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Golfers are Getting Better, Handicaps are Dropping


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3 hours ago, DrvFrShow said:

So a more accurate statement would be that among golfers who keep official handicaps with USGA approved organizations (GHIN, US Handicap), the average golfer has improved two strokes since the early 1990s.

I think that's exactly correct.  So the net effect on the true average golfer is probably zip since the segment you identify probably comprises 20% or less of all golfers.  As such, another bogus study...yay!

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On January 14, 2016 at 3:19 PM, Gunther said:

I think that's exactly correct.  So the net effect on the true average golfer is probably zip since the segment you identify probably comprises 20% or less of all golfers.  As such, another bogus study...yay!

For the net effect to be zero then you're assuming that the rest of the golfers out there, on average, got worse by a half a stroke.  That's awfully presumptuous considering that they all benefit from the exact same advancements in equipment and knowledge and instruction, etc, etc.

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I have played in our City Championship since 1990.  The field has gotten much better.  My scoring has gotten better but my flight position continues to move from 1st to 2nd to 3rd.  Anecdotal but it confirms my impression of overall improvement.

 

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  • 2 years later...

It was said earlier, with Improved instruction, launch monitors, video analysis and equipment gains people have gotten better. 

Great graphic from Iacas shows it but I believe with everything out there handicaps should be MUCH more improved...especially over the last 10 years where I think fittings, using video and lesson quality are top notch.

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4 minutes ago, Typhoon92 said:

especially over the last 10 years where I think fittings, using video and lesson quality are top notch.

I get what you're thinking but golfers that are getting fit and/or taking lessons are in the minority. 

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8 hours ago, Typhoon92 said:

It was said earlier, with Improved instruction, launch monitors, video analysis and equipment gains people have gotten better. 

Great graphic from Iacas shows it but I believe with everything out there handicaps should be MUCH more improved...especially over the last 10 years where I think fittings, using video and lesson quality are top notch.

As @mvmac said, they are a small percent. Even of only those with handicaps.

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What u guys say makes sense when I look at it...

I play a public course and we sit on the bench behind the first tee and watch.  We are amazed how horrific people are...and no clue to rules.  Seems to get worse very year.

On the flip side, apparently the small group that gets fitted, lessons and puts in the time sees greater gains than they used to with all the new technology.  

Evens itself out I guess.

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I can see this happening with many players who enjoy the game are out playing to do the best they can more so than previous years.
Along with many of the golfing outing which brought their beer buddies out for just a good time is most likely decreasing.

And certainly it must be due to the many of the O'ld guys becoming better.... :whistle:

But it is a good trend....

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I’m more convinced to forego an official handicap for the time being. You know,  to avoid having my scores pull the average up. I’d hate to think I contributed to busting up a good trend. 

You’re welcome. 

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I am an avid muni player and have been for decades...I play all the city and county and daily fee courses in and around Los Angeles County, and I play 3x per week -sometimes more...have a place in Palm Springs on a course and go down there a lot...I see a ton of players and have done so since the 60s...Golfers are a bad as ever!

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  • 2 weeks later...

If this is truly the case, then why hasn't it seemed to affect the people on the course in front of me week after week! Reminds me of Forbe's Magazine's 500 Richest People on Earth article. Yes! These folks are getting much richer! Examines only a tiny percentage of the golfing community. 

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Average handicap for men 14.1? If I read that chart correctly, wow. Myrtle Beach is probably as big a golf hotbed as any in the country. Even taking into account the many golf academies in the area, youth programs, and so many golf communities with instruction on site... I just think that number is low. I play to just under a 13, and it's very rare I'm not in the A flight, or at worse the B in tournaments I play. I am 63, so I am in the Senior Division, but still... 

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  • 2 months later...

Interesting. It makes sense. Even if we only consider one factor. 

Even looking at the distance factor alone, doing complete ‘ballpark fuzzy math’ and assuming that technology has allowed the average player to gain between 5-20 yards depending on the club (say 5-10 per iron and 10-20 per wood/driver) over the last 20-25 years’ clubs and balls....

We have increased distances by 5-20 yards per full shot, so you’re effectively playing a course that’s anywhere between 200 and 800 yards shorter (assuming about 40 full swing shots a round) each round compared to how the same length course played for you 20-25 years ago. 

200-800 yards a round is between 3 and say 6 shots per round that we aren’t taking now. 

Of course that’s just one factor to consider, and complete ballpark stabs around numbers, but it is sensible to me that everyone’s scores are dropping. 

 

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  • 6 months later...
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A quick call to the USGA confirmed that very fact. In the last 25 years, the average USGA handicap for a man has improved nearly two full strokes, from 16.3 to 14.4. For women, the improvement is no less impressive, dropping from 29.7 in 1991 to 26.1 in 2016.

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