Potentially changing 4BBB Open Competitions- Any thoughts on alternate system?

wjemather

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My idea was a basic example, not a refined and detailed way in which it should work.

The -2.0 reduction that WHS applies is therefore entirely arbitrary, and by your definition does not allow a new golfer to compete equitably anyway.

At my club, a player with a handicap over 24 has zero choice. They simply cannot play, end of story. Now, you can argue that the club is discriminating against high handicappers. They are. But, they are doing so for a reason. Because they feel that this WHS handicap system (or the system that preceded it) does anything but provide an equitable system. If people can happily acknowledge that new golfers will always have the ability to quickly improve, thus shooting lower scores, then it is simply not true that the system is equitable when comparing a new golfer with a golfer who has played for a long time.

And, I go back to what I said before. Not one person will ever convince me that a player has a fair and equitable handicap after submitting 3 scores. Even if I was to submit 3 scores in the next week or 2, and they were the only scores on my record, WHS could give me a handicap of 0.0 if I played really well (in one round), or 18.0 if a struggled over those rounds. That is huge, and I'm not exactly a rapidly improving golfer.
The premiums contained within WHS are not arbitrary; they have been derived from extensive analysis of hundreds of thousands of scores. Your proposed penalties have no such evidential basis.

I rather suspect the handicap limits at your club are historical and any proposal to change or remove them has been resisted; by being applicable to all higher handicappers it's unlikely they were brought about by an irrational fear of new and improving golfers posting good scores.

Citing extreme (and hypothetical) examples is not a sound basis for proposing severely restrictive practices.
 

Colin L

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Yes, compared to zero chance at all if you just ban them from winning. Pretty simple really.

That indeed is simple .... but irrelevant. What chance does a player have of winning a net competition on a handicap 10 strokes lower than the one that reflects their demonstrated ability?
 

Swango1980

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The premiums contained within WHS are not arbitrary; they have been derived from extensive analysis of hundreds of thousands of scores. Your proposed penalties have no such evidential basis.

I rather suspect the handicap limits at your club are historical and any proposal to change or remove them has been resisted; by being applicable to all higher handicappers it's unlikely they were brought about by an irrational fear of new and improving golfers posting good scores.

Citing extreme (and hypothetical) examples is not a sound basis for proposing severely restrictive practices.
So, to confirm

A golfer's best score would give them a 0.0 score differential, giving them an initial index of -2.0. Another has a score diff of 30.0, giving them an index 28.0. So, based on the extensive analysis of thousands of scores, you are telling me that this -2.0 reduction is completely fair to both golfers, providing them with equality??? Both have an equal chance in going out and winning their first competition?

They then submit a 4th score, not as good as their best. They both go up 1.0. Based on the analysis of hundreds of thousands of scores, this is completely fair, as it is a well known fact that after they submit one extra score, their ability is indeed 1.0 worse than before the 4th round?

You are far too trustworthy to assume that the system as it stands is the perfect tool, or statistically fair in all aspects of handicapping. Furthermore, I have no doubt WHS will look different in 10, 20, 30 years from now, because inevitably they will find ways to improve it. So, at some point, if improvements are to be sought, somebody will have to identify its shortcomings. I've no doubt the handicap authorities will be doing this, and have been doing it since the start. There are probably a host of other issues that are less than perfect that I have not even thought of. However, only blind faith disregards any critical feedback and hides behind (WHS is great, it is based on hundreds of thousands of scores, etc)

My Index is 9.3. If I was afforded equality with new golfers by having the same number of scores count towards my handicap, then my Index would be 7.0. So, perhaps this weekend I'd struggle in a comp, but still have a chance if I shoot a very good round. I'd not be too bothered though, I know it would go up very quickly if I shot a few bad scores. In early August my Index was 8.7. However, had I been treated equally to a new golfer, had I teed off on 7th August, I'd have had an Index of 13.0. I know 13.0 would have been a ridiculous handicap to give me, but if equality is that important to you, then I'll take that 13 handicap please.
 

Swango1980

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That indeed is simple .... but irrelevant. What chance does a player have of winning a net competition on a handicap 10 strokes lower than the one that reflects their demonstrated ability?
I think you are missing the point. If I watched anybody play 3 rounds of golf (and actually watched them, rather than just see their score) I would not be able to accurately define their ability. Furthermore, the 10 strokes (which was only an example anyway) would be applied to someone if the best score diff was, say 30.0. If the best score diff was, say 15.0, the reduction would be say 5.0, and so on. I'm not suggesting someone has a best score diff of 10.0, and suddenly they get a handicap os 0.0.

