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HonestyPolicy

Section 3-5 of the USGA Handicap Manual

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My home course, like many these days, is under a lot of financial stress due to a lack of membership/play. If I were to guess, I'd say the average age of our membership is 70+. Due to the average age of our membership we only had 2 persons in our club championship last year from the tips (me and another guy at 7K yards) and each of those persons were over 60. Many of the men have/are moving up from the member tees (6K yards) to what used to be called the senior tees (I guess we call them the men's front tees now, 5.2K yards) which are only a few yards longer than the ladies (5.1K yards). Our committee this year for the first time in it's history moved the club champion from the tips to the member tees and moved the Sr Club Champion from the member tees to the men's front (senior) tees.

When we have tournaments, we only get 20 or so to sign up, 8 or so being ladies. We do not have gross competition from different mens tees but we do have net competition from different mens tees which is where Section 3-5 of the USGA Handicap Manual comes into play. We have found that we consistently have 2-3 men playing from the men's front tees extremely vocal and angry about having to follow section 3-5. For some reason they believe that they are entitled to move up when they decide they want to, yet they do not want to accept the adjustment for playing a lower rated course against others playing from a higher rated course. As I understand it, Section 3-5 is a rule of golf and no committee can make a local rule that is in conflict with a rule of golf, so removing the rule from competition is not an option.

We've tried everything. We've used the USGA literature such as where Snoopy plays Woodstock from different tees, technical explanations, the posting papers, nothing works with them. O of them even called the USGA and when he didn't get the answer he wanted and started calling the USGA a bunch of #&^$* Trump supports! Another guy wrote a letter to the USGA and got back in a letter an explanation he didn't like supporting the rule so now he says "we aren't PGA players and those rules don't apply to us", and on and on. They just refuse to accept the rule and are willing to fight about it every minute yet they keep signing up for competition. Now I'm no spring chicken myself, but I'm surprised to see guys over 75 years old acting like this.

These few make the tournament difficult for others with their complaints, raising their voices, getting angry, making others uncomfortable, and possibly affecting the participation levels of future tournaments because others don't want to be around that type of behavior. It seems no one on the committee, in the pro shop, or in the ownership has the guts to address it, so it goes on and on and has been for years now. I hesitate to join another club because of the distance and the fact that other than these few, everyone else is just fine to be around.

Does anyone else have this type of experience and if so what did you do, or what might you do? I am amazed, but I'm trying to get these guys to understand logic. Any advise is appreciated.

 

 

 

 

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I would think a tournament with only 10-15 players run fairly is better than 20 or so people playing under a hodgepodge of rules. If you lose a couple guys because of the adjustment, i guess thats the way it is. 

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4 minutes ago, Groucho Valentine said:

run fairly

Using 3-5 is running the tournament fairly.

Have you tried telling the guys they're welcome to move back a set of tees and not have to be subject to the adjustment from 3-5, @HonestyPolicy?

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Ahh, the joys of country club golf.

A bunch of 75 year-olds who feel entitled and at the same time have their head stuck in the sand as to what's going on, from a financial standpoint, with their club. I agree with both of the above posts. You have 20 people signing up, 8 of them being women. I would tell those 2-3 crotchety old farts to buzz off. Play by the rules, meaning play from the same tees as all the other men, or accept the handicap adjustment playing from the senior tees or don't play. It should be pretty cut and dry. I'm assuming that the women play from the ladies tees and their handicaps are adjusted as well?

Yes, someone is going to have to have some guts, and obviously you don't want to lose members, but maybe it's these kind of guys who are giving your club a reputation in your community that is chasing potential new members away.

Addition by subtraction.

 

 

 

Edited by xrayvizhen

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Just now, iacas said:

Using 3-5 is running the tournament fairly.

Have you tried telling the guys they're welcome to move back a set of tees and not have to be subject to the adjustment from 3-5, @HonestyPolicy?

Yes, we have. The rating differential between tees is 3.3 strokes. We've tried having separate divisions but don't get enough signs ups to do that. We removed 3 strokes in the past from the front tee players, but now we add 3 strokes to the back tee players instead hoping if the front tee players don't see an adjustment to their handicap they'll be fine. But they see their playing partners card who is playing from the back tee as a 25 handicapper when they know he's a 22 off that tee and that just sets them off again. We've told them they could move back, but they say "no I play the front tees and anyone who always plays the back tees stays playing the back with no adjustment!"

They even admit that they think the difference in difficulty is more like 5 or 6 strokes, so logic says they should be happy with just a 3 stroke adjustment, but they don't want any adjustment, what they want really want, I suspect, is an advantage.

With some of these guys, all they have in their life is golf. It would be horrible to say to them "if they don't agree then don't play", but I'm at my wits end.    

