Handicap Question

October 21, 2008

Golf Digest reader Donald G. Klein was one of the first to reply to  Editor Jerry Tarde's request for suggestions and story ideas. Klein wants stories on handicapping, specifically on one question: Why do high handicappers always seem to win net events?

__As a member of a private country club  and a longtime golf committee member, we are always faced with various handicapping issues. For example, when there is a net handicap tournament, I have observed through over thirty five years of observation, the handicapper with a higher handicap will always win the net prize.  The poor handicapper with a high single digit never wins.  They also never win the gross prize either. A golf pro once told me that the purpose of the handicap should be to bring all golfers to a par basis.  There needs to be a scientific approach to finding the right formula for equalization of handicaps in tournaments. I would like to see golf magazines do research, or report on research that may have been done and provide readers with more ideas for tournament scoring, various different types of tournaments etc. that can be played.  __

Thank you for your seeking ideas from your readers.

Thanks for the good story idea. So you don't have to wait for the story, we asked Dean Knuth, our professional advisor who is former senior director of handicapping at the USGA to give you his take. Here's Knuth:

__Although it may appear that high handicap players win net events most often, it really is because about 60% of golfers are in the handicap range of 13 to 19, so a golfer from the majority most likely will win good percentage of the time just by sampling probabilities. However, there is a "Bonus for Excellence" built into the USGA Handicap System formula, so that lower handicap players do have an advantage--But, there just aren't as many of them, so they often don't win frequently. __

__If a club finds that certain individuals win more than their fair share, then you might want to look at the > Knuth Tournament Point System. It is a widely-used system that reduces the tournament handicaps of players that win or finish high too frequently.>


--Bob Carney