or Connect
TheSandTrap.com › Golf Forum › The Clubhouse › Golf Talk › Home Course Rating's Effect On Handicap
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Home Course Rating's Effect On Handicap

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 

I know the handicap system is meant to provide a baseline number that measures a player's ability, and is also meant to be equal for all people regardless of the course they play on. I was just curious though if you guys feel there is a correlation between handicaps that are established by people who belong to a home course that is very easy from a course rating standpoint compared to those that establish their handicaps on difficult courses? For example, is a handicap based primarily on a 68/115 course any different than that from a 72.5/135 course? In theory it's not, but I'd like to hear your thoughts.

 

The reason I bring this up is because the course I belong to is rated at 67.4/112. It's not ideal and I wish I belonged to a more difficult course, but this one is practical, economical, and allows me to play nearly every day after work as it is just a mile from my house. It is also pretty well maintained and is usually in nice shape. This is really my first year playing a lot of competitive golf since being out of high school (23 years old now), and I was concerned that my handicap wasn't going to translate well to other courses when playing in tournaments and such. I was afraid that it may be "padded" in a sense because it was established on such an easy course... However, thus far I have found that to be false. I am actually quite impressed at the accuracy of the handicap system so far. I'm at a 1.7 right now with 6 of my 10 scores coming from my home course, but the differentials when I play more difficult courses have held very true to my handicap thus far. For example, the other day I played a course rated 72.8/136 and I shot a 75, leaving me with a 1.8 differential. That compares to what would basically be a 69 (-3) at my home course, which is a differential of 1.6.

 

I had always been under the impression that handicaps established on easy courses were going to generally be a little lower than they should be. However, I'm starting to wonder if that's truly the case. Considering a 69 at my course is equal to a 75 at another course, I think the system really does do a good job of evening the playing field.

 

Anyways, I rambled more than I planned on but I would like to hear your thoughts. I try to play other courses frequently so that I have a variety of scores and courses in my handicap, mainly because I didn't want my tournament scores to not match up with what I claim as a handicap. So far though I have been pleasantly surprised. I would love to hear the CR/slope of the course you play the most, and how your handicap translates to courses that are easier/harder? Do you find it to hold pretty true?

post #2 of 22

In my experience, the handicap system translates pretty well from course to course.  I play an easier course as well(69.8) and I find that for me, an 8, I have an easier time shooting my handicap or better at a more difficult course if anything.  I think, someone can correct me if this sounds way wrong or stupid, the reason is because as an 8 handicap it is harder for me to go lower.  Example:  78 at my home course is an 8.1 diff that is equal to an 82 at another course I have played from time to time.  If I had a choice to shoot 77 or better at my home course or 81 or better at the other course for a million dollars, I would take my chances at the 81. 

 

That is just my personal experience.  I think it probably depends a lot on your game and how a course suits you.  I am not that long, but I stay away from trouble.  I don't hit many greens, but get up and down at a decent rate.  That is pretty much how I score, by getting up and down. 

post #3 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by buckshot4227 View Post
 

In my experience, the handicap system translates pretty well from course to course.  I play an easier course as well(69.8) and I find that for me, an 8, I have an easier time shooting my handicap or better at a more difficult course if anything.  I think, someone can correct me if this sounds way wrong or stupid, the reason is because as an 8 handicap it is harder for me to go lower.  Example:  78 at my home course is an 8.1 diff that is equal to an 82 at another course I have played from time to time.  If I had a choice to shoot 77 or better at my home course or 81 or better at the other course for a million dollars, I would take my chances at the 81.

 

That is just my personal experience.  I think it probably depends a lot on your game and how a course suits you.  I am not that long, but I stay away from trouble.  I don't hit many greens, but get up and down at a decent rate.  That is pretty much how I score, by getting up and down.

 

I actually agree with that completely. My two lowest differentials are on more difficult courses. I shot a 70 (-2) on a course rated 71.6/132 for a differential of -1.3. For me to achieve that same differential at my home course I would have to shoot a 66 (-6), which is difficult for me to do. That's just a lot of birdies to make without any room for bogeys. Really the only difference I see is that my stroke average is lower than most with similar handicaps because of the low course rating. I usually hover around even par at home and with some under par rounds thrown in just to maintain a handicap of nearly 2.

post #4 of 22

I think that this tends to be more true for the better player.  For a bogey golfer, setting his handicap on a fairly forgiving course will often result in an inability to play near his handicap when he plays a more difficult venue.  I know that this has been true for me.  My home course is not that much different from yours, with a 120 slope and 69.4 rating from the middle tees.  Most missed shots still offer some chance for recovery, or at least allow a pitch back into play to save a lot of bogies, avoiding the big numbers that a less forgiving course might leave you with.  When my handicap was in the 10-12 range, it didn't travel all that well.  I built it based on the premise that I would get a lot of chances to recover from an errant drive.  The normal rough was not terribly penal, and every drive wasn't threatened with fairway bunkers or water hazards on both sides of the landing area.  Two consecutive par 4 holes on the back 9 don't have any water or sand in play at all, although both offer other challenges that must be considered.

