The Buckhorn showed its teeth on Monday. The greens were slick, the wind howled through the back 9, and the pins had been set by the Marquis de Sade. It was not a day to shoot your handicap, and no one in the field did. The winning net scores (here) in all 3 flights were over par. It may have been a bad day for handicaps, but it was a day for anti-handicaps to shine.
We all have those days when shooting our handicap is out of reach. Maybe the conditions are brutal, like at the Buckhorn on Monday. Other times we just can’t find our game despite ideal conditions. We struggle through the round, trying to limit the damage and hoping for the best. But what is our best on those days when we can’t find it?
The folks at The Grint have come up with the anti-handicap index, a way to measure those bad days on the golf course. If your handicap tells you how good you can be, your anti-handicap slaps you up the side of the head and reminds you how bad it can get. And if it’s true that scoring well even when you don’t have your best game is how you win, it’s probably just as important to lower your anti-handicap as your regular handicap.
You calculate your anti-handicap the same way you calculate your handicap, with one crucial difference. Your handicap index is based on your best 8 rounds of the last 20 you’ve played. Your anti-handicap is based on the the worst 8 of those 20.
Go to your GHIN record and you’ll see scores for your last 20 rounds. The differential column lists how far away your score was from the course rating, and the average of your 8 lowest differentials is your handicap index. Pick out the 8 highest differentials, calculate the average of those 8, and you get your anti-handicap index.
(Before a handicap theory nerd gets too torqued around, I know the differential is technically the difference in your gross score and the stroke rating of the tees you played adjusted by the slope rating of those tees. It was just too cumbersome to put all that in the middle of that sentence.)
So what’s a good anti-handicap? Who knows, but the closer your anti-handicap is to your regular handicap, the better your chances when the wheels are coming off and the fates are against you.