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Pretzel

Tournament Scores and Handicaps: Poll

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  1. 1. Should there be some "bonus" applied to tournament rounds for handicapping?

    • Yes
      2
    • No
      19
    • It Depends
      2

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21 posts in this topic

It's a common theme that most people score worse in a tournament than they would in a casual round for a variety of reasons. Whether it be pressure, harder courses, or having to play in a 7:00 shotgun, there is something that prevents most from shooting their handicaps in tournaments. In many cases courses will ramp up the green speeds the morning of and let the rough grow thick in the week leading up to a tournament in order to make a tougher course, in addition to moving the tees back as far as they go.

Do you personally believe that there should be some sort of difficulty "bonus" added to tournament scores for handicapping purposes to account for this?

I personally don't because I see tournaments as the true measuring stick of one's capabilities (when that 4-footer means something is when you start to see people missing them), but I can see both sides of the argument since handicaps are mostly established through "easier" practice rounds. I see the main difference in the speed of the greens at a course, as some will go from having greens that roll 7 or 8 on a normal day to rolling a 10-12 on the morning of a tournament. This could affect the course rating (though I would imagine it would affect the slope quite a bit more since I don't have trouble with faster greens) and skew handicaps slightly if enough rounds were posted. At the same time though I feel plenty of tournament rounds will keep your handicap honest, the same way that other countries play competition rounds to set their handicaps.

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The computer always asks me if it's a tournament round when I post.

I don't know if there is any difference.

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What kind of bonus - something like making the differential lower?

I like my strokes and they are well earned - why would anyone want an artificially low handicap because the tournament was *tougher?*

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I voted it depends… based solely on the fact that a handicap committee can adjust for exceptionally good or bad tournament rounds. But as a general rule, for example adding a stroke to the course rating or something, no.
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I voted it depends… based solely on the fact that a handicap committee can adjust for exceptionally good or bad tournament rounds. But as a general rule, for example adding a stroke to the course rating or something, no.

I don't think there's any provision to allow for a handicap index to be adjusted upward for exceptionally bad tournament rounds, is there?

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I'm asking just because I overheard someone earlier in the day saying, "My handicap would be two strokes lower if tournament scores had a higher course rating. I score so much better here in practice rounds from the same tees."

I personally think tournaments are a good measuring stick regardless of what your handicap is. That's how I judge myself personally (and I'm doing well this year with nothing outside the top 10 this season in high school).

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I don't think there's any provision to allow for a handicap index to be adjusted upward for exceptionally bad tournament rounds, is there?

Absolutely there is. Particularly if your handicap is a bit of a vanity cap and it qualifies you to play in local amateur events or something. In that case that handicap committee may bump your handicap up to prevent you from qualifying for them.

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Absolutely there is. Particularly if your handicap is a bit of a vanity cap and it qualifies you to play in local amateur events or something. In that case that handicap committee may bump your handicap up to prevent you from qualifying for them.

Huh. Didn't know that, and don't remember having seen it before. Thanks.

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No :-O I play a lot of small Stableford tournaments (30-50 competitors). Winners usually score 33-38 points. The handicap is ment to be what you are capabel to do when in form. A tourney gives more pressure, and when the going gets tough, the tough get going. If you can't stand the pressure, don't enter.
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I play in Germany, where only tournament/competition rounds count towards your handicap. This means that your handicap is always a reflection of the way you play in competitions, so there is never a discrepancy. I agree that most people tend to play worse than normal in competitions (certainly I do), but I have been given what I think is sound advice: simply play so many competitions that you lose your nervousness!

With regard to adjusting scoring for god or bad rounds: at our club, the CSA (Competition Stableford Adjustment) is regularly used for this. If a lot of people have returned particularly good or bad rounds (because, for example, of the weather conditions), the committee will adjust the CSA to account for this, which normally means that - even if you would not normally have made it into the buffer zone - the lower limit may be lowered, so you retain your handicap after all.

I am hesitant to comment on basing handicaps on casual rounds, but find it difficult to imagine that you can achieve real comparability (i.e. that everyone plays to exactly the same rules, etc.). Having said that, the only person you are fooling is yourself if you artificially boost your score/reduce your handicap.

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I would say "no". I don't think sanctioned play should be anymore difficult for the golfer than normal recreational play. In both instances the golfer is looking for their lowest score. Except for the occasional round where I am just out "goofing around" for the fun of it, I am always trying to shoot the best score I can that day.

I also think that being able to use one's handicap in sanctioned play should be considered a pressure, lowering gift. The fact that the golfer will be able to subtract strokes from what they actually shoot, should bring some peace of mind to the player.

If  the tournament itself, is an important, multi day qualifier, a local club event, or just a one day, charity event, it should not matter.  Slope, and/or rating numbers are, or can be factored in to adjust one's handicap accordingly for course difficulty. Of course if it's a scratch event, then handicaps, and course difficulty are not relevant.

In my situation when I was playing in a lot of tournaments, I always played better in those tournaments more often than not. I would focus more on my game, up to and during the tournament. In fact there is a  4 day tournament coming up in April that I used to play in every year. I have missed playing in it the past 3 years. I will start getting ready for that tournament in late February.

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I'm asking just because I overheard someone earlier in the day saying, "My handicap would be two strokes lower if tournament scores had a higher course rating. I score so much better here in practice rounds from the same tees."