 

 

 

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If they haven't learned their lessons in their 70+ years… maybe this will do it.

Put up or shut up. I'd give them no other option. It's the legal, written, fair way or the highway.

Pun intended.

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13 minutes ago, xrayvizhen said:

Ahh, the joys of country club golf.

A bunch of 75 year-olds who feel entitled and at the same time have their head stuck in the sand as to what's going on, from a financial standpoint, with their club. I agree with both of the above posts. You have 20 people signing up, 8 of them being women. I would tell those 2-3 crotchety old farts to buzz off. Play by the rules, meaning play from the same tees as all the other men, or accept the handicap adjustment playing from the senior tees or don't play. It should be pretty cut and dry. I'm assuming that the women play from the ladies tees and their handicaps are adjusted as well?

Yes, someone is going to have to have some guts, and obviously you don't want to lose members, but maybe it's these kind of guys who are giving your club a reputation in your community that is chasing potential new members away.

Addition by subtraction.

 

 

 

Yes sir you have it pegged. There is a reputation emanating from this and thats part of the problem. And you are also correct that these few don't care what damage and destruction they leave in their path, just as long as they get their way. We do have one guy trying to stand up to them who they've dubbed the "Rules Nazi" and other derogatory insults about him but no one else has the guts to get involved so they just look the other way.  It seems they would rather win a $15 pro shop credit certificate than keep friends. 

 

7 minutes ago, iacas said:

If they haven't learned their lessons in their 70+ years… maybe this will do it.

Put up or shut up. I'd give them no other option. It's the legal, written, fair way or the highway.

Pun intended.

Yeah I hear ya. We wouldn't mind if they chose the highway really. But it seems they'd rather choose to play and complain because like I said it's all they've got in their lives. The real problem is the ugliness it all turns into inside the clubhouse afterwards. These guys could care less even if the tournaments get down to 5 people, just as long as they get an unfair advantage. We just had our first tournament and even when one of these guys won (net of course) he complained that he would have won by more if he didn't have to "unfairly give up strokes.". Unreal!

 

Edited by HonestyPolicy
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Another option: specify that you're only conducting the championship from the one set of tees for men, and the other set of tees for women. They're welcome to play that day, but it's just a normal round for handicap purposes.

The Conditions of the Competition can specify a set of tees. Do that.

f*** 'em.

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Set the policy for tournaments. If they do not want to abide by that, they do not have to play. If the routinely play from the up tees, then their handicap should adjust a decent amount moving back. Who doesn't want more strokes?

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Just now, iacas said:

Another option: specify that you're only conducting the championship from the one set of tees for men, and the other set of tees for women. They're welcome to play that day, but it's just a normal round for handicap purposes.

The Conditions of the Competition can specify a set of tees. Do that.

f*** 'em.

Haha, yes we've done that too. They'll still will play but complain the whole time, again making an ugly scene in the clubhouse afterwards.

Even better, like I said Sr Club Champ will come from the front tees this year mostly because they lobbied the committee to change to move up to the front tees. They think they have a chance to win Sr Club Champ now (gross) but they don't know that in the conditions of competition the committee is allowing anyone who is 55 or older to play from them. Wait until they find out that the young bucks of 60 and 65 years old who are 2 and 4 handicappers will be allowed to play from the front tees! They'll complain like never before.

Honestly, this is what happens when a few are allowed to run ramp-id over the many. Thanks for your suggestions. I guess trying to remove them is the only option.

 

 

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7 minutes ago, HonestyPolicy said:

Haha, yes we've done that too. They'll still will play but complain the whole time, again making an ugly scene in the clubhouse afterwards.

Then they're just assholes.

Good luck.

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44 minutes ago, HonestyPolicy said:

The rating differential between tees is 3.3 strokes. We've tried having separate divisions but don't get enough signs ups to do that. We removed 3 strokes in the past from the front tee players, but now we add 3 strokes to the back tee players instead hoping if the front tee players don't see an adjustment to their handicap they'll be fine

Don't forget to adjust for the course rating also. Course handicaps are based on the Slope but the CH's also need to be adjusted for Course Rating. If the CR from the front is say 71 and from the back 73, the players from the back tees get 2 stokes in addition to their Course Handicap.

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Yeah, it sounds like these guys are just jerks that you need to deal with in other ways. I don't know much about your club, but if these couple of guys are obnoxious enough, kicking them out might actually have the effect of boosting participation. A couple of jerks can easily spoil a lot of other people's fun.

My club did one tournament this year using Section 3-5, and there was some grumbling. Ironically, from the guy that ended up winning it. But the mix of players in the money did not favor one particular tee box. The tournament turned out really well in the end. I wouldn't hesitate to play in a tournament like that, even though I'd prefer flights if at all possible.

