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SandBagging….Is There Such a Thing?

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  1. 1. Do You Think Your Fellow Golfers Handicaps Are Too Low or Too High?

    • Too High
      7
    • Too Low
      12
    • About Right
      5


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SandBagging….Is There Such a Thing? I’m not so sure .

In my experience, golfers prefer the bragging rights associated with a lower-than-actual handicap to the monetary and hardware rewards of a higher-than-actual handicap. In the (male) golf groups I’ve been involved in, the social pecking order has usually been set by handicap index….the lower the index, the higher the caste of the player.

How many bad rounds are not recorded because under the 10 out of 20 rule “they’re not going to count” anyway? This common practice quickly leads to a lower index.

In male golf groups, most of the handicaps are lower than they should be . All you really need to do to have an advantage is record all your scores, and your (actual) handicap will give you a slight advantage over others’ too-low handicaps.

Does this happen in women’s groups? I wonder.

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I think it depends on the type of person. Some people lower their handicap for bragging rights at their local club whereas others sandbag to give them a better chance on money games, tournaments etc.

My wife's cousin's husband is a classic where I know he plays off 12 but when money is involved he tells people his "official" handicap is 15. Likewise her uncle plays off 18 and when money's involved his "official" handicap is 23. When I played to 28 I had no chance.

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My suspicion is that while it happens, it happens a lot less than people accuse each other of it.

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Originally Posted by MiniBlueDragon

I think it depends on the type of person. Some people lower their handicap for bragging rights at their local club whereas others sandbag to give them a better chance on money games, tournaments etc.

My wife's cousin's husband is a classic where I know he plays off 12 but when money is involved he tells people his "official" handicap is 15. Likewise her uncle plays off 18 and when money's involved his "official" handicap is 23. When I played to 28 I had no chance.


That sounds about right. They tend to cancel each other out.

I've played two matches so far this year. The guy I played straight up beat me by 1. I beat the guy who gave me 3 strokes by two holes. On Wednesday there was another match with two 24 cappers. They were shooting the lights out, but they were playing each other and  feeding off the excitement of making shots. Their match came down to the final hole and it was halved. Based on that small sampling, those results seem pretty normal to me.

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I played a tourney last year and entered on my handicap which was 11 at the time, all the guys around me shot in the 70s.

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I belong to a club that has plenty of "inflated" handicaps.  I played in this qualifying event last year.  Top ten went on to play in a team event against another club. There were 26 who attempted.  12 of the 26 shot better than their handicap.  Keeping in mind that the average golfer doesn't shoot to his handicap but maybe less than 20% of the time.  What are the chances that almost half bested their handicap?  We should have had maybe 4 or 5.  12?  c'mon, that's sandbagging at it's best.  I shot 80 on a 7 handicap and I was so far out of it.  Not even close.  Sandbagging?  Alive and well.

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Originally Posted by Doctorfro

I belong to a club that has plenty of "inflated" handicaps.  I played in this qualifying event last year.  Top ten went on to play in a team event against another club. There were 26 who attempted.  12 of the 26 shot better than their handicap.  Keeping in mind that the average golfer doesn't shoot to his handicap but maybe less than 20% of the time.  What are the chances that almost half bested their handicap?  We should have had maybe 4 or 5.  12?  c'mon, that's sandbagging at it's best.  I shot 80 on a 7 handicap and I was so far out of it.  Not even close.  Sandbagging?  Alive and well.



That reminds me of a similar event at a course I played in the 80s. I was improving and turning in negative net scores for about a month. I was going to represent our club for sure, but I shot one more decent scores than I should have. My index dropped down to 10.0 and that put me in a lower group. There were guys in the 5-10 group who had qualifying rounds in the mid-60s (gross not net). Sure they did that. It was okay though, because I was busy that day anyway (mmm . . . sour grapes).

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Seems the better someone actually is, the more likely they are to sandbag if they don't have aspirations beyond playing (winning) club events, etc.

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Originally Posted by newtogolf

Seems the better someone actually is, the more likely they are to sandbag if they don't have aspirations beyond playing (winning) club events, etc.


That sounds like it could be true.  I'd sell my soul just to play bogey golf and be able to post a legitimate 18 handicap.  It seriously never occurred to me that people might actually want to claim they were worse than they actually are, nor did I ever hear the term "sandbagging" (used in this context) until I joined this forum.

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I've never seen sandbagging in golf personally, most of my golf buddies are more likely to have vanity handicaps.  When I bowled in big money leagues I'd see it all the time.   Guys that could throw 250+ whenever they wanted would bowl just good enough to win against their man or ensure their team won total pins, etc  There's no real motivation for guys at that level to score their best if they don't have bigger aspirations like turning pro, etc.  In fact in money leagues it works against them because the better they score the more they give up in handicap head to head.

Originally Posted by ochmude

That sounds like it could be true.  I'd sell my soul just to play bogey golf and be able to post a legitimate 18 handicap.  It seriously never occurred to me that people might actually want to claim they were worse than they actually are, nor did I ever hear the term "sandbagging" (used in this context) until I joined this forum.



