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skywaterbanjo

Handicap trends and competition

33 posts in this topic

I worked really hard (lots of practice, lessons, etc.) to get my handicap below 10 this year.  I've been playing golf for 9 years and that was my goal.  So, now that I am (was until today) a 7.8, I felt really good.

However, I play in a couple of men's groups each week.  I turned into the lowest handicap in the group.  Most are in the 12-21 range.  I now find that to win a skin (net) or even to be on a winning team (2 low net out of 4) is nearly impossible, no matter how well I shoot.  One of the high hc'ers has a great day and I no longer feel competitive.  Even the pro at our shop says it is very hard for a low hc'er to effectively compete with the high ones.  I love playing with these guys because they are so nice but I'm frustrated losing every week.

Anyone else experience this and, if so, what did you do about it?  Switch groups?  Don't bet?

Thanks

Mark in Colorado

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I think even though the handicap system is theoretically designed to let people compete fairly against one another it does seem to break down when the gaps are too wide.  There are a couple of scratch guys at our club who get very frustrated that they can't win any of the club events except the one or two that are scored off of gross stroke play.  The people who mess it up are (sorry) people like me.  Newbies but who are on their way down from a handicap standpoint. I have been playing seriously for about a year and a half.  Last year's goal was to break 100 and this year's goal is to break 90.  I haven't gotten there but I'm hovering around 94/95 on a course with a slope of 134.  Any day I'm going to string together a few putts or avoid the blow up and shoot 88 or something and I'm getting 24 strokes as my course handicap!  The handful of sub 5 caps in every one of these events are playing against a bunch of guys like me who are getting better, can strike the ball and get a few breaks but still get a ton of strokes.  At any given event, one of the 20 cappers will shoot in the 80's and win.

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It is certainly true that higher handicap players are less consistent and therefore more likely to score further below their handicap (on a good day) than the single digit handicap player is.  So if an event has included a fair number of high handicap players it becomes likely there will be some net scores that are pretty well below par.   I know to avoid that issue most of the "organized" tournaments I play in have flights separated by handicaps.  The flights usually have a 7 stroke variation in handicap (e.g. no player in a flight will have a handicap will have more than a 7 stoke handicap difference from any other player in the flight). I don't know where the 7 stroke limits come from but seems to make each flight competitive.

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What I have noticed is that in the stableford comps at my club if you score 40+ points then you are in with a chance of a placing (and prize money). What Ive also noticed is that the vast majority of winners are below 20hcp, with the majority being around 10hcp or lower.

Secondly all of the 4BBB, bogey, greensomes comps are run on a 3/4 handicap system which I think is a bit unfair for higher handicappers because those guys who are already around 10hcp wont mind playing off 7hcp whereas a 28 playing off 21 does make a difference (speaking from personal experience of course:).

At the end of the day you cant win everything and if a high handicapper starts to win a lot of comps then his handicap is going to come down, thus negating the earlier advantage he/she had playing off 28.

Regards

Mailman

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Are you talking about competing in a Men's league with a bunch of groups or betting within your foursome?

Our Copper Mountain Men's league pays both low gross and low net (the same guy/team can't win prizes in both), so being the best player is an advantage.

If you are talking about betting within your foursome, I think consistency is usually rewarded except of you play a game like net skins.

PS- What CO mountains are you in?

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I don't play for money unless were playing straight up! The handicap system is great for trying to match up players and it can level the playing field but when money is on the line your going to have to play me like a man or not play at all. That's probably why the majority of my money matches have been against local pro's and other scratch players.

I will say that my club's Match Play event uses only 80% handicaps and that seems to work out really well in making things fair and exposes the sandbaggers as well. A few years back I had a match against a 12 handicap and I had to give him 10 shots. When the match ended on #14 he was +2 over par for the day and blew me away. I would have had to shoot something near the course record that day to have beat him. The kicker was since the match was over we finished the round on our way back to the clubhouse and he double bogeyed every hole coming in. Then he had the audacity to walk in the clubhouse and claim to everyone he shot about 82. Dude are you kidding me, you were only +2 during the match through 14 holes, lol!

Funny that the guy has never competed in the Match Play since then and I have no problem telling anyone what a sandbagging Bi^%& the guy is!

But when it comes to cash I will play anyone but your going to have to put your big boy pants on and play like a man(with no strokes)!

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I don't play for money unless were playing straight up!

But when it comes to cash I will play anyone but your going to have to put your big boy pants on and play like a man(with no strokes)!

I heard Phil doesn't mind putting on his big boy pants- I'm sure he would be happy to play you straight up.

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I heard Phil doesn't mind putting on his big boy pants- I'm sure he would be happy to play you straight up.

It would be fun!

I would rather lose like a man than win like a bitch!

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It would be fun! I would rather lose like a man than win like a bitch!

I don't feel all that manly when I wipe up the course with my 12 hcp buddy straight up. I'd rather give him his 7 or 8 strokes and have to work for my win. But maybe that's just me...... ;-)

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I don't play for money unless were playing straight up! The handicap system is great for trying to match up players and it can level the playing field but when money is on the line your going to have to play me like a man or not play at all. That's probably why the majority of my money matches have been against local pro's and other scratch players.

I will say that my club's Match Play event uses only 80% handicaps and that seems to work out really well in making things fair and exposes the sandbaggers as well. A few years back I had a match against a 12 handicap and I had to give him 10 shots. When the match ended on #14 he was +2 over par for the day and blew me away. I would have had to shoot something near the course record that day to have beat him. The kicker was since the match was over we finished the round on our way back to the clubhouse and he double bogeyed every hole coming in. Then he had the audacity to walk in the clubhouse and claim to everyone he shot about 82. Dude are you kidding me, you were only +2 during the match through 14 holes, lol!