And, if a golfer knows these reductions are lessened as their scoring record gets filled up, surely that is a good thing. It'll encourage them to submit more scores anyway, and in the meantime it should stop clubs telling them they are not welcome in their competitions.
 

wjemather

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So, to confirm

A golfer's best score would give them a 0.0 score differential, giving them an initial index of -2.0. Another has a score diff of 30.0, giving them an index 28.0. So, based on the extensive analysis of thousands of scores, you are telling me that this -2.0 reduction is completely fair to both golfers, providing them with equality??? Both have an equal chance in going out and winning their first competition?

They then submit a 4th score, not as good as their best. They both go up 1.0. Based on the analysis of hundreds of thousands of scores, this is completely fair, as it is a well known fact that after they submit one extra score, their ability is indeed 1.0 worse than before the 4th round?

You are far too trustworthy to assume that the system as it stands is the perfect tool, or statistically fair in all aspects of handicapping. Furthermore, I have no doubt WHS will look different in 10, 20, 30 years from now, because inevitably they will find ways to improve it. So, at some point, if improvements are to be sought, somebody will have to identify its shortcomings. I've no doubt the handicap authorities will be doing this, and have been doing it since the start. There are probably a host of other issues that are less than perfect that I have not even thought of. However, only blind faith disregards any critical feedback and hides behind (WHS is great, it is based on hundreds of thousands of scores, etc)

My Index is 9.3. If I was afforded equality with new golfers by having the same number of scores count towards my handicap, then my Index would be 7.0. So, perhaps this weekend I'd struggle in a comp, but still have a chance if I shoot a very good round. I'd not be too bothered though, I know it would go up very quickly if I shot a few bad scores. In early August my Index was 8.7. However, had I been treated equally to a new golfer, had I teed off on 7th August, I'd have had an Index of 13.0. I know 13.0 would have been a ridiculous handicap to give me, but if equality is that important to you, then I'll take that 13 handicap please.
Unfortunately you are conflating many things, not least equity and equality.
 

Swango1980

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Unfortunately you are conflating many things, not least equity and equality.
In a nutshell, if I was allowed to simply use my 3 last scores as my index, you would tell me that this would not provide an accurate handicap. You would tell me that, based on the analysis of hundreds of thousands of scores, an "accurate" handicap may only be determined after 20 scores are submitted. Once that is done, the analysis says that a fair handicap is calculated based on the average of the 8 best scores of those 20 scores.

That I could have no argument. I agree that lots of number crunching has been done, and who am I to argue that this is wrong? I am in no position.

However, in the next breath, you will tell me that a player who has only ever handed in 3 scores can also be given a "fair" handicap. Just take 2.0 off the best score differential, job done.

But, clearly that is nonsense. Because, if that too provided a golfer with a "fair" handicap, they'd just apply the same formula to everyone.
 

Colin L

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I think you are missing the point. .
I'm no doubt missing some points as it's a bit difficult to follow your reasoning. The point that seems to be coming through is that you want unreasonably and and unfairly to discriminate against new players by massively reducing the handicap indicated by their initial scores in order to protect those who have been playing a bit longer from the alarming prospect of one of those new players having a day in the sun and winning a competition. That is entirely wrong in my book. I take into account too that it won't be a common occurrence and that the consequential problem for the player will be, as I think has already been mentioned, that his low handicap index may well be a problem when, as is so often the case in golf, he/she can't repeat the performance.

And a post-script. All initial handicaps should be reviewed by the committee and if other evidence indicates that an initial handicap is too high, that's for the handicap committee to deal with. But I emphasise evidence. Speculation on indeterminate possilbities isn't evidence.
 
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Swango1980

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I'm no doubt missing some points as it's a bit difficult to follow your reasoning. The point that seems to be coming through is that you want unreasonably and and unfairly to discriminate against new players by massively reducing the handicap indicated by their initial scores in order to protect those who have been playing a bit longer from the alarming prospect of one of those new players having a day in the sun and winning a competition. That is entirely wrong in my book. I take into account too that it won't be a common occurrence and that the consequential problem for the player will be, as I think has already been mentioned, that his low handicap index may well be a problem when, as is so often the case in golf, he/she can't repeat the performance.

