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Worldwide Golf Handicap System to Debut in 2020

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To this point, the world has had a few different handicapping systems. Among the major ones, we had the USGA handicapping systems, with course ratings, slope, the 0.96 multiplier, best 10-of-20 system, etc. We had the CONGU system, which had the SSS (standard scratch score). Australia, AFAIK, was closer to CONGU but has spent the past several years quasi-converting to the USGA type standard.

Well, scheduled for 2018, the world will see a unified handicapping system. The system is a blend of the two main handicapping systems, in that:

  • Courses will have a scratch and bogey rating (i.e. course rating and slope).
  • Courses will also track scores daily and adjust the scratch rating similar to how the SSS is done.

For the latter, I think the slope remains the same, so even if no scratch players play on the given day, they'll be able to determine the "daily rating" for the course. This means that on days when the pins are tucked (say, a tournament) and the greens are super fast, everyone's higher-than-usual scores may not raise their handicaps as much as they have in the past. It also means that on days when the wind is howling, an 80 might get the same "differential" as a 76 on calm, warm days.

I don't know too many of the details, just the broad strokes (no pun intended). The system seems to favor the USGA's current system, but I don't know if the 0.96 multiplier survives, if the 10-out-of-20 survives, etc.

I am excited about the change, as I think it's been unusual to have two different systems (or more) in play for a number of years now. As a course rater I think the USGA's rating/slope system has a good amount of merit. It's not perfect of course for everyone, because not everyone plays the game exactly the same way, but it does a great job IMO of pretty fairly rating courses that are potentially fairly different.

I'm starting this thread today so that we can point links, share ideas, thoughts, express opinions, etc. as more information about this change begins to come to light and eventually take hold.

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In my opinion... This will be revolutional for golf not only will people be able to compare themselves to everyone in the world they will also have a fair handicap on each individual course I think we should use a USGA style system as that means you have a handicap that shows how well/bad you have played in recent rounds unlike here in the UK

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1 hour ago, iacas said:

Well, scheduled for 2018, the world will see a unified handicapping system. The system is a blend of the two main handicapping systems, in that:

  • Courses will have a scratch and bogey rating (i.e. course rating and slope).
  • Courses will also track scores daily and adjust the scratch rating similar to how the SSS is done.

For the latter, I think the slope remains the same, so even if no scratch players play on the given day, they'll be able to determine the "daily rating" for the course.

The "daily rating" thing could be interesting.  Can't just look it up online to enter it in--we'd have to ask at the course each day we play or call back later. ("What was it last Tuesday?")  A couple of courses I've played in Kansas City don't even list the correct slope and rating on their scorecards now (when they aren't changing daily), so I'm a little skeptical they'd get the daily rating correct.

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2 minutes ago, Missouri Swede said:

The "daily rating" thing could be interesting.  Can't just look it up online to enter it in--we'd have to ask at the course each day we play or call back later. ("What was it last Tuesday?")  A couple of courses I've played in Kansas City don't even list the correct slope and rating on their scorecards now (when they aren't changing daily), so I'm a little skeptical they'd get the daily rating correct.

No, you just enter the date you played in and the differential for that round will be calculated. It's just done by machine. If your course uses GHIN, GHIN would be doing the calculation. No need to ask what it was.

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4 minutes ago, iacas said:

No, you just enter the date you played in and the differential for that round will be calculated. It's just done by machine. If your course uses GHIN, GHIN would be doing the calculation. No need to ask what it was.

I'd like that.   My course plays a lot tougher in windy days - 5 strokes worse easily.

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1 minute ago, iacas said:

No, you just enter the date you played in and the differential for that round will be calculated. It's just done by machine. If your course uses GHIN, GHIN would be doing the calculation. No need to ask what it was.

Some of us don't use GHIN (couple of reasons, but mainly because state golf association won't reply when I ask about it), so I use another online service.  So, if I want it to be accurate (which honestly doesn't matter much at my level other than my type A personality), I'd need to have the number for the tees I play.

It's neat that GHIN will have the daily info archived.  So, the course will enter it in later each day, after they see how the course played for most of the day?  (So the differential gets calculated later on, if you played a round early in the day?)  You may not know--"broad strokes"--these are just questions that come to my mind about how it will actually get implemented. 

These may be more reasons to try to get a real GHIN.

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12 minutes ago, Missouri Swede said:

Some of us don't use GHIN (couple of reasons, but mainly because state golf association won't reply when I ask about it), so I use another online service.  So, if I want it to be accurate (which honestly doesn't matter much at my level other than my type A personality), I'd need to have the number for the tees I play.

