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Sandy Lie

Amateur Tournaments, Rankings and False Handicaps

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For a while now I’ve noticed that many low and plus handicappers falsify their handicaps just to get in tournaments.  I’m sure many people on this forum have read about this or even know people who do this.  On occasion I see several players that shoot anywhere from 85 and upwards.  How is this possible?  I look up their handicaps (if I can find them) and am surprised the +2, +3 and plus 4’s are shooting these type of scores.  Maybe it was bad weather, maybe the course didn’t fit their game?  But what really catches my eye is that many of these players don’t post scores.  I’ve seen a few that haven’t posted a score in over a year.  It just doesn’t seem right that these players are allowed entry into these tournaments.  It also seem wrong that those who run these tournaments even allow them entry?  

I’m sure there’s some reason.  I was once told that many ranked amateurs don’t post a score due to their amateur ranking. Some don’t post as they are playing for a scholarship and need the ranking.  True or false I don’t know.

....what are your thoughts on this? Who cares? It doesn’t matter? 

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1 hour ago, Sandy Lie said:

For a while now I’ve noticed that many low and plus handicappers falsify their handicaps just to get in tournaments.  I’m sure many people on this forum have read about this or even know people who do this.  On occasion I see several players that shoot anywhere from 85 and upwards.  How is this possible?  I look up their handicaps (if I can find them) and am surprised the +2, +3 and plus 4’s are shooting these type of scores.  Maybe it was bad weather, maybe the course didn’t fit their game?  But what really catches my eye is that many of these players don’t post scores.  I’ve seen a few that haven’t posted a score in over a year.  It just doesn’t seem right that these players are allowed entry into these tournaments.  It also seem wrong that those who run these tournaments even allow them entry?  

I’m sure there’s some reason.  I was once told that many ranked amateurs don’t post a score due to their amateur ranking. Some don’t post as they are playing for a scholarship and need the ranking.  True or false I don’t know.

....what are your thoughts on this? Who cares? It doesn’t matter? 

Posers gonna pose.

Who cares?.....It doesn't matter?

Why?.....I don't think these players are cheating....some people just have bad days.....though when I see a + cap post two scores in the 90's in an event...I gotta laugh a bit...one bad day...ya things happen....back to back scores in the 90's???....assuming other scores aren't really high in their flight....then they had brutal conditions to play in.

There are far more vanity capper than sandbag caps....vanity cappers are harmless and only hurt themselves in events or gambling.

Tournaments need not care.....they want to collect the entry fees.

I do know some legit young competitive Ams here not post all their rds played (likely what they might call practice/casual rds)....they generally only enter competitive event results....likely to showcase their caps when they are applying for scholarships and/or entry into high level Am events.

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I may be wrong here....but I agree that back to back 80+ and especially 90+ scores from any ‘+’ hcp is unlikely. Seeing these people play is a tell all I think. A couple of weeks ago I played with a +1.5 hcp and yesterday I played with a +2 hcp who’s doing mini tours and trying to get his golf together for higher level competition. 
 

There’s no question these were bs handicaps. These guys were awesome. Huge drives 40-50yds past me...ball striking was obviously impressive. Something would have to go seriously wrong for these guys to go 80+, 80+...can’t even imagine 90. We played the tips which is just over 7k yards. 
 

If these guys are paying fees to play then honestly I can’t imagine what they’re doing. What’s the point? Tournament probably doesn’t care as they’re happy to take the entry money. Just don’t see what the point is to embarrass oneself.

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Ahhh the vanity handicap. I've never understood those guys. Play off a zero handicap and have a difficult time breaking 80. The reason no one cares is they basically donate to the prize pool. All the actual low handicappers aren't going to complain we know these guys aren't going to play well enough to beat us and their money makes the purse bigger.

There used to be a couple of guys at my course that would play in the Club Championship in the championship flight every year. The only thing I asked is not to be paired with them so I didn't have to spend the entire round searching for balls. They never broke 80, the winning scores were under par.

