Golf & Handicaps

ghin cardLet me start by saying this is my opinion. Now that that’s out of the way we can continue. I was never one to record my scores for handicap purposes. A long time ago I heard something about golf handicaps that stayed with me ever since. When asked about his handicap, an older gentleman once said “High school varsity is high school varsity…tour pros are tour pros.”

What is the purpose of a handicap? To compete against someone better than you on equal grounds? I have an idea, play someone at your level! If you consistently shoot mid 80’s, play someone that consistently shoots mid 80’s. Any other sport that has an amateur rec league has a tier system of some sort to separate players into their appropriate skill levels.

I have never seen a men’s, women’s, co-ed or beer league use a handicap system. They don’t sit there and say “Ok, Chico’s Bail Bonds will start with 5 runs today against Vito’s Waste Removal because they stink.” Why else would you need a handicap, right? Hey, I’ll be the first to tell you I stink at golf.

Jokes aside, I tend to believe the bigger the handicap the less accurate it is. My theory is if you have a 25 handicap the chances of you scoring worse are better than someone with let’s say a 5 handicap. The 5 handicap is a pretty consistent golfer and his fluctuation percentage in scores between rounds will be lower than a less consistent 25 handicap. You follow?

In other words, a better golfer will be more consistent and should play against other golfers at their respective caliber. Now, if we’re just playing for fun then we can throw all this handicap stuff out the window and enjoy the round. Works for me!

Hit’em long…yell FORE!!!


  1. Ted B. (Charging Rhino) says:

    I play in a Friday 9-hole league at our local track that uses handicapped Modified Stableford scoring using ‘Online League Tracking’-software. In-part since we have a small group and playing-abilities all over the map. It tracks the most-recent scores and updates everyone’s “league handicap” then calculates our weekly Stableford points. The system overall rewards both good consistent play and gradual improvement without the “better players” walking-away with all the season’s points.

    Our local course doesn’t post to GHIN since they don’t belong to the USGA. ( I guess it’s too-expensive.) Unfortunately around here in New Jersey, you generally have to have a minimum “official handicap” to participate in most charity tournaments — typical HDCP-20 just to be able to register — just to keep out the casual hacks.

  2. Why should people of varying skills, who like to enjoy 4.5 hours together playing golf, not take advantage of a tool to enable them to compete (and gamble) and do so on a consistently fair footing? If you are OK playing with people of your skill level, and never want to play with people better or worse than you, so be it… If you don’t care to gamble, so be it. If you don’t care to track your own progress and improvement, well, so be it. But handicaps, IMO, do serve a purpose. I can go out and play with Bob, Fred and Jerry. Bob is a 5, Fred is a 23, Jerry is a 9 and I’m a 16. We can compete…gamble…have fun…and have a scoring system that is designed to bring some equity to the process.

    Your assertion that Bonds vs Waste don’t handicap the game misses a few things… First, there’s no gambling between Bonds and Waste. Second, Bonds and Waste running up and down the floor is not the same as 4 guys playing golf socially….and finally, if Waste is continuously so bad that they get blown out, eventually they will just quit… The nice thing about golf with a handicap is that every saturday, Bob, Fred, Jerry and I can go out and play…and compete…and gamble…and everyone has a shot as coming up victorious every time. It makes the game more enjoyable.

    Just my 2 cents…

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