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USGA vs other handicap systems?

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 

It seems like we have had a running debate about USGA versus other handicap systems.

 

I have been looking in more detail regarding handicaps and anti-handicaps and came across a page by Don Bender. http://thesandtrap.com/t/45853/the-dan-plan-10-000-hours-to-become/936#post_986626

 

So, it seems like the charts on a consistent 15 handicap on Figure 5 kind of answers the question for your average golfer.

 

The average score (running average over the entire data set or statistical mean) is around a 17.5 for this golfer. The difference between a golfer under competition conditions and play for fun in the US is not really that significant, as many of us play for skins or some other "bounty". My guess is that a tournament conditions are more controlled, because there is a fixed time per hole.

 

So, the handicap difference is only about 2.5 for a consistent USGA handicap golfer rate at a "15" who would be a 17.5 in other countries. Of course, the least consistent "15" handicapper would be about 21.5 within the averaging handicap systems.

 

What does everyone think about this assessment?

post #2 of 12
Your assessment seems pretty spot on to me. I track my handicap and currently am a 18.6 on the uk CONGU handicap but on a USGA handicap I'd be a 15 roughly.

It seems to me like the USGA handicap is more a measure of how well you "could" score if you well play but the CONGU system is more how well you "should" score. Hence the few shots difference.

One thing I would say though is the CONGU system is far too slow to go up if you get worse. The maximum change over 20 rounds is to go up by 2. But on a USGA you could change to anything over 20 rounds I believe.
post #3 of 12
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by FooFader View Post

Your assessment seems pretty spot on to me. I track my handicap and currently am a 18.6 on the uk CONGU handicap but on a USGA handicap I'd be a 15 roughly.

It seems to me like the USGA handicap is more a measure of how well you "could" score if you well play but the CONGU system is more how well you "should" score. Hence the few shots difference.

One thing I would say though is the CONGU system is far too slow to go up if you get worse. The maximum change over 20 rounds is to go up by 2. But on a USGA you could change to anything over 20 rounds I believe.


Given the scores you have been posting, I am somewhat relieved by your self assessment.

 

Yes, the US system is based upon potential. This is reflected in the graph as well.

 

I guess the main reason for this was that sand bagging was a serious issue at some point in time in the US. Many golfers play for "stakes" which means that any advantage to listing too high a handicap is reduced by the USGA system. This will eliminate the possibility of playing someone who could always play better than their handicap even if they are not purposely sand bagging. Some of my friends are starting to question my handicap, but I can truthfully say that it was assigned to me. I definitely would not play you as an 18 handicap either. ;-)

 

In the CONGU system, you are placed in a rank by how well you do, so it makes sense that it would veer towards the mean value you score rather than potential.

 

I think that's the case, anyway.

post #4 of 12

I don't think the hcp system is the problem. It's more to do with the fact that golf is played differently in various countries. I would guess that 90% of play by golfers with a hcp is played in what the USA calls a tournament, in Australia. 

post #5 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pave View Post

I don't think the hcp system is the problem. It's more to do with the fact that golf is played differently in various countries. I would guess that 90% of play by golfers with a hcp is played in what the USA calls a tournament, in Australia. 

This is definitely true for the UK. Most of your rounds of golf do not affect your handicap, only tournament rounds count.

This is why I find it funny reading about people from counties with USGA handicaps who say they can't play to their handicaps in tournaments. Just a completely different mindset
post #6 of 12
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by FooFader View Post


This is definitely true for the UK. Most of your rounds of golf do not affect your handicap, only tournament rounds count.

This is why I find it funny reading about people from counties with USGA handicaps who say they can't play to their handicaps in tournaments. Just a completely different mindset

 

This statement does not apply to the many of the high school/college golfers and the many who play for "stakes", but more for the casual weekend golfer.

post #7 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lihu View Post

This statement does not apply to the many of the high school/college golfers and the many who play for "stakes", but more for the casual weekend golfer.

I realise that was a bit of a sweeping statement. But it does highlight the benefit of playing in tournaments regularly if your goal is to become the golfer you can.