 

The upshot is that my personal best on my home course is a one over par 73.  I typically would have at least a half dozen scores each year in the 70's, yet I've only broken 80 once in my life away from there.  So it can make a real difference, depending on one's ball striking skills and on the forgiveness, or lack thereof, that the course offers.

post #5 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Maddog10 View Post
 

For example, is a handicap based primarily on a 68/115 course any different than that from a 72.5/135 course?

On average, no, I don't think they are any different.  Where I think the differences lie between handicaps that travel well and those that don't are in individual preferences, and how the course you play suits your game.  I like to spray the ball off the tee, so when I play courses that have holes bordering other holes where I can recover from, then I can do a lot better courses through canyons and wilderness where wild tee shots lead to penalties.  Here's a couple examples of each:

 

Two "easy" courses":

 

72.2/125 ... average over the last year or so (3 scores) is 81.

70.8/128 ... average over the same period (3 scores) is 79.7.

 

Two "hard" courses:

 

71.7/129 ... average over last 5 rounds is 84.

70.0/132 ... average over last 4 rounds is 85.8.

 

Because I don't play any one particular course more than any other (I had to go back about 60 rounds to get at least 3 from each of these) I believe that I have a handicap that will travel just fine.  However, if I were to spend all of my time playing just the first two courses with the exact same game I have now, my handicap would be much lower than if I just played the other two.  In fact, I just went back and did the math. ...

 

My handicap over the last couple of years, were I to only play the two courses suited to my game, would be 6.1.  If I were to only play those other two, it would be 9.9.

post #6 of 22

All of the above posts make sense.  The handicap system does a good job for the most part (when used properly), but I think a lot depends on the individual player.

 

Regarding 4putts observation that bogey golfers playing more forgiving course tend to have handicaps that don't travel well, low course rating/slope does not always equal more forgiving.

 

Last summer I played a lot at a par 69 course that was under 6 K from the tips (at altituded) with a 66.8/120.  Despite appearing "easy" there are a number of holes that from the tips have some forced carries, potential for OB/LB and/or be somewhat visually intimidating.  I was not surprised when a 16 capper friend failed to break 100 on his first time playing there.    

 

Unless a player is comfortable traveling to and thinking his way around different courses, my observation is that many score higher away from home. This is especially true for inconsistent higher cappers and those who do most of their play on forgiving/mindless courses, but can be true for anyone who hasn't spent much time playing away from home.  I also find that many players handicaps don't hold up as well when there is something significant on the line (at home or away). 

 

Edit- thanks Golfingdad for making some of my points more clearly while I was posting.

post #7 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MEfree View Post
 

All of the above posts make sense.  The handicap system does a good job for the most part (when used properly), but I think a lot depends on the individual player.

 

Regarding 4putts observation that bogey golfers playing more forgiving course tend to have handicaps that don't travel well, low course rating/slope does not always equal more forgiving.

 

Last summer I played a lot at a par 69 course that was under 6 K from the tips (at altituded) with a 66.8/120.  Despite appearing "easy" there are a number of holes that from the tips have some forced carries, potential for OB/LB and/or be somewhat visually intimidating.  I was not surprised when a 16 capper friend failed to break 100 on his first time playing there.  

 

Unless a player is comfortable traveling to and thinking his way around different courses, my observation is that many score higher away from home. This is especially true for inconsistent higher cappers and those who do most of their play on forgiving/mindless courses, but can be true for anyone who hasn't spent much time playing away from home.  I also find that many players handicaps don't hold up as well when there is something significant on the line (at home or away).

 

Edit- thanks Golfingdad for making some of my points more clearly while I was posting.

 

I think this is true for my course as well. I would argue that it's rated too low for a person that doesn't play it often because it can actually be quite difficult some days. It is pretty short, but can be quite penalizing if you don't hit the ball straight or miss in the right areas. There are a lot of elevation changes so some fairways have a lot of slope resulting in awkward stances, there are a few holes where OB is very much in play, there's an island green that I've seen numbers north of 10 on several occasions, and also some constricted par 5's that dogleg through the woods and don't leave much room for error. I know the system is based on how a scratch golfer would play the course, and assuming he keeps the ball in the fairway he would light it up, making the rating pretty accurate. I've had friends with similar handicaps as me though come play thinking they would go low on a course rated 67.4 and end up struggling to break 80. The course is only difficult if you make it difficult, but it can play pretty tough some days.