The low handicappers grumbled the least, because they were happy to get the extra strokes. I feel like higher handicappers generally grumble the most, because they think that low handicappers will always shoot lower scores. But that's just wrong, because high handicappers have a much wider variance of scores.

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26 minutes ago, Martyn W said:

Don't forget to adjust for the course rating also. Course handicaps are based on the Slope but the CH's also need to be adjusted for Course Rating. If the CR from the front is say 71 and from the back 73, the players from the back tees get 2 stokes in addition to their Course Handicap.

  Yes sir that is what we are talking about. Section 3-5 is about the adjustment made for difference is course ratings when playing different tees. I believe my use of the word "differential" may have lead you astray. Sorry I should have said "difference in course ratings".

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Seems to me that one issue here is in having a net club championship that can come from the whole field.  In my men's club, the club champion can only come from the championship flight, and that flight plays scratch.  Anyone can declare for the flight, but even if they carry a 26 handicap, they play scratch with everyone else in the flight. 

The remainder of the flights only offer a flight champion, but even that is based on gross score within the flight (handicaps are only used to determine the flight breakdown).  Our other tournaments are quite varied in format - handicaps and flighting come into play in most of them, and may be based on either net or gross within flight from one tournament to the next. 

We have a much better situation though, with 200 men's club members and typically up to 140 entered in each tournament.  That gives us the luxury of playing in flights where most have only about 3 strokes of handicap variance from best to worst player.  Only the last flight plays exclusively net, because those handicaps usually run from about 22 to 30+.  We also utilize 2 or 3 sets of tees, depending on format.  The Club Championship uses Black tees for first flight, blue tees for second and third flights, and white tees for the rest.  Most tournaments use the blue and the white tees, with about a 50/50 split, 1st, 2nd, and 3rd on blue, 4th, 5th, and 6th on white.  

We get occasional complaints, usually when a player's handicap index is right on the cusp between flights, and the computer split happens to put him in the higher flight and thus back from the white to the blue tees.  I've been in that situation and it can make a difference in one's opportunity to compete, but it's just how the thing works and you still have to suck it up and play golf.  Whining gets you nothing.

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12 hours ago, Fourputt said:

Seems to me that one issue here is in having a net club championship that can come from the whole field.  In my men's club, the club champion can only come from the championship flight, and that flight plays scratch.  Anyone can declare for the flight, but even if they carry a 26 handicap, they play scratch with everyone else in the flight. 

The remainder of the flights only offer a flight champion, but even that is based on gross score within the flight (handicaps are only used to determine the flight breakdown).  Our other tournaments are quite varied in format - handicaps and flighting come into play in most of them, and may be based on either net or gross within flight from one tournament to the next. 

We have a much better situation though, with 200 men's club members and typically up to 140 entered in each tournament.  That gives us the luxury of playing in flights where most have only about 3 strokes of handicap variance from best to worst player.  Only the last flight plays exclusively net, because those handicaps usually run from about 22 to 30+.  We also utilize 2 or 3 sets of tees, depending on format.  The Club Championship uses Black tees for first flight, blue tees for second and third flights, and white tees for the rest.  Most tournaments use the blue and the white tees, with about a 50/50 split, 1st, 2nd, and 3rd on blue, 4th, 5th, and 6th on white.  

We get occasional complaints, usually when a player's handicap index is right on the cusp between flights, and the computer split happens to put him in the higher flight and thus back from the white to the blue tees.  I've been in that situation and it can make a difference in one's opportunity to compete, but it's just how the thing works and you still have to suck it up and play golf.  Whining gets you nothing.

Yes our problem is certainly rooted in too few members and because of it we must play against each other from different tees in net competitions. The USGA only recommends to use Section 3-5 for Net Competition, not to be used for Gross competition.  Separate flights is certainly the way to avoid having to use it which we do for Club Champion and Sr Club Champion and the "champion" is the gross winner just as you say. But we had just two people off the tips competing for "Club Champion, and 5 people off the member tees competing for 1st flight champion. No one else will play because there is no "net award". Some have even tried to lobby the committee for making Club champion a "Net" event which so far as has been a no-go.

Anyway, yes if you have a club with a large membership, even a mediocre one, section 3-5 is generally not a problem because you have different flights. One of our members even called a club with a much larger membership about 20 miles away from our club and asked "How do you handle Section 3-5?", and the Pro said "Section 3-5, whats that? Never heard of it".