And a post-script. All initial handicaps should be reviewed by the committee and if other evidence indicates that an initial handicap is too high, that's for the handicap committee to deal with. But I emphasise evidence. Speculation on indeterminate possilbities isn't evidence.
I've made my points clearly, you just can't get past your mental barrier that you think I am proposing discriminating against new golfers. I have clearly pointed out discrimination is a non issue, as their handicap can never be as accurate as an experienced golfer anyway. You also dismiss the fact that WHS effectively already does this to some extent with the -2.0 reduction.

The low index should aldo be a non issue, the low index is only set after 20 scores are submitted. So, it will not take into account any additional reductions that may apply before 20 scores are in.

I was a handicap secretary pre and post WHS. I have awarded hundreds of handicaps. More than 90% of the time, I have zero knowledge of that player, except for the 3 scores they submit. However, plenty of times I have some comments from others such as "how the hell did he get a xx handicap!?". However, I never gave them an extra cut based on the hearsay of others, that is dangerous and certainly unfair, as you acknowledge. Even if they go out and shoot a crazy low score in a competition, I didn't give them an extra cut, as I had to trust the system would do its thing, eventually. Only if they started lighting up match play events, or I was getting feedback about performances in Opens, would I (the team) look into it in more detail.

And, our club have had plenty of crazy scores by new golfers over the years.

My comments were simply a reply to another poster on this topic. It has been mentioned on many many other threads. It is a topic that has been discussed amongst members for years. It will continue to be a major frustration going forward. All I was doing was looking at this from both sides of the fence. I certainly would never call for high handicappers to be given a higher penalty than lower handicappers at all times. I am simply proposing a suggestion that helps account for the fact that getting a handicap after 3 scores is a nonsense in terms of accuracy. They are competing under different conditions to everyone else with full records, like it or not. WHS already does this, just not very well in my opinion. Not very well in the slightest.
 

wjemather

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In a nutshell, if I was allowed to simply use my 3 last scores as my index, you would tell me that this would not provide an accurate handicap. You would tell me that, based on the analysis of hundreds of thousands of scores, an "accurate" handicap may only be determined after 20 scores are submitted. Once that is done, the analysis says that a fair handicap is calculated based on the average of the 8 best scores of those 20 scores.

That I could have no argument. I agree that lots of number crunching has been done, and who am I to argue that this is wrong? I am in no position.

However, in the next breath, you will tell me that a player who has only ever handed in 3 scores can also be given a "fair" handicap. Just take 2.0 off the best score differential, job done.

But, clearly that is nonsense. Because, if that too provided a golfer with a "fair" handicap, they'd just apply the same formula to everyone.
Firstly, please stop telling me what I am saying or what my opinion is, when I am simply relaying how WHS works and how it was developed.

Second, basing your handicap on your last 3 scores would be to disregard demonstrated ability, so would not follow WHS. In the absence of any other evidence of current or previous ability, it has been long accepted that 54 holes is enough to provide a reasonable starting point. There are valid arguments for increasing this to 5, 6 or even more, but you are not arguing for that.
 

rulefan

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And a post-script. All initial handicaps should be reviewed by the committee and if other evidence indicates that an initial handicap is too high, that's for the handicap committee to deal with.
And that is exactly what the book says (and said before).
 

Swango1980

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Firstly, please stop telling me what I am saying or what my opinion is, when I am simply relaying how WHS works and how it was developed.

Second, basing your handicap on your last 3 scores would be to disregard demonstrated ability, so would not follow WHS. In the absence of any other evidence of current or previous ability, it has been long accepted that 54 holes is enough to provide a reasonable starting point. There are valid arguments for increasing this to 5, 6 or even more, but you are not arguing for that.
I have to respond to what you are saying, you are the one writing down the words. All I can do is try and figure out what you mean. When you say hundreds of thousands of scores are used to determine a reasonable handicap, I can only assume you mean this was done to determine the handicap after limited scores (as that is what we are discussing).