 

I agree with you though MEfree. The difficulty of a course can't always be judged based on it's rating IMO. I play a course that's rated 72 something and I find it very easy. It just has a lot of water and that's it. If you don't hit in the water, it's really an easy course. I don't know how it's rating is so high.

post #8 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by buckshot4227 View Post
 

In my experience, the handicap system translates pretty well from course to course.  I play an easier course as well(69.8) and I find that for me, an 8, I have an easier time shooting my handicap or better at a more difficult course if anything.  I think, someone can correct me if this sounds way wrong or stupid, the reason is because as an 8 handicap it is harder for me to go lower.  Example:  78 at my home course is an 8.1 diff that is equal to an 82 at another course I have played from time to time.  If I had a choice to shoot 77 or better at my home course or 81 or better at the other course for a million dollars, I would take my chances at the 81. 

 

That is just my personal experience.  I think it probably depends a lot on your game and how a course suits you.  I am not that long, but I stay away from trouble.  I don't hit many greens, but get up and down at a decent rate.  That is pretty much how I score, by getting up and down. 


Same, I tend to yield better differentials at higher rated courses because I don't see a significant spike in scores. I bailed on my former home course for this very reason. I play a lot of 9 hole golf and was often out on the back 9 early in the morning, it had a rating of 33 on that side. I could shoot 2-4 over and have a differential of 5-6ish. As a result I had a lot of funky combined scores with differentials in the 11 range when the scores were less. It actually made my handicap higher than I was capable of scoring at higher rated courses. In fact I questioned the pro there about the rating on more than one occasion. I was convinced they let the rough grow to insane lengths to avoid watering and it was a score killer if you didn't stay out of it. When I stopped playing there as much my handicap dropped pretty quick. Problem we have here is ratings are low due to the effective playing length factor for altitude. To play tees rated near par means playing in the 7000 yard range. Shorter courses are often rated 2-3 under par from the tips.

post #9 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Golfingdad View Post
 

On average, no, I don't think they are any different.  Where I think the differences lie between handicaps that travel well and those that don't are in individual preferences, and how the course you play suits your game.  I like to spray the ball off the tee, so when I play courses that have holes bordering other holes where I can recover from, then I can do a lot better courses through canyons and wilderness where wild tee shots lead to penalties.  Here's a couple examples of each:

 

Two "easy" courses":

 

72.2/125 ... average over the last year or so (3 scores) is 81.

70.8/128 ... average over the same period (3 scores) is 79.7.

 

Two "hard" courses:

 

71.7/129 ... average over last 5 rounds is 84.

70.0/132 ... average over last 4 rounds is 85.8.

 

Because I don't play any one particular course more than any other (I had to go back about 60 rounds to get at least 3 from each of these) I believe that I have a handicap that will travel just fine.  However, if I were to spend all of my time playing just the first two courses with the exact same game I have now, my handicap would be much lower than if I just played the other two.  In fact, I just went back and did the math. ...

 

My handicap over the last couple of years, were I to only play the two courses suited to my game, would be 6.1.  If I were to only play those other two, it would be 9.9.

 

Bingo. The perfect example of this for me is Mile Square/Players Course in Fountain Valley. It's rated a 72.2 based on the length, but almost every hole affords you ample opportunity to spray it off the tee and still recover a par or even birdie. For someone like me, with plenty of distance, but more than a handful of wayward drives each round, I tend to put up better scores than I "deserve." But a course like Shorecliffs with a number of tight fairways but a lower course rating will almost always result in a terrible differential for me.

 

I guess my response to your question is that the difficulty of the course doesn't affect how well your handicap travels, but rather how well the course sets up to your specific strengths and weaknesses.

post #10 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Golfingdad View Post
 

Two "easy" courses":

 

72.2/125 ... average over the last year or so (3 scores) is 81.

70.8/128 ... average over the same period (3 scores) is 79.7.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Big C View Post
 

 

Bingo. The perfect example of this for me is Mile Square/Players Course in Fountain Valley. It's rated a 72.2 based on the length, ...

LOL.  Hmmm, I wonder what the slope rating of that course is???  125, perhaps??:-P

 

The other "easy" course there, FYI, is Rancho San Joaquin.  Same kind of course ... I can hit my tee shots pretty much anywhere I darn feel like it and I'm not getting into too much trouble.

 

Those two hard courses are Talega and Monarch Beach.  I'm good for a penalty shot or two on those courses just about every time out, and almost exclusively off the tee.

 

P.S.  As far as I'm concerned, Shorecliffs doesn't exist. ;)

post #11 of 22

Very good observations........  I agree with them all!  LOL

post #12 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Golfingdad View Post
 

 

 

LOL.  Hmmm, I wonder what the slope rating of that course is???  125, perhaps??:-P

 

The other "easy" course there, FYI, is Rancho San Joaquin.  Same kind of course ... I can hit my tee shots pretty much anywhere I darn feel like it and I'm not getting into too much trouble.