 

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3 hours ago, HonestyPolicy said:

Yes our problem is certainly rooted in too few members and because of it we must play against each other from different tees in net competitions. The USGA only recommends to use Section 3-5 for Net Competition, not to be used for Gross competition.  Separate flights is certainly the way to avoid having to use it which we do for Club Champion and Sr Club Champion and the "champion" is the gross winner just as you say. But we had just two people off the tips competing for "Club Champion, and 5 people off the member tees competing for 1st flight champion. No one else will play because there is no "net award". Some have even tried to lobby the committee for making Club champion a "Net" event which so far as has been a no-go.

Anyway, yes if you have a club with a large membership, even a mediocre one, section 3-5 is generally not a problem because you have different flights. One of our members even called a club with a much larger membership about 20 miles away from our club and asked "How do you handle Section 3-5?", and the Pro said "Section 3-5, whats that? Never heard of it".

 

The other issue that you face, and I don't know how it affects your situation, but many times I've found that the actual playing difference between tee sets doesn't seem to match the stroke adjustment for handicap purposes.  I used to be able to play either the blue or the white tees on my home course without my scores really reflecting the added length from the blues, so that I actually gained an advantage when I played back.  On other courses, it seems that the handicap adjustment was insufficient account for the additional difficulty. 

It can even have an uneven effect for different players on the same course.  There is the guy who establishes his handicap from the white tees, and has a fairly low cap because of his accuracy, not his length.  He is generally on or close to or on the green in regulation from the shorter tee, with a solid short game to provide scoring.  If he has to move back, he simply may not be able to compete against a  player who has the length and accuracy with his driver, but misses greens but holds a similar handicap.  I've seen this myself from some of the older members when I was still in my early 40's - a 72 year old player with a 9 handicap from the whites, he only gets 2 strokes moving back to the blues, but his lack of length kills him there, playing a course that was 450 yards longer.  Handicaps just don't always move as well as the mathematical model would indicate that they should.

I only speak from personal experience, but I have seen this sort apparent variance, and that could add fuel to the arguments for your members.  Difficult situation in any case.

Edited by Fourputt

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6 minutes ago, Fourputt said:

The other issue that you face, and I don't know how it affects your situation, but many times I've found that the actual playing difference between tee sets doesn't seem to match the stroke adjustment for handicap purposes.  I used to be able to play either the blue or the white tees on my home course without my scores really reflecting the added length from the blues, so that I actually gained an advantage when I played back.  On other courses, it seems that the handicap adjustment was insufficient account for the additional difficulty. 

It can even have an uneven effect for different players on the same course.  There is the guy who establishes his handicap from the white tees, and has a fairly low cap because of his accuracy, not his length.  He is generally on or close to or on the green in regulation from the shorter tee, with a solid short game to provide scoring.  If he has to move back, he simply may not be able to compete against a  player who has the length and accuracy with his driver, but misses greens but holds a similar handicap.  I've seen this myself from some of the older members when I was still in my early 40's - a 72 year old player with a 9 handicap from the whites, he only gets 2 strokes moving back to the blues, but his lack of length kills him there, playing a course that was 450 yards longer.  Handicaps just don't always move as well as the mathematical model would indicate that they should.

I only speak from personal experience, but I have seen this sort apparent variance, and that could add fuel to the arguments for your members.  Difficult situation in any case.

Yes the creation of a handicap index involves the use of an average (of the lowest ten differentials x .96 and then assessed for tournament performance). But we all know that anything based on an average means that half the data is above the average and half is below. Said another way, rarely do independent performances match the average. And then as you say some data around and average is tight while other data is wide and wouldn't it be great to see variance somehow added to the creation of a handicap, but then again there is always the argument that the more you try to fine tune something the more complicated you make it for very little accomplished actually.

There is no doubt that some perform better at some aspects of the game while others perform better at other aspects and when they move around from tee to tee it doesn't necessarily match the difference in rating between those tees. In fact some have actually figured this out and play the tees they perform poorly at during casual rounds creating higher differentials, and then sign up for the forward tees which they know perform way better at during tournaments.  

But in the end the rules are the rules and we can not cherry pick the ones we want to follow and the ones we want ignored. Section 3-5 is a rule of golf and must be included when playing in a net competition from different tees. It can easily be avoided by having divisional play by tee box, but for small clubs like mine, it is hard to have divisional play by tee box.

Rules/Laws exist to administer fairness as best it can be done for the vast majority. Lately it has become popular to attack the persons involved in enforcement but without enforcement we have chaos. The committee exists at least in part to enforce the rules but it's a tough job. Section 3-5 is not perfect, I grant that. It is not enough to cover the rating difference for some while it is way more than enough for others, but it's the best we have to work with.

Where I have landed, like many here, is we will do divisional play where we can and avoid having to include section 3-5 as best we can, but when we can't due to a lack of participation and we must have competition from different tees, we will follow the rules. If that means these guys decide not to play, then so be it. Their choice.

 

 

 

 

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