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Who Wins This 30-year Bet (3 and 16 Handicap)?


iacas

3 vs. 16 Handicap 30-Year Wager  

31 members have voted

  1. 1. Who wins the bet?

    • The 3 Handicap
      3
    • The 16 Handicap
      28


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18 hours ago, iacas said:

A 3 isn't that good that he can't shoot 85 now and then.

I felt that. And I'm not a 3....

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Colin P.

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1 hour ago, bkuehn1952 said:

If two guys are going to have a 30-year wager, the assumption has to be that they play at least once a week for the next 30 years.

Wow, you think? Once a week? I didn't play 18 holes once a week with my daughter some years, depending on our schedules some summers.

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7 minutes ago, iacas said:

Wow, you think? Once a week? I didn't play 18 holes once a week with my daughter some years, depending on our schedules some summers.

In my imagined scenario, the guys live close together and have a regular weekend game. A lot of players have a regular foursome. Admittedly, every week is a pipe dream but that is my scenario. 30 rounds a year (they live in the Midwest).

Brian Kuehn

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Just once in 30 years?? Yeah, the 16 takes down the 3, let's say shooting an 82 to the 3's 84 one nice summer afternoon on a super easy course somewhere, since the '16' has dropped down to a 12 after working with a pro for 6 straight months aaaaaannnndd the '3' is working on a swing change and is temporarily playing like shit and doesn't care what he shoots or what his buddy shoots for that matter. 

39 minutes ago, bkuehn1952 said:

In my imagined scenario, the guys live close together and have a regular weekend game. A lot of players have a regular foursome. Admittedly, every week is a pipe dream but that is my scenario. 30 rounds a year (they live in the Midwest).

Right, there has to be reasonable minimum play stipulation for this to make a proper bet. I mean, if you have to factor in some dumb scenario like uhh.. they only played 5 times the first year and then the 3 ran away with 16's wife and moved to St. Louis, never to play together again, then there is not a lot of thought required here. Heh.   

Edited by GolfLug
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Vishal S.

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I voted the 16, overtime it is very possible to improve some and also get a little luck on the right day,

My question is will they be posting the results to this thread over the Next 3 decades so we know how it worked out?

Edited by StuM

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You can’t really just say, ‘ a 3hcp can shoot an 85 here and there’ because the 16hcp ( vanity mind you) must also have a good round at the same time. Of course how often they compete is big factor as well. 

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Since you're one of only two people to vote for the 3 handicap… explain a bit more?

Do you assume the 16 won't get much better?

Do you know what the average score of a 3 handicap is?

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Yeah but once over 30 years? ONCE?? I would take that bet all day.

I just think even from randomness perspective the odds of our friends shooting a same day bad round/great round combo over hundreds of rounds across three decades are higher than one getting a hole-in-one. And just about everyone knows some one who has gotten one.

FWIW I think the chances of this happening due to the 3 having a bad day are much higher than the 16 having a career day.

Edited by GolfLug

Vishal S.

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I checked my scores when I was a 3-handicap. My average score was right around 6 strokes over the course rating, and just a shade lower on my regular course. My worst round was a 91, and I was actually a 5 at the time.  I played weekly with 10-13 handicappers, and the 91 was the only round they came remotely close to beating my total score. They never beat me straight up that year, and during that year I strongly suggested they move up a set of tees where we remain to this day.

Since then, my game has fallen to 7.3. As mentioned, we play different tees now and they frequently beat me, but less than 30% of the time.  Their tees are 4 strokes easier - 68 course rating versus 72.3 for mine in the course we regularly play. 
 

I would bet on the vanity 16-handicapper over this time thinking he will improve, while the 3- handicapper will decline, or shoot at least one awful round when the 16-handicap minimizes his mistakes. That said, for a 16- handicap to have a net differential of -8 and shoot in the upper 70s is a pretty rare event on a course with a standard rating of 70, or so. 

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Not adding much new to this, but I think the 16 handicap wins. I am not a 3, but as about a 5 handicap, I have 1 or 2 rounds a year where I shoot in the 90s. I've seen enough 3 handicaps shoot in the high 80s or 90s that I know a bad day for low handicaps is a scenario that happens. The 16 doesn't even need a career day at that point - depending on the course's rating/slope, a 16 could have just a good day and beat the 3 straight up if he's in the high 80s or low 90s.