As a low handicap I can tell you I have 1 score in the 80s in the last 5 or so years. That was on a course I've never played after a big layoff. Things have to be going really wonky for a plus handicap to shoot 8-10 strokes over par. That or if they are playing a really difficult course, although hell I even shot 76 at Pinehurst no 2 the first time I played it.

Edited by NM Golf

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11 hours ago, Sandy Lie said:

For a while now I’ve noticed that many low and plus handicappers falsify their handicaps just to get in tournaments. ... what are your thoughts on this? Who cares? It doesn’t matter? 

There are some players with low handicaps who rarely post scores.  For them, the only reason to have a handicap is to qualify for tournament handicap cut-offs.  To attempt to qualify for the US Amateur one needs an index of 2.4 or less.  A true +1 doesn't really care whether his handicap is +1 or 2.1 since he virtually never plays anything but scratch.

Then there are players who selectively post in order to qualify.  I know in talking to one such vanity handicapper, his motivation was to play qualifiers at relatively exclusive venues.  He knew he did not belong.  All he wanted was access to the qualifying sites.  These players become painfully obvious once play begins.  The USGA and various State organizations do try to limit these player's ability to enter their events (e.g. the USGA's "letter").  If the event is low enough on the totem pole, like the Michigan Senior Match Play Championship, the Association is generally fine with these "field fillers" paying $100+ to be eliminated before the Match Play stage.

I feel sorry for the good players paired with these poseurs. 

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1 hour ago, bkuehn1952 said:

There are some players with low handicaps who rarely post scores.  For them, the only reason to have a handicap is to qualify for tournament handicap cut-offs.  To attempt to qualify for the US Amateur one needs an index of 2.4 or less.  A true +1 doesn't really care whether his handicap is +1 or 2.1 since he virtually never plays anything but scratch.

I've noticed something similar around here but at a lower level, say scratch-3.0. There were several guys in a tournament last year with that type of game but obviously play more often than they post scores. My guess is that betting is such a big part of the golf culture here that they like their stroke position in their weekly golf group and don't want to mess it up by posting more scores.

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9 hours ago, bkuehn1952 said:

There are some players with low handicaps who rarely post scores.  For them, the only reason to have a handicap is to qualify for tournament handicap cut-offs.  To attempt to qualify for the US Amateur one needs an index of 2.4 or less.  A true +1 doesn't really care whether his handicap is +1 or 2.1 since he virtually never plays anything but scratch.

Then there are players who selectively post in order to qualify.  I know in talking to one such vanity handicapper, his motivation was to play qualifiers at relatively exclusive venues.  He knew he did not belong.  All he wanted was access to the qualifying sites.  These players become painfully obvious once play begins.  The USGA and various State organizations do try to limit these player's ability to enter their events (e.g. the USGA's "letter").  If the event is low enough on the totem pole, like the Michigan Senior Match Play Championship, the Association is generally fine with these "field fillers" paying $100+ to be eliminated before the Match Play stage.

I feel sorry for the good players paired with these poseurs. 

At my club, we have a lot more of the first type than the second type.  These guys only play at scratch with their buddies, and they just don't care about the handicap system.  Yet there a few net events every year they want to play in.  It took a fair bit of convincing (coercion maybe is a better word) to get these guys to post (almost) all of their scores.  I offered to simply withdraw their handicap, so they wouldn't have to worry about posting scores.  Of course, that would also mean they wouldn't have a HI if they got invited to their brother-in-laws Member-Guest at Oakmont (or wherever), so they wouldn't be allowed to play.  

I have no doubt there are bunch of the vanity cappers @bkuehn1952 describes, and we probably have a small number of those as well.  

I also heard through the grapevine that a local high-school golf course had told his players to post only their competition scores.  Its a shame that someone in that position either doesn't understand the handicap system, or chooses to try to have his kids manipulate the system.

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10 hours ago, iacas said:

A scratch golfer can shoot 85 if they’re not used to competition.

Not often, but it can happen.

This. 

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On ‎7‎/‎4‎/‎2020 at 2:32 PM, iacas said:

A scratch golfer can shoot 85 if they’re not used to competition.

Not often, but it can happen.

didn't some guy named Woods do that at a PGA tournament a couple years ago?

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