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fburns

Different Handicap for Walkers?

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I frequently play in Golf Tournaments where riding in a cart is mandatory. Almost every other round I play, I carry my bag and walk. I am 57 years old, in good cardiovascular condition, and have a 4 Handicap. However, I believe that I am playing two different games. In my humble opinion, It is much harder to play the last three or four holes maintaining your focus, swing tempo and rhythm after walking 5+ miles. I believe that walking, if one is physically able, is part of the game.  The fact that the tour pros shoot the scores that they do while walking makes their achievements even more incredible to me. Since it seems to me that these are two different games, do you think handicaps should reflect whether the round was shot riding vs. walking?

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No.  Your handicap will reflect the influence of walking on your game.  If you walk 18 times and ride twice, AND your walking scores are higher, your handicap will be higher.

Like you, I walk a fair amount.  While I can get a bit leg weary down the stretch, it is not like I can't take a breather of sit for a minute or two.  We are not in a race where stopping for a moment puts us in 11th place.

p.s. Sarasota is flat as a pancake, for the most part.  The walk can't be that tough.  I've walked and carried in July in Sarasota and had no issues.

Edited by bkuehn1952

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I have to agree.  If you really believe that you play poorer when walking then your handicap will reflect it and you will benefit from it during a riding tournament.  But I disagree with the assumption - I am very confident that I play better when walking. Sure there are times that you don't have the right energy and the elements are tough on a walker, but walking usually means less waiting IMO and the rhythm of walking beats the heck out of the non-rhythm of riding.

It will be interesting if they do roll out a new handicap system that takes into account that day's scoring factors, although I don't think walking versus riding will be one of them.  I know someone who thinks green speed should impact the handicapping of scores.  Personally the amount of wind is the factor that impacts me the most.

 

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1 minute ago, gbogey said:

I have to agree.  If you really believe that you play poorer when walking then your handicap will reflect it and you will benefit from it during a riding tournament.  But I disagree with the assumption - I am very confident that I play better when walking. Sure there are times that you don't have the right energy and the elements are tough on a walker, but walking usually means less waiting IMO and the rhythm of walking beats the heck out of the non-rhythm of riding.

This pretty much sums up what I was going to say.

  • If you play worse walking, you can ride in a tournament and have a better chance of winning. It's up to you whether you do that or not.
  • I imagine you might play better walking. I feel as though I do. I'm more in touch with the breeze, the turf conditions, etc. I use a ClicGear push cart often, when I walk, though so I'm not all that tired out by the end. It's just walking.
2 minutes ago, gbogey said:

It will be interesting if they do roll out a new handicap system that takes into account that day's scoring factors, although I don't think walking versus riding will be one of them. I know someone who thinks green speed should impact the handicapping of scores.  Personally the amount of wind is the factor that impacts me the most.  

It is not.

The new handicapping system (more below) is not going to factor in the "conditions" at all. Not one little bit. It's simply going to notice whether everyone's scores that day are higher or lower than usual, and apply a little adjustment. So if one day the greenskeeper is in a bad mood and tucks the pins and double-rolls the greens, your 84 that became an 86 or an 87 that day might still end up with almost the same differential.

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I understand that I would have an advantage in rounds where we are riding. But my question is more generic. I guess what I was wondering is if two golfers both have the same handicap and one rides all the time and the other walk all the time do you think they are equally matched? If it doesn't matter or if walking produces lower scores, then why doesn't the USGA allow carts in tournaments? They obviously see riding in carts as an advantage . The broader question... Is walking a key component of the difficulty of the game or not?

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31 minutes ago, fburns said:

I understand that I would have an advantage in rounds where we are riding. But my question is more generic. I guess what I was wondering is if two golfers both have the same handicap and one rides all the time and the other walk all the time do you think they are equally matched? If it doesn't matter or if walking produces lower scores, then why doesn't the USGA allow carts in tournaments? They obviously see riding in carts as an advantage . The broader question... Is walking a key component of the difficulty of the game or not?

That’s too many questions, but…

  • If two golfers have the same index they’re roughly equivalent golfers.
  • Some golfers will do better walking; others better riding.
  • The PGA Tour and other major or higher level events require walking. So do a lot of college and high-school level tournaments. Some of those are probably more about kids not being able to drive carts (you don’t necessarily have a license when you’re in high school).
  • Club tournaments where you can ride are not necessarily about being “true” to golf but about making money and getting a lot of people to participate, so they allow carts.

Take care.

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Let's say a person knows that his handicap is higher when he walks, and his handicap is based on walking while playing.  Then is he cheating a little if he plays in a tournament and rides?

 

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I can't see how walking vs riding would make that big of a difference in scoring unless there was an obvious disability involved. I walk probably 65% of the time and I have never noticed a difference in my ability to score. I do see a difference in my level of enjoyment as I prefer to walk. 