Some other things to throw out here that haven't been discussed:

  • We're assuming the 3 isn't picking up, right? Because it's very possible that the 3's bad day comes when he makes a 10 on a hole or something. If he's picking up at net double bogey, this becomes slightly harder for the 16. Not hard enough that I'd change my answer, but it would definitely take longer.
  • Length and the type of course plays a huge role in this. If the 3 is significantly longer than the 16 and they play courses with a bunch of 200 yard forced carries or something, then it makes it much more unlikely to happen. If they are playing courses with high slopes, too, this will make the score difference between the 3 and 16 higher. Again, I don't think it'd change my answer, but only playing a high slope course makes it more difficult for the 16.
  • The 3s anti-cap matters a lot more in this bet than his actual handicap. I think this is an obvious point. Handicap itself is not the best measure for this bet.

 

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11 hours ago, Vinsk said:

You can’t really just say, ‘ a 3hcp can shoot an 85 here and there’ because the 16hcp ( vanity mind you) must also have a good round at the same time. Of course how often they compete is big factor as well. 

Ditto.

10 hours ago, iacas said:

Since you're one of only two people to vote for the 3 handicap… explain a bit more?

Do you assume the 16 won't get much better?

Do you know what the average score of a 3 handicap is?

I'm the other person who voted for the 3 handicap.

I assumed that the 16 (vanity) handicap is actually at least a true 20hcp, if not even a bit higher. It's not that far-fetched that their actual handicap is 22-23+ depending on how liberal they are with the rules. 2 or 3 lateral drops instead of stroke and distance plus 2-3 gimmes on 3-4 footers is easily enough to make their actual handicap 20+. 

I (everyone who voted really) also had to make some sort of assumption for how many rounds they think those two people will play together per year. My assumption (which was simply based on the rough number of times I play with each of my ~15-20handicap friends each year) was towards the lower end, maybe 10-15x a year or something, I definitely did not assume once a week like @bkuehn1952 did.

I know my sample size is 1, but as a 3 handicap I averaged 77.9 last year over 25 rounds. 

Someone who is a legit 20 handicap probably averages what, a 95? If they're a 22-23 then more around 100?

I had one 85+ round last year which was an 86 on a course at 6,800+ yds with multiple forced carries of 200+yds from those tees.

For the legit 20 handicap to beat me they would have had to had a differential 9.5 strokes better than their handicap that same day that I had a differential 8-9 strokes worse than my handicap (My differential for the 86 round was an 11.3 and I was probably a mid 2hcp at the time). And that's assuming they were playing with me and in the same group that day.

If I'm reading this chart right, that means the 16-20 handicap's round with the differential of 9.5 strokes better than their handicap with odds of 1 in 3577 has to come on the same exact day as my differential of 8-9 strokes worse than my handicap? (Which only happened once in 25 rounds last year) I might be completely wrong on my math but wouldn't you just multiply the odds together, meaning that'd have odds of ~ 1 in 89,425 (1/3577 and 1/25) using my rounds? 

 

Let's say the "16" does improve quite a bit, and drops from a legit 20 to a legit 15. That would still mean they have to line up their 1 in 87 odds round with my worst round of the season, or 1 in 2,175.

Even with the handicap completely cut in half to a legit 10, that'd still be roughly 1 in 125 (Based on someone hitting their handicap 1/5 rounds and my 1/25) 

I know it's just a sample size of 1 being myself so I'm sure those numbers aren't 100% accurate especially since one of the numbers in the odds calculation is based exclusively on my playing stats from just one season.

 

While I don't think it's impossible for the "16" to win at some point in the next 30 years, I lean towards it being unlikely based on what facts we know and the assumptions I had to make. 

Now if you're going to assume that they will play once a week year round for the next 20 years until they both retire and then they'll play 3x a week for 10 years after that and the "16" is very serious about improving and is working with a high quality instructor and has access to a great practice facility and plans to play 9+ additional holes per week without the 3, then sure I'd probably change my answer.

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I'm putting money on the 16 handicapper. I don't care about USGA statistics or what the "Pope of Slope" might say. I have to add a big "IF".  If the high handicapper gets very serious about his game and physical health he could do it. The 3 might get worse due to injury, age, any number of things, so could the 16. He has 30 years to do it though. We have to assume that both of their handicaps are legit. No foot wedges, courtesy throws, winter rules, etc. A lot of factors to swing it either way, but I'm betting on the 16. Maybe the 16 can hook up with Rick Shiels and make a YouTube series. BTW, 5K in 30 years will be worth 1862.00 in purchasing power based on a 2.5% rate of inflation. 

@GolfLug You assume that the 16's wife is worth running away with and if she could get a transfer to a Hooters in St. Louis. 

 

 

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7 minutes ago, snapfade said:

We have to assume that both of their handicaps are legit. No foot wedges, courtesy throws, winter rules, etc.

