Editors' Blog
July 03, 2008

Handicap Adjustment for Tees

Golf Digest reader Dwight Morgan of Saphhire, N.C. writes with a question that comes up often among my playing partners, especially when they include women.

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Thank you for the article > "What is a 10 Handicapper?" in the June, 2008 issue - it clarifies many elements of the handicapping system.>

There is one circumstance for which additional clarification would be helpful--that is when there is competition with players using different tees. Individual players have handicaps established from the tees which they regularly play. For illustration, consider the following example:>

Player "A" plays from the White tees, rated 67.1/119. Player "B" plays from the Gold tees, rated 63.9/110.>

When there is 'inter-tee' competition, should there be an adjustment of handicaps in consideration of the difference in Course Rating and/or Slope? If so, how should the adjustment be implemented? Lastly, where would one find documented guidelines for this adjustment?>

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Indeed, Dwight, there is an adjustment. In the case above, there is a difference of slightly more than three strokes in the course ratings. Therefore, the procedure is: Each player first converts his or her Handicap Index to a course handicap, based on the rating of the tees they are playing. Let's say the two players above, playing from different tees, are both 14-handicaps. The player on the tougher course would then get additional strokes based on the difference in the course ratings; in this case, three strokes. Therefore, Player "A" on the White course above, would receive three shots from player "B" on the Gold course. The USGA web site's Handicapping section has several pages devoted to this issue.

--Bob Carney