 

Those two hard courses are Talega and Monarch Beach.  I'm good for a penalty shot or two on those courses just about every time out, and almost exclusively off the tee.

 

P.S.  As far as I'm concerned, Shorecliffs doesn't exist. ;)

 

Lol, yeah that went right over my head. I agree with you on Shorecliffs. It's now on my "do not play list" along with Westridge. RSJ is pretty crappy, but it's convenient and a good place to take beginners, so I play there with my non-golfer buddies from time to time.

post #13 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Big C View Post
 

 

Lol, yeah that went right over my head.

I wasn't teasing you expecting that you should have known, I was more just laughing and pointing out that we were thinking exactly alike. :beer:

 

Last time I played there was last Sunday with/against Pakoh.  I parred the 1st hole, 6th hole, and 18th hole all from other fairways.  Most of the other courses we play around here, I would have been hitting 3 from the tee on those holes.

 

Yes, RSJ sucks, but its convenient (they take tee times for singles online) cheap, and I score well so I'll still play it on occasion. :)

 

Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
I'm thinking that we should all try and get together for a round somewhere outside of just the outings.  You, me, and I'm thinking @mdl and @pakoh, perhaps at someplace central-ish, which is probably in your neck of the woods.  El Dorado maybe??
post #14 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fourputt View Post
 

I think that this tends to be more true for the better player.  For a bogey golfer, setting his handicap on a fairly forgiving course will often result in an inability to play near his handicap when he plays a more difficult venue.

 

I agree somewhat.  I think it's most true for a low handicap.  For a mid handicap like me, I think the differentials are probably a tad higher, on average, at hard courses, but not that much, and the big difference is that they're more variable.  On a great day at a tough course, I might still shoot around what my good scores are on easy courses, but the differential will be a lot lower.  On a terrible day at a tough course, the score will be much worse, more than the difference in rating/slope, compared to what I might have scored hitting that way on one of the easy open courses I play a good amount.

post #15 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Golfingdad View Post
 

I wasn't teasing you expecting that you should have known, I was more just laughing and pointing out that we were thinking exactly alike. :beer:

 

Last time I played there was last Sunday with/against Pakoh.  I parred the 1st hole, 6th hole, and 18th hole all from other fairways.  Most of the other courses we play around here, I would have been hitting 3 from the tee on those holes.

 

Yes, RSJ sucks, but its convenient (they take tee times for singles online) cheap, and I score well so I'll still play it on occasion. :)

 

 

Damn, 6th is a par 3, correct? That is one hell of an up and down! And I'm guessing you parred 18 from the 10th fairway? Because trying that tree line on the left is pretty damn punitive. Ok, we are off topic enough, I will call it quits now!:offtopic:

post #16 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Big C View Post
 

 

Damn, 6th is a par 3, correct? That is one hell of an up and down! And I'm guessing you parred 18 from the 10th fairway? Because trying that tree line on the left is pretty damn punitive. Ok, we are off topic enough, I will call it quits now!:offtopic:

Whoops, sorry ... the 7th.  Hooked my drive over by the ladies tees of the 5th.

 

And no, believe it or not, I hooked it so far left on 18 that I was in the middle, even a little towards the left side of the 18th fairway of the Classic Course.  Had a nice opening over the trees from there to the front of the green. :)

 

OK, back on topic.

post #17 of 22

I'm pretty much agreeing with everything here, my home course plays 131 slope from the forward tees at just over 6000 and 135 from middle combo 139 and tips 142. When I do go somewhere else my scores usually stay in line with my index, recently played the other day at a 124 slope and shot a 79 which probably should have been more like 75 but the greens were a lot slower than what I'm used to so I left a lot right in the jaws. Before I started playing more the course I used to play most was 118 at 69.4 man I could get away with some wild drives there unlike where I play now and the sand traps where saucers instead of 6' lips, I also rememberd those Bermuda greens had hardly any break either so 6' putts had to only be hit straight with no break to read. The owners of that place let it go to complete shit in the past 5 years or so to the point of it being damn near unplayable, it's really a shame because that place used to allow golf carts nearly all the way to the greens and was the best draining golf course in the entire SF bay area. From what I have observed though most 18+ indexes that play my home course have a very hard time breaking 100 unless it's the forward tees.

post #18 of 22

A home course can positively affect a handicap if it suits the player's tendencies, and negatively affect it if it doesn't.

 

For example, a long but wild player will have a higher handicap than he "should" if his course is very tight and tree-lined, and a lower handicap than he should if it's wide open.

 

The handicapping system isn't perfect, but it's quite good and the best thing some smart people can come up with.

 

P.S. Typically playing your home course a lot can lower your handicap, but not by a lot. A stroke, maybe two.

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Golf Talk
TheSandTrap.com › Golf Forum › The Clubhouse › Golf Talk › Home Course Rating's Effect On Handicap