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6 hours ago, fburns said:

I frequently play in Golf Tournaments where riding in a cart is mandatory. Almost every other round I play, I carry my bag and walk. I am 57 years old, in good cardiovascular condition, and have a 4 Handicap. However, I believe that I am playing two different games. In my humble opinion, It is much harder to play the last three or four holes maintaining your focus, swing tempo and rhythm after walking 5+ miles. I believe that walking, if one is physically able, is part of the game.  The fact that the tour pros shoot the scores that they do while walking makes their achievements even more incredible to me. Since it seems to me that these are two different games, do you think handicaps should reflect whether the round was shot riding vs. walking?

What? No. You want to even the playing field? Pony up the $15, Grandpa.

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I'm also in the camp where I feel I play better walking.  Maybe it's because I tend to play harder courses when I ride.  The only time I feel I am not worse off for riding is the summer in the desert, where I ride and generally play alone.  To me, the hard part of riding is moving at someone else's pace.

 I am, not surprisingly, in the camp that feels that handicap should not be adjusted for walk or ride that round, beyond whatever effect it has on your round. 

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I always walk & carry , as it's possible in the UK , though challenging on a hot summer day. 

I think it offers a possible slight advantage, but it can easily become a disadvantage on the later holes if the player doesn't set themselves up well enough ( as light a bag as possible, good footwear, good fitness level, food & drink etc ).

 

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I'm not sure I shoot any better scores walking or riding. I would rather walk and I feel like I play better when I walk but I think if I checked my scores, it would be about the same. I don't feel tired when I'm done unless it's starting to get really hot (and then I usually ride). It's just now getting to the point where the weather has cooled down enough to walk here in the Tampa area.

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I think I play better when I walk than when I ride. Two reasons. One is that walking helps my rhythm. My steps are like a metronome and that keeps my swing in (very slightly) better shape. The other is I have more time to drink in the surroundings. When I walk up to my ball, I'm typically coming up from behind it and I get a good idea of the lay of the land. When I ride, I get to the ball more quickly so I have less time and I'm frequently coming from another ball, so not up from behind. So I get less of an impression of the land and I'm not quite as well prepared. Both are very marginal and it could easily be just random variation, but the impression I get is I'm more comfortable walking and my scores are slightly better. Maybe a shot every other round kind of thing.

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I guess if one isn't terribly fit - walking vs riding might make a difference (though I think I play better walking - I'm more present in the golf itself, rather than in the more generic outdoors/social experience). 

But winds, water, pin position, equipment, and how sick I am are much stronger factors - and I don't expect a normalization factor for any of this stuff.  Getting a realistic handicap with all these little nitpicks would make it just a real pain in the butt.

Aside - I think the "Hey, I'm better than you because (I walk, I use blades, I have a nicer watch, etc etc ad nauseum)" just seems to be more of a conceit than anything else.  I doubt that's the case here, but lots of threads disguised this stuff underneath.

now walking 4 days in a row?  on a really hilly course with long treks between holes?  meh - I think the USGA doesn't allow carts because the visuals are nicer, the players are closer and more personal with the fans, and "that's how it used to be done" - even still, a pro walking a 7400 yard serious course 4 times is a lot more serious than a senior walking an easy/flat 5900 yard course once or twice....then again, the PR affect of having fit representatives in all the tours is huge, so anything to push that is likely positive.

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Is walking more physically demanding?  Sure.  Should there be different handicaps? No.  The main reason I don't have a handicap is because I prefer to walk 9.  That's my choice.  The very few times I have walked 18 I crap the bed the last hole.  Maybe I'm a little fatigued because of the walking.  But I don't need another handicap, I should just try to play more 18 hole golf and get used to it.

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21 minutes ago, Foot Wedge said:

No.  The main reason I don't have a handicap is because I prefer to walk 9.

GHIN puts together nine-hole rounds in the calculation, so you can definitely have a handicap if you want one.

https://www.usga.org/articles/2014/07/only-time-for-nine-you-can-still-post-your-score-21474870775.html

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1 hour ago, rehmwa said:

now walking 4 days in a row?  on a really hilly course with long treks between holes?  meh - I think the USGA doesn't allow carts because the visuals are nicer, the players are closer and more personal with the fans, and "that's how it used to be done" - even still, a pro walking a 7400 yard serious course 4 times is a lot more serious than a senior walking an easy/flat 5900 yard course once or twice....then again, the PR affect of having fit representatives in all the tours is huge, so anything to push that is likely positive.

But there are plenty of guys on tour who are overweight.  Kind of gives the opposite impression: you can walk 7000+ yard courses four times a week (or two if MC) plus practice/pro-am rounds and still look like a couch potato. 

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1 hour ago, mcanadiens said:

GHIN puts together nine-hole rounds in the calculation, so you can definitely have a handicap if you want one.

https://www.usga.org/articles/2014/07/only-time-for-nine-you-can-still-post-your-score-21474870775.html

Learn something new every day!

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