No we don't, it says in the original post that the 16 is a vanity handicap.

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1 hour ago, klineka said:

I (everyone who voted really) also had to make some sort of assumption for how many rounds they think those two people will play together per year. My assumption (which was simply based on the rough number of times I play with each of my ~15-20handicap friends each year) was towards the lower end, maybe 10-15x a year or something, I definitely did not assume once a week like @bkuehn1952 did.

So 300 to 450 times over the 30 years. That's a lot of golf.

1 hour ago, klineka said:

I know my sample size is 1, but as a 3 handicap I averaged 77.9 last year over 25 rounds.

I don't have it super handy, but 3s average almost 80. Their average differential is about 7-8.

1 hour ago, klineka said:

For the legit 20 handicap to beat me they would have had to had a differential 9.5 strokes better than their handicap that same day that I had a differential 8-9 strokes worse than my handicap

Nah, not that much. That's 18 strokes. You only need about 14.

You're also basing this whole thing on the idea that… neither player change their ability levels. The 16 has five thousand reasons to get better at golf.

1 hour ago, klineka said:

Even with the handicap completely cut in half to a legit 10, that'd still be roughly 1 in 125 (Based on someone hitting their handicap 1/5 rounds and my 1/25) 

You also can't really use the "tournament rounds" scoring standard, though. Odds are much better in a casual round. Especially when the pressure is almost entirely on the 3. Let's say the 16 is within two with four holes to play. The 3 is going to be nervous. The 16, even if he fails, can say "I almost got you there…" and gain confidence.

Big difference between tournament rounds and casual rounds. Plenty of data to support that. The chart is just for tournament rounds, though, because that's when it matters.

1 hour ago, klineka said:

Now if you're going to assume that they will play once a week year round for the next 20 years until they both retire and then they'll play 3x a week for 10 years after that and the "16" is very serious about improving and is working with a high quality instructor and has access to a great practice facility and plans to play 9+ additional holes per week without the 3, then sure I'd probably change my answer.

I think the 3 is about as good as he's going to be. The 16 is on the upswing having played only two years.

We'll likely never know, and though TST has been around for 20 years, it almost certainly won't be here in another 30 for us to see.

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3 hours ago, DeadMan said:

 I've seen enough 3 handicaps shoot in the high 80s or 90s that I know a bad day for low handicaps is a scenario that happens. The 16 doesn't even need a career day.

Yeah, this is what I hung my hat on. My son's ex-soccer coach is a dog solid +3 and plays in our weekend league. He has shot at least one 78 last year while on a cold streak. And before someone calls him vanity capper, he shot 64 from the tips to win clean out house in one of our league event late last summer.

Vishal S.

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@klineka (cc: @iacas) just to be pedantic. Ignoring Erik's response and whether the number is right. Take 1/125 as the true chance the 16 capper randomly beats the 3 capper over a round. With no shift in their scoring (handicap) over the years, even if they only play 10 rounds together a year, over 30 years that's 300 rounds. (124/125)^300 = ~9%. As in, even with your disputed numbers and not that many rounds per year, there's a 91% chance the 16 capper wins at some point. If they play 20 rounds a year together there's only a 0.8% chance the 16 capper never wins. Say the 16 capper improves a bit at the chance he randomly wins goes to 1/75. Then we're down into the 0.03% to 1.7% chance range he never wins.

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1 hour ago, iacas said:

I think the 3 is about as good as he's going to be. The 16 is on the upswing having played only two years.

I feel the same way about it. The 3 is likely close to if not at his ceiling after playing for 26 years. The 16 has yet to establish it. That’s not even considering it’s easier for a 16 to improve than a 3.

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35 minutes ago, mdl said:

@klineka (cc: @iacas) just to be pedantic. Ignoring Erik's response and whether the number is right. Take 1/125 as the true chance the 16 capper randomly beats the 3 capper over a round. With no shift in their scoring (handicap) over the years, even if they only play 10 rounds together a year, over 30 years that's 300 rounds. (124/125)^300 = ~9%. As in, even with your disputed numbers and not that many rounds per year, there's a 91% chance the 16 capper wins at some point. If they play 20 rounds a year together there's only a 0.8% chance the 16 capper never wins. Say the 16 capper improves a bit at the chance he randomly wins goes to 1/75. Then we're down into the 0.03% to 1.7% chance range he never wins.

Where is your 1/125 odds of the "true chance" for the 16 (who is actually probably closer to 20+) coming from?

The 1/125 number I came up with (which isn't necessarily accurate I know) came from if the "16" became a 10, not if they stayed at "16" aka probably a 20.

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