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Need Help Explaining - Different Tees

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@foxhole88 if the course is rated properly then they’re both just 10.0 indexes.

The blue tee player might shoot 84 to get his 10.0 from the blues while the other might already shoot 81 to get his 10.0 index.

It is just math.

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8 hours ago, foxhole88 said:

Does Player B have an unfair advantage?  (Blue Tees are significantly longer, higher rated and higher sloped)  His index has essentially been established from a harder course, now gets to move up to a much easier course setup and play at the same index as Player A.

Wouldnt most (not all, but most, majority) players in Player B's situation probably score better in this situation?  Maybe average 4-5 strokes better (maybe a little less)

If Player A had to play Player B 10 times under this scenario, how many times do you think Player A would win a match?  2-3 times out of 10?   

Let me first get a few things out of the way. 1-we are assuming here that the blue tees are rated higher than the white tees, or said another way, the blue tee is a more difficult course than the white tee (side note: typically it is due to the additional distance). 2- we are talking about a net competition here using the players handicaps, not a gross competition. 3- recognize that there are mathematical realities when using averages given averages are used in calculating a handicaps,  and 4- we must agree that the courses are rated correctly as the previous poster points out. So with those out of the way......

In your scenario once the handicaps for the white tees are calculated Player B and Player A would play even from the white tees which is the handicap system recognizing that Player B's potential ability (reflected by his index) is the same as Player A's. You can of course learn more about the math by doing your own research, but here is an example explaining why that is so:


Player A plays the white tees all the time. The slope/rating is 115/67.3 and he has 20 scores of 78 recorded with no tournament scores. So the sum of his differentials is 105: (78score - 67.3rating = 10.7/115slope x 113 = 10.5differential x 10rounds= 105), and his index is 10 : (105/10rounds=10.5*.96factor = 10.08 which is truncated to 10.0 index).

Player B plays the blue tees all the time. The slope/rating is 123/68.6 and he has 20 scores of 80 recorded also with no tournament scores. The sum of his differentials is also 105: (80score - 68.6rating = 11.4/123slope x 113 = 10.5 x 10rounds = 105) and his index is also 10: (105/10*.96=10.08 which is truncated to 10.0 index).

So as you can see, player B plays a tougher set of tees (higher slope/rating) and scores 2 strokes higher than Player A but has the same handicap index as Player A who plays a less difficult course and scores lower because ones handicap index (or potential golfing ability) is not calculated in relation to par, it is calculated in relation to the level of difficulty of the course/tees being played (the slope/rating).

Now you can do your own research to understand how the match would be handicapped if they both played in a match from their respective tees (see section 3-5 of the USGA handicap manual). But if Player A and Player B were to play a match from the white tees, they would play straight up even though player A always shoots 78 and player B always shoots 80 because their potential golfing ability, which is calculated by their index, is the same and since they are both playing this particular competition from the same tees, they are considered of equal ability.

Now I did what I could to make this easy to understand. In reality not everyone scores the same every time they play and not everyone plays the same set of tees, or even the same course every time. I'm sure I will be checked by others on my example and I welcome that. If I made a mistake, somewhere by all means, please correct me. Just trying to show you the math.

Finally, I do acknowledge a few other things. 1- all people don't necessarily match up well against all others, 2- any calculation using averages must acknowledge that half the time a specific event is below average and half the time it is above average. Remember too that the handicap index is a reflection of a persons golfing potential, not what he/she will accomplish every time he/she plays a round.




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This whole ordeal reminds me of spots in pool matches. Everyone always wants more, especially when something of value is on the line. They don't want to admit that they can lose to someone of their same skill level, fair and fair. The only thing with golf is that typically age dictates distance, but handicaps don't lie. The 10 index seniors that always play off the forward tees are still 10 index. Just as the guys that play off the members with a 10, or the tips with a 10, they are all the same.

I play in a local game sometimes where 60+ plays forward and then depending on the course, <60 plays from the members or the tips. I don't think it's right because they have their own adjusting system based on round to round play in the game. It just makes it loads tougher on the courses where the 59 and under have to play the tips, even if they only drive it 230-250 like me. The difference in distance on some of these holes is 30 yards (tips to members). I try not to play the game on those courses, but sometimes I do anyway because it's cheap and fun. I think the whole game should be played from the same tees, because after a few rounds everything would even out, but old men are hard to change.

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5 hours ago, Bonvivant said:

......but old men are hard to change.

In a conversation I was having one day with an older guy than me who I had to play against in match play (I'm in my mid 60's, and he is in his early 70's) he said, "You'll get old one day too", as if that was justification for wanting additional consideration over and above our handicap difference because he was a few years older than me. He did agree that his age was reflected in his performance, and his performance was reflected by his handicap, yet he still felt because he was 7 years older than me that he was entitled to additional strokes. I believe he was getting 10 strokes, but still felt he was at a disadvantage playing against me and thought he should get more. During the match neither was ever down or up by more than 2 strokes at any time in the match. We came off #17 with me up 1, and I happened to chip in on #18 for a birdie to tie his par-with-a-stroke and win the match. I have lost matches over the years the same way but this time it happened to go my way. So we both shot slightly under our handicaps, it was a very close match, yet another of his comments in the clubhouse was "see you won which just goes to prove it wasn't a fair match".

I think for some there is a tendency to judge things based solely on the outcome. There are many years of  history and tradition in golf which have been created and maintained by some very smart organizations with people who have done great things to help preserve and update this game. But when two people play a match, there are two things that will never change, that is, one will be the winner and one will not. No matter what age you are, if you can't accept not being the winner, or don't want to play by the rules, then do everyone a favor and don't play because it's not the rules that are unfair, and it's not your age that is the reason why you lost, it's really just the guy in the mirror who's causing it all.

"It's just a game Bagger".





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Well said. Humility in defeat is someone that far too few people exhibit. It's not fun to lose, but one shouldn't whine about a fair match and ask for more

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