Returning to topic though, I think the only real advantage of CONGU over USGA is the fact that rounds have to be in tournament conditions. This will prevent any score fiddling which must happen to some degree in the USGA system (I know 90% of people will be honest though). The tournament conditions will also prevent sandbagging as everyone will try to score as well as possible in competition.

On the other hand, the tournament stipulation is part of the reason why the CONGU system is far to slow to react to reflect ability. Simply put, most people can't play tournaments every week.

So overall I prefer the USGA system.
post #8 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lihu View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by FooFader View Post


This is definitely true for the UK. Most of your rounds of golf do not affect your handicap, only tournament rounds count.

This is why I find it funny reading about people from counties with USGA handicaps who say they can't play to their handicaps in tournaments. Just a completely different mindset

 

This statement does not apply to the many of the high school/college golfers and the many who play for "stakes", but more for the casual weekend golfer.

 

Actually, no matter what the stakes or the importance of the round, under the USGA system, anyone with an honest handicap will only play to his handicap 20% to 25% of the time.  That percentage will increase during a period of improvement, but because you are playing to or better than your handicap, it will eventually level out again once you stabilize at the new level.  That percentage might drop to near zero during a slump, because a player can play to his average with only a rare net par round, yet still never change his handicap as long as the slump doesn't have any really bad scores to raise the average.

 

The USGA system is designed to be more difficult to raise ones handicap than to lower it.  It takes more time and more bad scores for a handicap to begin to climb than it does good scores for it to go down.  Because the system is based on the last 20 scores, and only counts the best 10 of those, you can' have 2 or 3 bad rounds and it might not impact your handicap at all, while a single exceptionally good round could lower your handicap by a full stroke.  Some of that depends on what the oldest score on the list is, because that one drops out of the equation.  If it was the highest score of your best ten, and the new score is the lowest of the best ten, it can have quite an impact.

post #9 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by FooFader View Post


I realise that was a bit of a sweeping statement. But it does highlight the benefit of playing in tournaments regularly if your goal is to become the golfer you can.

Returning to topic though, I think the only real advantage of CONGU over USGA is the fact that rounds have to be in tournament conditions. This will prevent any score fiddling which must happen to some degree in the USGA system (I know 90% of people will be honest though). The tournament conditions will also prevent sandbagging as everyone will try to score as well as possible in competition.

On the other hand, the tournament stipulation is part of the reason why the CONGU system is far to slow to react to reflect ability. Simply put, most people can't play tournaments every week.

So overall I prefer the USGA system.


I never get to participate in tournaments. I would like to, but being self employed and a single dad limits my time severely. I don't know how I would set a CONGU cap.

post #10 of 12
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Valleygolfer View Post
 


I never get to participate in tournaments. I would like to, but being self employed and a single dad limits my time severely. I don't know how I would set a CONGU cap.


I would think you need to compete in CONGU sponsored tournaments.

 

You can probably estimate your CONGU handicap by averaging all your scores with a moving average or just the simple mean.

post #11 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lihu View Post
 


I would think you need to compete in CONGU sponsored tournaments.

 

You can probably estimate your CONGU handicap by averaging all your scores with a moving average or just the simple mean.

Yes but according to @FooFader you cannot have a official cap in CONGU unless you are participating in tournaments.

post #12 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by Valleygolfer View Post
 

Yes but according to @FooFader you cannot have a official cap in CONGU unless you are participating in tournaments.

That's correct you have to submit at least 3 cards a year and they pretty much will always be competition cards (some clubs have rules allowing you to submit cards from a casual round if signed by a member if in the interest of having your handicap adjusted, much the same as when you first get a handicap and submit 3 cards, but i have never heard of anyone doing this).

 

I would say though that for most people this is not so much a problem as to have a CONGU handicap you MUST be a member of a golf club, and most members clubs will have a medal every saturday or sunday with tee time throughout the day and in the summer quite often something on a weekday evening. So most members would be able to play in one of these competitions at least once a month. 

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