :no::no::no::surrender:

 

And I thought for years and years (before I started playing golf) that "Par for the course" was borderline unacceptable.

post #13 of 23

Scratch golfer is someone with a 0 hdcap or better. 

post #14 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by jsp9999 View Post
 

 

What visible differences between you and your buddy are there?  It seems you are very accomplish already, then what separates his skills vs. yours?  Ball striking, short games within 100 yd, chipping, putting, different shot making, etc or all of above and beyond?   Is your pro friend in pga tour or web.com tour?  If not, does your friend say his skills are not up to the par to those guys?  I'm always curious about this topic.  I watch pga games on tv and I know they are good.  Just can't wrap my head around to fathom how good they are since I play with mostly weekend rough riders and tree huggers

Having played with three different .5 to +1 handicappers from my high school team over the last three years, the most notable difference for me at least is consistency and the ability to make birdies.

 

I make a lot of pars, not too many birdies, and a bogey every couple holes or so. This leaves me with my current handicap index of 4.8 (which hopefully will trend downwards). The people I played with never really fatted a shot and left it 10 feet short of the green. They'd hit it fat and it would be 15 feet short of where it was supposed to land (which is only 10 feet short of the green with a front pin). If they hit it thin the main difference would be it would fly just a little further (with the short irons) and have a bit less spin when it landed. The tee shots though had the biggest consistency difference. On a bad day for me I may only hit two fairways all day (it's the weak point of my game) and on a bad day they may only hit six fairways. On a really good day I might hit 10/14 fairways while they're hitting all 14.

 

The main difference comes down to the fact that their misses were usually still in a spot where they could have a decent shot to make par, if not still salvage a birdie if they made a long putt or chipped it in. That and the fact that they more frequently would make those long putts and chip it in. Just an all around better game with better misses I'd say was the big difference.

post #15 of 23

I moved from a scratch golfer, like 0 HC, to a +2.7 in a manner of 2 months.  No joke!  The biggest difference?  Taking your sweet a** time and concentrating, or what's between your ears.  Consistency is very important obviously but it's also playing to your strengths.  I talked in another thread about this, but if you know you can hit a certain shot to the green better than any other, use it as much as you can.  I love my PW and 52°, so I will try my best to be 130-150 or 90-110 out from the green.  If that's not possible anywhere under 180 is fine for me to hit the green.  But with the PW and 52 I can attack pins more and try to give more chances for birdie.  But, it's also true that you are aware of your misses and try to play accordingly on holes where it matters. 

post #16 of 23

Scratch golfer = Something I will never be ...unless someone wants to pay off my mortgage, car loans, and cover my monthly bills.

post #17 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by CarlSpackler View Post
 

Scratch golfer = Something I will never be ...unless someone wants to pay off my mortgage, car loans, and cover my monthly bills.


And even then, it is highly unlikely.

post #18 of 23

don't understand why the distance component is in the definition.      I can get on in 2 on a par 4, 470 yd hole .... and I'm nowhere close to being considered a long hitter, and miles away from scratch.      Being scratch to means someone who just doesn't make mistakes, and when they do, recovers from them to salvage the hole.    They are ... PAR MACHINES

 

Furthermore ... to a scratch golfer, par is expected - every time, every hole.    For every bogie, they have to get a birdie to balance it out & be scratch - think about that for a reality check.


Edited by inthehole - 5/7/14 at 8:44am
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