Funny that the guy has never competed in the Match Play since then and I have no problem telling anyone what a sandbagging Bi^%& the guy is!

But when it comes to cash I will play anyone but your going to have to put your big boy pants on and play like a man(with no strokes)!

Last I heard no one in this country is ever forced to play in handicapped events.  So if you don't want to, don't, but I'm pretty sure whether you do or don't has very little with "being a man".

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Last I heard no one in this country is ever forced to play in handicapped events.  So if you don't want to, don't, but I'm pretty sure whether you do or don't has very little with "being a man".

Exactly, that's why I stated I don't play for money unless it's straight up. I was pretty clear about that! Playing in club matches and giving strokes is another thing and I don't have a problem with that!

It's not about being macho by any means. It's about putting yourself on the line. I was pretty clear in that I only play accomplished players for money. If a 10 handicap asked me to play  for money and give them strokes I would tell them to go put in the time and dedication that I have and come back when they are ready to play straight up!

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Are you talking about competing in a Men's league with a bunch of groups or betting within your foursome?

Our Copper Mountain Men's league pays both low gross and low net (the same guy/team can't win prizes in both), so being the best player is an advantage.

If you are talking about betting within your foursome, I think consistency is usually rewarded except of you play a game like net skins.

PS- What CO mountains are you in?

We usually have a group of 3 or 4 foursomes, playing best net 2 balls.

I'm in Durango, playing Dalton Ranch.

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We usually have a group of 3 or 4 foursomes, playing best net 2 balls.

I'm in Durango, playing Dalton Ranch.

In a 2 low net out of 4 format, you can afford to be a tad more aggressive, especially if only 1 of 3 or 4 foursome wins.

Haven't been down to Durango yet, but might look to get down there this winter.
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It would be fun! I would rather lose like a man than win like a bitch!

This seems like a very ignorant way of thinking about the USGA Handicap system.

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Speaking purely in generalities, when people enter their scores for their handicap, you should be sure that ESC is being applied. I know many people who don't know what this is and as a result their handicap is much higher than it should be. So if they are playing 14 or so holes around bogey and then have 4 or so triples or worse and then enter 101 or something like that then they will clean your clock in any net game except maybe a net stroke game when the totality of their strokes is counted together. But in a hole by hole game or a game in which they have a partner to erase their big mistake holes, they will clean up. Track their score one day, apply ESC and then check the handicap system later to see what got entered. You may even find a true sandbagger in there too, not that I am suggesting a witch hunt or anything.

As for your immediate situation, I suggest some side games. Gross skins maybe. Even net skins might get you back some cash. I know some guys who play the coin game (couple different variations) and that can tilt things in your favor a little. If its a good group like you said then let them know what you're thinking and see if they have any ideas.

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Speaking purely in generalities, when people enter their scores for their handicap, you should be sure that ESC is being applied. I know many people who don't know what this is and as a result their handicap is much higher than it should be. So if they are playing 14 or so holes around bogey and then have 4 or so triples or worse and then enter 101 or something like that then they will clean your clock in any net game except maybe a net stroke game when the totality of their strokes is counted together. But in a hole by hole game or a game in which they have a partner to erase their big mistake holes, they will clean up. Track their score one day, apply ESC and then check the handicap system later to see what got entered. You may even find a true sandbagger in there too, not that I am suggesting a witch hunt or anything.

As for your immediate situation, I suggest some side games. Gross skins maybe. Even net skins might get you back some cash. I know some guys who play the coin game (couple different variations) and that can tilt things in your favor a little. If its a good group like you said then let them know what you're thinking and see if they have any ideas.

Good ideas, thanks.  Our club implemented a hc oversight committee to address this.  First year in place, we'll see how it goes and how many hc's drop.

I like the gross skins idea but I think I'll be outvoted.  Oh well, it's a fun bunch to play with.  I'm sure one of these days will be my day...
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In a 2 low net out of 4 format, you can afford to be a tad more aggressive, especially if only 1 of 3 or 4 foursome wins.

Haven't been down to Durango yet, but might look to get down there this winter.

Not quite the same caliber skiing as where you are but Purgatory isn't bad.  And, I can drive an hour and be playing golf at Pinon Hills, open all year (except when there's snow).

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It is certainly true that higher handicap players are less consistent and therefore more likely to score further below their handicap (on a good day) than the single digit handicap player is.  So if an event has included a fair number of high handicap players it becomes likely there will be some net scores that are pretty well below par.

This. If your group is fairly large, and you are the lowest handicap, you are likely not going be low net on any given day. The probabilities just aren't on your side... As for net skins, you also limit yourself. If you are like me (our hdcp's are close - I'm a 6.5 right now), I average just under 2 birdies per round. If I don't birdie one of the 7 holes I get a stroke on, a skin is probably not gonna come my way. There are just too many 15 to 20 cappers who will par whatever hole I birdie and get their stroke to tie me. That's why I like the way my group creates teams based on handicaps. The best A player gets the worst B player, the best C player, and the worst D player. This isn't perfect, but overall team handicaps are close. I say, keep playing with your group. Keep trying to lower your handicap. Unless you are playing for big bucks, the bets are just for fun, anyway... If you guys do blind draws for teams, I'll bet you'll find that you'll go on streaks when you never win anything, and streaks where your blind draw partner tore it up and you won money. That's how it goes...

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