Handicaps, Part 3: Final Steps

The USGA handicapping system will be out of commission until January 6 as it tools up for the new World Handicapping System. Here are a few things to remember when the new system goes live. I know some of this is redundant, but we have some new subscribers that may have missed the earlier posts.

  1. Your handicap index will go down a little because the best 8 of your last 20 rounds will be used instead of the best 10 of 20.
  2. Your new course handicap for the tees you are using will almost certainly be lower than your old course handicap because handicaps will now be referenced to par. The reference point of the old system was course rating, and course ratings are lower than par for the tees most of us play at the Flying L. Your new course handicap will be lower than your old course handicap by an amount roughly equal to the difference in the course rating of your tees and par. Follow this link for an explanation of why this is actually a good idea.
  3. Slope will continue to be used as an adjustment for difficulty, just like it was in the past.
  4. The system will now adjust handicaps the day after you post a score rather than recalculating twice a month. Every time a new score is entered your handicap index has a chance to change.
  5. The Equitable Stroke Control system has been changed. Under the new system the maximum score you can record for handicap purposes on any single hole is net double bogey. Under the old system the maximum score on a hole for handicap purposes was set by a complicated table based on your handicap.
  6. There are 3 errors on the new Flying L scorecards. The course rating and slope for the blue and white tees were not corrected to the new ratings when the cards were printed, so ignore the printed ratings for those tees. The correct ratings for the men’s blue tees are 72.1/125. The ratings for the men’s white tees are 70.7/123 and the women’s white tees are 76.9/134. The ratings for the gold and red tees are correct on the scorecard for both men and women. The errors will be corrected when the scorecards are printed again. The scorecards are fine for recording our rounds.

Things to do:

  1. Download the GHIN (Golf Handicap Index Number) app to your phone. It’s free. This app will let you easily check your handicap index whenever you need to.
  2. Be sure to update the app after Jan. 6 when the new handicap system is live.
  3. The app allows you to calculate your course handicap for the tees you are playing at the course you are playing. The information will also be available in the pro shop.
  4. You can also compute your course handicap by hand with the following formula: Course handicap = Handicap Index X (Slope of your tees/113) + (Course rating of tees – par). Round this figure to the nearest whole number. (.5 or higher rounds up, under .5 rounds down.)
  5. Bang your head on the wall as you chant “Golf is fun, golf is fun, golf is fun.”
  6. Calm down, rub your head, and have a beer. It’ll be OK.

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