I personally think tournaments are a good measuring stick regardless of what your handicap is. That's how I judge myself personally (and I'm doing well this year with nothing outside the top 10 this season in high school).

I voted an emphatic no.  One reason why so many players score worse in tournaments is because that is the only time they play by the rules.  They don't get that free kick out the tree roots,  or the free roll from a divot hole, or the generous "estimate" of where their ball entered the hazard, or the assumption without evidence that the guy who was walking in the rough from the adjacent hole picked up your lost ball.  No drops in the area near where the ball is "thought" to be lost - OB is really OB - stroke and distance.  No 3 foot gimmes.  These and all of those other things that the guys on this and other forums post regularly as "okay" for casual golf.  If you are returning those scores then you deserve to be saddled with an inflated handicap that you will have a hard time playing to when it counts.

If that isn't the case for a particular player, then he just needs more competition experience so that nervousness doesn't cause poor play.

Play by the same rules and with the same intent during "casual" play as you do in tournaments and it won't be long before your tournament golf is just a reflection of your normal play.  My lifetime best was shot during tournament play, in about the 10th tournament of my first season in the Men's Club.  You just have to do it enough that the nerves go away and you just play golf.  This is why I play every round the same as competition.  When my approach to each round is the same, it doesn't make any difference whether it's casual or competition.

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The only changes I see are usually setup related. When they set the course up for the championship at my parents club it definitely plays more difficult. Greens are faster, rough longer and hole placements are tricky. They held a sectional event there for the assistants this summer. A guy I am friendly with shot back to back 81's and he plays close to scratch. Some of that can get into your head. If you blow up a few holes it's a struggle to try and get back into it, may make poor decisions trying to catch up. Typically the winners make fewer mistakes may even have better luck.

The unfortunate thing is most of us can't play regularly on courses set up for tournament golf. Really doesn't work for getting the every day golfers around the course efficiently. The courses I play are always dumbed down on the weekends, always have easy hole placements, tees are up, rough mowed down.

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I voted no. I'm generally against the manipulation of numbers in any sport.

Just play the best you can, post honestly and let the numbers fall where they may.

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I might be in favor of a proposal that counted all "T" scores twice. It wouldn't affect the average golfer or the vanity capper much, but it would nail the baggers who shoot net 66's when the stakes are highest
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The only changes I see are usually setup related. When they set the course up for the championship at my parents club it definitely plays more difficult. Greens are faster, rough longer and hole placements are tricky. They held a sectional event there for the assistants this summer. A guy I am friendly with shot back to back 81's and he plays close to scratch. Some of that can get into your head. If you blow up a few holes it's a struggle to try and get back into it, may make poor decisions trying to catch up. Typically the winners make fewer mistakes may even have better luck.

The unfortunate thing is most of us can't play regularly on courses set up for tournament golf. Really doesn't work for getting the every day golfers around the course efficiently. The courses I play are always dumbed down on the weekends, always have easy hole placements, tees are up, rough mowed down.

In my 22 years of club championships, I never saw that.  Maybe because my competitive golf was played on public courses, not private clubs.  It doesn't make any sense to change up a course that is still going to see most play by the public, even during the week of the championship.  Then too, our Men's Club had a full range of players from scratch to 36 handicaps, so it would just slow things down to a ridiculous pace to try and make the course more difficult than usual.  Most of the guys played a lot of their casual golf there too, so using a more normal setup was a better test than making it into a torture track.  All that really does is stroke the egos of the management, with no real gains for the competitors.

We made the Club Championship special by playing more holes than any other competition of the year - 72 holes over 2 successive weekends for the first few years I was in the club, then it was changed to 54 holes, Friday thru Sunday on consecutive days.  The payout was bigger too, with some of the annual dues added to the entry fees to create bigger purses.  The atmosphere was just different for that tournament than it was for the rest, without any need to trick up the course.

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In my 22 years of club championships, I never saw that.  Maybe because my competitive golf was played on public courses, not private clubs.  It doesn't make any sense to change up a course that is still going to see most play by the public, even during the week of the championship.  Then too, our Men's Club had a full range of players from scratch to 36 handicaps, so it would just slow things down to a ridiculous pace to try and make the course more difficult than usual.  Most of the guys played a lot of their casual golf there too, so using a more normal setup was a better test than making it into a torture track.  All that really does is stroke the egos of the management, with no real gains for the competitors.

We made the Club Championship special by playing more holes than any other competition of the year - 72 holes over 2 successive weekends for the first few years I was in the club, then it was changed to 54 holes, Friday thru Sunday on consecutive days.  The payout was bigger too, with some of the annual dues added to the entry fees to create bigger purses.  The atmosphere was just different for that tournament than it was for the rest, without any need to trick up the course.

I know one of the courses that Dave has mentioned playing before is Heritage at Westmoor. That course has been used for US Open sectional qualifying, and I completely believe the 82's if it was at that course. That course, from the tips, measures over 7500 yards and they pushed it to 8000 yards during last year's sectional qualifying. I've played it in a tournament where they set it up at 7600 yards and after coming away with scores of 82 and 84 I considered myself to be fairly lucky (I had a handicap of 5 at the time). That course is a beast that leaves very few birdie opportunities and is a rare course in that its par fives play no easier than the rest (hole 13 is 615 yards, straight uphill).

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