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Originally Posted by newtogolf

I've never seen sandbagging in golf personally, most of my golf buddies are more likely to have vanity handicaps.  When I bowled in big money leagues I'd see it all the time.   Guys that could throw 250+ whenever they wanted would bowl just good enough to win against their man or ensure their team won total pins, etc  There's no real motivation for guys at that level to score their best if they don't have bigger aspirations like turning pro, etc.  In fact in money leagues it works against them because the better they score the more they give up in handicap head to head.


I mentioned earlier a match between two 24 cappers. Based on the shots I've seen them play, they should be ~15 at most, but this is a low rated course (low course rating and low slope) that doesn't yield a lot of low differentials. An 80 is a differential of 11 there, whereas the the course I was playing last year, an 80 would be a differential of ~ 6 - 8 depending on which tees you were playing. This year if I can play off a 7 it'll be a miracle. The guys running the league know this, so they put me in as a 10 until I get more league scores in. I think even a 10 might be pushing it relative to the field since there are a lot of really good players there in the 9-12 range. It'll be nice to play somewhere else with a 12 though .

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In my brief experience with golf, I have come across several golfers who have "shifting" handicaps.  The ones that have said their handicaps are close to my, normally will beat the pants off me.  So now I try to find average golfers to play with . . .  because it is not-as-much-fun as it used to be.  Are there any pentalies with SandBagging you handicap?

I was always taught that golf was a game of  honor.  Where is the honor in SandBagging?

As always - let's go play golf!   Thanks.

TangoDiesel

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OK here's one for you...

The last time I played a sandbagging relative (Mr HC 12 in the post above) I was playing off max CONGU at 28 and still got spanked. Over the last 6 or so months since I played him last my golf game has come on leaps and bounds on various par 3 9 hole courses to the point where Golfshot says it should be around 15. Now I realise that score is artificially low as they're par 3 9 hole scorecards and not full length 18's, however I have no idea what it would be now on a full length 18.

I plan on playing tomorrow with the same 28 handicap I played with last time as it will be a full length 18 hole course and I have no current frame of reference for how I'll play on it.

Sandbagging? Or making the most of the situation?

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I guess when you get to playing at the level you are it can get pretty frustrating if you're competing with guys that claim 24 handicaps but are really 15's.  Sounds like the guys running your league have enough experience with it that they are adjusting for guys like that to keep it fair for everyone.

Originally Posted by sean_miller

I mentioned earlier a match between two 24 cappers. Based on the shots I've seen them play, they should be ~15 at most, but this is a low rated course (low course rating and low slope) that doesn't yield a lot of low differentials. An 80 is a differential of 11 there, whereas the the course I was playing last year, an 80 would be a differential of ~ 6 - 8 depending on which tees you were playing. This year if I can play off a 7 it'll be a miracle. The guys running the league know this, so they put me in as a 10 until I get more league scores in. I think even a 10 might be pushing it relative to the field since there are a lot of really good players there in the 9-12 range. It'll be nice to play somewhere else with a 12 though .



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When I was in high school, I was in a summer junior league and a lot of kids would say their handicaps are lower than they can shoot.  Albeit, we are not playing for money, but it's better to be honest about your handicap when registering, because the tournament directors place people based on handicaps, so a person who's legitimately a 5 doesn't want to play with someone who claims to be a 5 also but is more like an 18.  In my experience, I always play better when I play with good players, because it allows me to concentrate to play better.  While, when I play with people who are not as good, I struggle to stay focused on my own game, because I get worried about pace penalties or extraneous things.  So, long story short, playing with players of your handicap allow you to see how others play who are similar to you, and you can have a good, competitive match.

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This is what I see in my immediate groups, so do not get offended .

The younger guys are all vanity caps - they cant count in front of me, so I have a hard time believing those scores that are 10-12 strokes lower when they play by themselves. I have seen 120s posted as 102s .They also like to take gimmees or count their short missed putts as good which makes them struggle in tournaments on even 2 foot putts.

The older guys are more likely to be sandbaggers since for a lot of them it is all about the cash. (I have seen groups where they all sandbag since they know everyone else is doing it - makes the whole weekly game kind of pointless)

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Originally Posted by meenman

This is what I see in my immediate groups, so do not get offended .

The younger guys are all vanity caps - they cant count in front of me, so I have a hard time believing those scores that are 10-12 strokes lower when they play by themselves. I have seen 120s posted as 102s .They also like to take gimmees or count their short missed putts as good which makes them struggle in tournaments on even 2 foot putts.

The older guys are more likely to be sandbaggers since for a lot of them it is all about the cash. (I have seen groups where they all sandbag since they know everyone else is doing it - makes the whole weekly game kind of pointless)


A think your assessment is pretty accurate.

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For me it's about integrity.  I try to be an example for my son in that regard.  I have some low scores (6.2 current index) but my average is almost 82.  If I shoot a 75, I post it.  The problem I have is I don't play enough to post scores to move that 75 out of the last 20 rounds very fast.  And, if I'm not playing alot, my game is not as sharp. So I'm accused of having a vanity handicap if I don't play well.  What do you do? The system is what it is.  The only true handicap is a guy who plays a lot and posts all his scores with no "padded" strokes.  Are there people like that?  Yup.  Unfortunately, it's the baggers who get the attention.  And it makes playing club events frustrating but someone like me rarely has a chance to win unless I absolutely shoot a career round every time out.  Then I'm in a catch 22 situation because my handicap gets even lower.  And chances of shooting career rounds in tournaments is very small.

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