It's neat that GHIN will have the daily info archived.  So, the course will enter it in later each day, after they see how the course played for most of the day?  (So the differential gets calculated later on, if you played a round early in the day?)  You may not know--"broad strokes"--these are just questions that come to my mind about how it will actually get implemented. 

These may be more reasons to try to get a real GHIN.

I think you took my response too literally. I imagine that any handicapping service authorized by the USGA will need to employ these kinds of features in their software. I was just using GHIN as an example in my post.

Or maybe the USGA will use this as an opportunity to force GHIN on everyone. (Which is fine as a user, of course… it makes no difference from our perspective.)

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Good article: http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10000872396390444508504577595520292184822

Quote

The handicap system used in the U.S. is more peculiarly American than I realized. Golfers who maintain handicaps here (fewer than half of the eight million to nine million who play frequently) are expected to post a numerical score every time they venture forth. This is true even for a casual best-ball match in which one team beats the other by, say, two holes with one to play. In Great Britain and Ireland, by contrast, clubs might only designate one round per month, the so-called monthly medal, as eligible for handicap consideration. Golfers there post on average only three to five handicap scores per year. In Australia, almost every round a golfer plays is part of a competition and all those scores are crunched for handicaps. It's common for Australians to post 30 or more competition scores a year.

In May, representatives from a half-dozen of golf's governing bodies quietly convened at a hotel near London's Heathrow Airport to discuss whether it might be possible to reconcile the jumble of competing systems world-wide. The most obvious advantage of a global handicap pact would be to make indexes more portable from one country to another. But even for those who don't play golf abroad, the process could make a difference.

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golf.com and golfdigest.com say these changes go into effect January 2016, not 2018. (Or is there something about the "worldwide" part about it that doesn't happen until 2018?)

1 hour ago, Missouri Swede said:

These may be more reasons to try to get a real GHIN.

The online articles (n.b., not from the usga) also seem to emphasize solo scores not being acceptable.  May actually be a reason not to get a GHIN, if they're serious about that (maybe half a dozen rounds I played this last year would be admissible).

Have to see how it actually plays out.

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11 minutes ago, Missouri Swede said:

golf.com and golfdigest.com say these changes go into effect January 2016, not 2018. (Or is there something about the "worldwide" part about it that doesn't happen until 2018?)

These are not the same thing at all.

The 2016 changes for both CONGU and USGA handicaps are taking place in 2016. Then, in 2018, they're planning to join them.

They're two different topics that simply have "handicapping" in common.

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5 minutes ago, iacas said:

These are not the same thing at all.

The 2016 changes for both CONGU and USGA handicaps are taking place in 2016. Then, in 2018, they're planning to join them.

They're two different topics that simply have "handicapping" in common.

Ah. Sorry for my confusion.

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Just now, Missouri Swede said:

Ah. Sorry for my confusion.

Better to ask and learn than assume and stay quiet! :-) All good.

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Very interesting, and (I think) very welcome.  I was in St Andrews for the St Rule Cup one year (amateur women with handicap of 3 or better) and all the scores were posted as compared to the Competition Scratch Score (CSS).  Based on the pins and the wind, the CSS was 75 for the women that day. so someone who shot 72 was listed as -3.  Based on what you've said, our handicaps will be computed based on not only normal conditions, but on the situation on the course that day.  It makes sense, but I can see reasons for people to complain.  Of course, people will complain about anything.

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2 minutes ago, DaveP043 said:

Based on what you've said, our handicaps will be computed based on not only normal conditions, but on the situation on the course that day.  It makes sense, but I can see reasons for people to complain.  Of course, people will complain about anything.

Yes, courses will still be rated as if they were played under "normal" conditions.

Remember, this is more than just adjustment for weather or whatever. For example, some courses may say the white tees are 6300 yards but they always move them up and they only play 5900. Effectively, the white tees will play easier each day and players will not earn the handicap that they would if they were at 6300.

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4 hours ago, iacas said:

I am excited about the change, as I think it's been unusual to have two different systems (or more) in play for a number of years now. As a course rater I think the USGA's rating/slope system has a good amount of merit.

Agree it was unusual and good to hear it's evolving.

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Interesting.  I'm not 100% sure that the daily rating doesn't add some unnecessary complexity.  

Regardless though, I'm a huge fan of a unified system, as long as the overall execution is simple to drive as many participants as possible.

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