In my opinion, I believe this to be untrue. I do not believe hundreds of thousands of scores were looked for players with only 3 scores, then 4 scores, then 5 scores, etc. Not for a second. I believe the real number crunching was done in the full record of 20 scores. I am sure plenty of number crunching was done for Playing Handicap allowances. However, I thing a fairly basic approach was taken to calculate indices when a player had 3 to 19 scores on their record. I don't for one second I find the approach completely and utterly nonsense, I simply do not believe it protects the majority of the field in a competition from new players who are often expected to rapidly improve. It is rare I see a new golfer playing off scratch, shooting 50 points and ending up on -15 after a year. However, I've seen 30+ handicappers shoot up to 50 points and end up in the teens.

I'm also not here for an argument. If you are happy that WHS provides the perfect tool to deal with these issues, then so be it. I simply do not share that opinion.
 

wjemather

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I have to respond to what you are saying, you are the one writing down the words. All I can do is try and figure out what you mean. When you say hundreds of thousands of scores are used to determine a reasonable handicap, I can only assume you mean this was done to determine the handicap after limited scores (as that is what we are discussing).

In my opinion, I believe this to be untrue. I do not believe hundreds of thousands of scores were looked for players with only 3 scores, then 4 scores, then 5 scores, etc. Not for a second. I believe the real number crunching was done in the full record of 20 scores. I am sure plenty of number crunching was done for Playing Handicap allowances. However, I thing a fairly basic approach was taken to calculate indices when a player had 3 to 19 scores on their record. I don't for one second I find the approach completely and utterly nonsense, I simply do not believe it protects the majority of the field in a competition from new players who are often expected to rapidly improve. It is rare I see a new golfer playing off scratch, shooting 50 points and ending up on -15 after a year. However, I've seen 30+ handicappers shoot up to 50 points and end up in the teens.

I'm also not here for an argument. If you are happy that WHS provides the perfect tool to deal with these issues, then so be it. I simply do not share that opinion.
Again, it is not me saying these things, it is the USGA and other authorities involved in the development of WHS. They have access to scores from all kinds of golfers, including new golfers, and have analysed them to develop a system that is equitable, while also being relatively simple to use. Without question, early scores were analysed to produce the resultant early record calculations - how else would they come about.

A common mistake is thinking (or wishing) that there can be a perfect system, or that the job of an equitable handicap system is to "protect the field" from new/improving golfers or high handicappers - it isn't; it is merely to enable all players to compete on a fair and equal basis.
 

rulefan

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However, I've seen 30+ handicappers shoot up to 50 points and end up in the teens.
Does your handicap committee monitor new players? We watch them closely from the first card they put in, talk to the people they play with socially etc. Regardless of this we simply don't encounter the problems you seem to have. We have had newbies win comps but not with the extreme scores you mention.

But how many of these players do you get in your club and what proportion of comps do they win?
 

Swango1980

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Does your handicap committee monitor new players? We watch them closely from the first card they put in, talk to the people they play with socially etc. Regardless of this we simply don't encounter the problems you seem to have. We have had newbies win comps but not with the extreme scores you mention.

But how many of these players do you get in your club and what proportion of comps do they win?
This is an important point, and maybe why we saw it more than others.

Our club, in which I was handicap sec, was £180 per year, then £6 a round. The pricing structure lent itself to be the perfect spot for beginners to learn the ropes. So, of course we had a lot of players getting their first handicap at our club. I'd like to think we were a warm and friendly club, so a good amount would play in comps, getting to know people, etc. As such, it was not uncommon for them to post the odd crazy low score. Not to say experienced high handicappers did not sometimes post a great score, but more often than not it was the newbies. Highest score I remember was over 50 points, but many up around 46-49 points.

Their handicap would settle after a few months to a year generally, depending on how often they played. Of course, always more newbies coming in, so it was a continuous cycle.

At my new club, no idea. However, it seems to be the type of club that is more intimidating to beginners. And a lot more expensive. More a club that players from my old club may move on to, once they get to grips with the game. So, their handicap will often have settled by that point. Furthermore, my new club have a 24 index limit in comps, so maybe if that was lifted then bigger scores could occur.

At end of day, all I'm doing is speaking from my experience. And, in a sort of brainstorming way, felt something to my solution would work well.
 

Colin L

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I've made my points clearly, you just can't get past your mental barrier that you think I am proposing discriminating against new golfers. I have clearly pointed out discrimination is a non issue, as their handicap can never be as accurate as an experienced golfer anyway. You also dismiss the fact that WHS effectively already does this to some extent with the -2.0 reduction.
Now I've been told what I have meant and what my mental barrier is, I'd better not say any more as it would just lead to my disagreeing with myself.
 
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