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# How do most people keep score in social games- not using handicaps

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I am a new golfer.  My handicap is 40.4 and is used when I play club tournaments or with the ladies group on Thursday mornings.  My girlfriend and I play with our friends and spouses every weekend.  We each have a handicap of 40.4 and the guys generally range from 15-30.

When we play with our spouses, we generally all shoot from the forward tees to maintain pace of play.  The best golfer takes a maximum of 7 strokes, the second best take 8- 9 strokes maximum.  They told us women that at our level we were supposed to take 9 strokes.  I have since found that I am supposed to take 10 strokes for my handicap level, but since I didn't know this when I started, I take 9 when I play with these golfers.

When the game is over, we tally our scores.  Obviously the guy that only takes 7 strokes will win most of the time.  We never calculate a net score based upon our handicaps.  I know my husband would beat the better golfer sometimes, if he took a maximum of 7 strokes on his lousy holes instead of 9.

In social play such as this, wouldn't it be more fair to agree ahead of time to all take the same number of maximum strokes to keep it fair?  I understand that using a handicap is an equalizer, of sorts.  But we never do any net calculations.  It would seem that if we all took 7 or 9 maximum strokes, our games could be more fairly measured.

Thank you all for your help

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Maximum strokes? Where are you getting these numbers from? If you are getting them from the Equitable Stroke Control from the USGA handicapping system you are doing it all wrong. You take as many strokes as it takes to get the ball in the hole (certain time restraints aside). Then when you go to enter your score into the GHIN handicapping system you adjust those scores using ESC. For you, you cannot post a score higher than 10, so if your real score is a 12 you lower it be 2 for handicapping purposes only.

I am a scratch golfer, I am only allowed a double bogey for handicapping purposes, that does not mean that in competition I cannot make an 8. It just means I have to change that 8 into a double bogey before I post the score.

I hope that helps.

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I'm not really sure how you would play a game with golfers ranging from 15-40 without using handicaps.  Seems to me that the 15 handicapper would win everytime.

I know you didn't ask for this but we play 2 games that I like a lot but they are using handicaps.

Left - Right = Everyone tees off and the 2 balls on the left are a team and the 2 balls on the right are a team.  The best net score of each team is how you decide who wins the hole.  Both of the members of the winning team for that hole get a point, pushes don't get any points.  Then it starts over the next hole and continues for all 18 holes.  The player with the most points wins.

Wolf = Each hole their is 1 person designated as the wolf.  The wolf rotates each hole, hole 1 - player A, hole 2 - player B, hole 3 - player C, hole 4 - player D, hole 5 - player A, and so on.  Whoever the wolf is tees off first on each hole.  Each player tees off in the same order, A is wolf, then B,C, and D.  If C is the wolf then D, A, and B tees and so on.  Anyways, the wolf decided who he wants to play with after watching each drive.  The only catch is that the wolf must decide if that drive is the one he wants to play with before the next person tees off. If they don't they need to pick one of the final 2 drives.  Whoever the wolf selects is his partner and the 2 not selected play together and follow the same rules as left-right for scoring the hole.  The only issue here is if the first player hits an OK drive and you don't select them, you are running a risk that the next 2 will be worse and get stuck with a bad shot to play with.  The wolf can select to go alone if no one hits a good shot, so it would be 1 versus 3.  If the wolf selects to go alone they must win the hole or all 3 of the other players get a point.  There are no halves if there is a lone wolf.

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Well, seems to me that your rules are rigged to have the better golfers always win. Net scores should be  computed to be fair.

When we have groups like that, we just figure how well one does against his/her average score.  Max strokes on a hole set to double par for everyone just to save time/embarrassment.

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Play best ball in teams of 2 (or even 4 if you have 8 players) pairing highest with lowest handicap, 2nd highest with 2nd lowest, etc.

Or use Stableford scoring with your handicaps.

Either way, you'll speed up play and not have to suffer so many strokes before holing out or picking up.

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This is good information.  Thank you.   I guess I just need to continue taking the maximum strokes that my handicap allows (since I have the highest allowable handicap) and work on my own game.  I just get discouraged sometimes.  I have been playing for 9 months and am still stuck in the 130s to 140s and everybody plays better than me.  Oh well!  This game has changed my life and I am surprised that I am playing at all.  I always thought it would be boring.

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Originally Posted by Close Call

This is good information.  Thank you.   I guess I just need to continue taking the maximum strokes that my handicap allows (since I have the highest allowable handicap) and work on my own game.

You asked info on not taking your handicap into account when playing a friendly game. This you can do by counting all the strokes. You could play as a team against the other two players. You both will play your own ball, but only the best score on a hole for your  team will count.

Taking your handicap into account, Stableford will be a good way to count. According to a handicap someone will get 0 to 3 strokes on a hole. Adding these extra strokes to the PAR score will get you your personal PAR. When you score a personal PAR on a hole, you get 2 points. Points are scored like this:

3 less then personal PAR = 5 points

2 less = 4

1 less = 3

personal PAR = 2

1 extra = 1

two or more extra = 0

If you can't score a Stableford point anymore, you can pick up your ball. Stableford looks difficult, but its not. You can find 'total strokes received' per handicap on a chart in the clubhouse, or the proshop. If there is no chart, do it like this. You are a 40 handicapper and will receive 40 strokes. So 2 strokes on the 14 easiest holes and 3 strokes on the 4 most difficult holes, add up to 40 strokes. Your husband (e.g.) a 24 capper? 12 easiest holes 1 stroke, 6 most difficult holes 2 strokes, add up to 24 strokes.

Or you could use an app on your smartphone like golfshot

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I just downloaded the Golfshot application for my iPhone.  It sure allows for a lot of tracking.  I guess I will learn to track each shot, each club, etc. with time.  At this point, I am concentrating on score and number of putts per hole.  The other statistics may be useful as I improve.  Thank you!

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I'm going to answer your original question, "How do most people keep score in social games- not using handicaps" .

Most people playing a social game of golf will simply keep score based on the number of strokes that they take. One reason is that they do not have a handicap, another is that they want to get the most value out of their game. With beginners and unskilled golfers this can lead to long hours on the course with frustrated groups behind you wanting to play through.

I really like your the way that you think, that if any member of the group gets more than 7 or 9 strokes that they should pick up and move to the next hole.  Another option would be that after 5 or 6 strokes you get to place your ball on the edge of the green and then putt out.

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Thank you, all, for your replies.  There is still a lot for me to learn about this game.  I am just amazed that I even care.  Biggest surprise of my life- me playing and thinking about golf!  What a wonderful new adventure in my life.

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