More often than not you will post a golf score that is over your handicap.
It can be very frustrating if it happens time and time again. Don’t become disheartened because that is completely normal and statistically it should happen. Hard to believe but true.
How is that so you ask ?
Our handicap system is very complicated involving more than just your score after each game. I will briefly attempt to explain it and some of the terms used on results pages and how they are used to calculate your handicap.
You will come across something called a DSR (daily scratch ratings) and slope ratings.
To process a score for handicapping we need a clever system to adjust a score of say 100 on a hard course with a score of 100 on an easy course (i.e. so we can fairly compare apples with oranges). The 100 on a hard course would be shot by a better player obviously but how do we fairly adjust her handicap?
The DSR (the number at the top of results page) is made up of information for each field in each competition from net scores, handicaps in the field, the size of the field and the type of competition.
Slope rating assesses the difficulty of each golf course.
Now, with all that arithmetic in play you’ll have a handicap which is further calculated by using your best 8 games in your past 20.
So, only your best games are used, how everybody else plays is a factor and how hard the course is are all key determining factors in handicap calculation.
The handicap will be a ‘GA‘ which is a (Golf Australia) number for all of Australia (your playing handicap number will change depending on the slope (difficulty) rating for each course you choose to use it on.
Complicated to the beginner, easy once you know it !!
The handicap system is based on the potential ability of a player rather than the average of all her scores.
Here is the interesting fact. Research tells us that the average player is expected to play to her handicap only 25% of the time, and average 3 strokes higher than her course handicap. Remember your handicap is taken from your best 8 scores.
A table has been produced by the USGA that show the odds of a player with a certain handicap shooting a lower score. (see table)
For example if a player has a handicap of 11 and plays to a handicap of 4, that scenario has a probability of 1 in 1,200 of happening. A 19 handicapper shooting 5 shots better has a probability of happening 174 to 1.
The USGA has used thousands of score cards and created these tables and handicap system used all over the world to allow players of different levels to compete on an equal basis. Handicaps can be complicated but they are fair.
But remember, don’t stress about them. Focus on hitting one shot at a time. The game of golf is about a lot more than just your score. A fun day , friendships and travel adventures are all part of the game.
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