American club golfers handicaps

Junior

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I've just been watching that wonderful golf channel, "Playing lessons from the pro's" to be precise. Beth Daniel was teaching two guy's, one professed to be a 4 handicap, the other a 10 handicap...... Honestly, neither could hit the ball straight (they putted OK) and often hit "pushes" out to the right.

I don't think the courses are easier over there, so I wondered how the heck these guy's could play to those handicaps ?? Has anyone has had experience of playing club golf in the US (i've never played there)??
 

John_Findlay

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I wondered as well, Junior. Donald Trump professes to play off 4 and his swing looks like he's got three arms hanging off by a thread. Not a thing of beauty. In fact I'ts beginning to bring me out in a sweat trying to forget it. If he plays off 4 then he's chipping in at every hole.
 

cosworth

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think the americans work out handicaps based on 10 scores from 20 games.well thats what i read on an american site a while back when i wasnt sure how they were worked out.
 

cosworth

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What i wonder is this.
some courses vary up to almost 2000yds in overall distance 5000 to 7000 ish so if youve got a 20 capper who plays just over 5000 yd course with capp based on this surely he would never get a 20 if the 7000yder was is home course.
so am i right in thinking that you cant ultimately judge someones real talent by their handicap.but i appreciate there is no other way of doing.
anybody understand my fuzzy logic or want to correct me?
 

John_Findlay

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I understand what you're saying, cossie. The Americans have a slope rating system for their handicaps too. So a course rated at 120 is easier than one rated at 150. Some UK courses advertise their slope ratings so that American tourists can tell how difficult they're going to be.
 

viscount17

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I think you're almost on to something here J-F,
How about GM sponsors all the current forum members (excluding that pillock who keeps losing Glasgow) to tour the country rating the courses. I think we'd provide a good spread of ability between us.
 

DriveForShow

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I stand to be corrected, but aren't US handicaps, if anything higher than ours would be for the higher handicapper? Doesn't their system use the average score, whereas ours takes the best score from 3 rounds, and even then doesn't allow anything 2 over par on a hole to count. Also I believe in US they don't stop at a maxium handicap of 28 either.

When I first got a handicap many moons ago now it was 21. At the stage I had not completed 18 holes in less than 25 over par (which happened to be the scoring round my handicap was calculated on). So I had a handicap I had never played even within four shots to once in my life!
 

RGuk

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Hhmm, interesting.
A lot of amateurs do not come over well on camera and get nervous being filmed etc.
Forgetting all the complications of US handicapping, would it not be fair to say that handicaps are hugely affected by the type of course you play. My mate hits very few fairways and plays off 9, there's nearly always a shot to the green on his course. I have always been under the impression that US courses are "on the whole" designed to be playable for all standards. Put me on some american style courses, and I'd be confident of spraying my drives all over the place but still having a crack at par on most holes. Put me on a tight tree-lined or gorse course and 90+ could be a real possibility with inaccurate driver worship.

??????

Dave
 

cosworth

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DRIVEFORSHOW interesting info that i didnt know.
being a novice i dont know all the facts on handicapp workings.i did know the US work on an average of best 10 from 20 and thought UK worked on average of best 3.
think the average score sounds a more accurate scoring of your true potential though rather than not scoring more than 2 over on holes.
take my game for instance my scores today for first few holes went 8-3-4-3-8 and so on i yo-yo from good to bad.all pars except for 8s so they would count no more than 6s which would make me look really good if my handicapp was based on a game like this.

ok im boring myself now so im giving up!
 

RGuk

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Personally, I'd prefer a system that doesn't cut off at double bogey, I'd go to a triple. That would make a few handicaps higher, sure, but it might give extra incentive to players who (for some reason or another) tend to have some crazy nightmares.
If you score 3 big numbers in a stableford it doesn't matter, just get a blob. If on your 3 h'cap rounds you have a few pars, lots of bogeys and a have a few disasters, it's easy to see how the final handicap may be hard to play to.

When I played for my 2nd card, it was a long course and I ended up off 17. I was pleased for having only 7 doubles on all three rounds. No 7s or worse. A committee member commented on my consistency (for a relative beginner) and said, basically you only had 17 bad shots a round.

I replied "with the greatest of respect, you are actually wrong", "I had about 10 bad shots and on another day those might lead to an 82" (ten over). Reality was, I couldn't reach some of the long holes. 3 weeks later, I played an 82 and got called up to explain myself?!!!

There is no right answer, but the handicap system is a "how many" not "how" arrangement. Mostly it works well.

I wouldn't support a 10/20 system, with this I'd play off 7-8 not 11-12. BIG difference.

Dave
 

AceOfClubs

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Is there a cultural difference? In the UK, your handicap is not what you normally play to, but what you are CAPABLE of playing to. This is why stableford competitions are often won by people with around 36 points (i.e. those who have played to their handicap and no better).

The US system sounds as if it seems to treat handicaps more as the figure you NORMALLY play to?
 

ForeThought

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The US system also leans towards the "aspirational" handicap. It takes the best 10 rounds from 20 then it awards a handicap based not on the average score of these rounds but on 96% of the average score. Thus US handicaps are also lower than the score that golfer usually makes.
 

MacMachattie

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I think in the US every round you go out for counts for handicap, not just competitions. So, pressure free rounds with your friends are counting towards handicap - I know I play some really good bounce rounds that would bring my handicap down if I were allowed to count them.

With regards different courses affecting handicap. Surely this is countered by the SSS and CSS system. At an easier course SSS will be under par and vice versa. At a really tough course in tough conditions CSS can go up as far as three over SSS, maybe 4 or 5 over par. It should be the case that your handicap is correct for all courses based on their SSS.

Average of three rounds - This is just for obtaining a handicap. When you've got one and you play enough competition rounds it will level off at the correct HC for you.
 

RGuk

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"Average of three rounds - This is just for obtaining a handicap. When you've got one and you play enough competition rounds it will level off at the correct HC for you."

correct, but if you get 18 and tend to play to 24 because of a few blow-outs, you are hardly going to be chomping to play the necessary rounds to get up there!

Dave
 

USER1999

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I have played with a lot of americans in florida, and found their handicaps are not a million miles adrift from what I would have guessed they played off. I guess the two systems give similar results.

On the subject of their courses being more forgiving, not so sure. The courses I have played over there have a lot of water, and so what would have been an ok but slightly short / wayward shot, becomes a penalty drop. NOt good for the handicap.
 
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