And the Good Book Says . . .

Moses and Handicaps

Here’s what the good book says . . .

The purpose of the USGA Handicap System is to make the game of golf more enjoyable by enabling players of differing abilities to compete on an equitable basis.

OK, fair enough. Most of us agree that it usually works out pretty well. However, it works well if and only if everyone plays by the rules. Otherwise, the system falls apart. The good book also makes it clear the system will work only if everyone lives up to his or her individual responsibility. In Part 1, Section 1 of the USGA Handicap System manual, it is stated:

Two basic premises underlie the USGA Handicap System, namely that each player will try to make the best score at every hole in every round, regardless of where the round is played, and that the player will post every acceptable round for peer review. The player and the player’s Handicap Committee have joint responsibility for adhering to the premises.

There you have it. The system breaks down if you don’t live up to its tenets.

To summarize the issue . . . It is YOUR responsibility to make CERTAIN your scores are posted and posted CORRECTLY. It is the Handicap Committee’s responsibility to oversee matters and make certain the system is being used correctly.

The Gainey Ranch Golf Club’s Handicap Committee is attempting to be a little more pro-active in monitoring handicaps. If your record is “reviewed”, it doesn’t mean someone thinks you’re not playing by the rules. Neither does it mean someone does think you’re playing by the rules. It simply means your record is being reviewed. The review may have been triggered by an unusually strong performance. It may be a result of a complaint. It may have come as a result a statistical flag being raised due to a combination of factors. Or it may come as a result of a random selection process. Your name may have been drawn from a hat.

The entire Board of Directors of the Men’s Golf Association is next in the hot seat. Each and every one of them will soon be reviewed. Few things would make me happier than to discover I was being reviewed as a result of performance that had been suspiciously strong, however, I fear that if I’m reviewed, the Committee will recommend increasing my handicap by a couple of sympathy strokes.

Remember to POST YOUR SCORES promptly and accurately. If the club will be posting, YOU are still responsible to make sure it has been done properly and promptly. If your “team captain” says he’ll post scores, YOU are ultimately responsible for the timeliness and accuracy of the posting. The buck stops with YOU.

Author: h. Alton Jones


5 thoughts on “And the Good Book Says . . .”

  1. Right on Howard.

    I believe the biggest culprit is the posting of “unacceptable rounds”, when each player does not “try to make the best score at every hole in every round”. Easy to do on an outing with your spouse when you may want to experiment with your swing a little.

    Maybe the MGA should consider using only “tournament scores” for tournament handicaps.


    1. Dick: I think you’ve made a good point. Part 1, Section 1 of the manual says the system is dependent upon the player attempting to make the best score on every hole. The rules are clear that “teaching rounds” are NOT to be posted. Playing rounds where two balls are played are NOT to be posted. There are various other rounds that should NOT be posted. Perhaps our members would benefit from some clarification on what rounds shouldn’t be posted. If you’re out just messing around (pun intended), it really doesn’t meet the definition of a postable round.

      Maybe Diane Coolidge would like to weigh in on this topic.


      1. The USGA is very specific about what rounds are unacceptable for posting:
        1. When fewer than 7 holes are played.
        2. When made on a golf course in an area in which an inactive season established by the authorized golf association is in effect.
        3. When the length of the course is less than 3,000 yards for 18 holes or less than 1,500 yards for 9 holes.
        4. When, as a condition of the competition, the maxinum number of clubs is less than 14 or types of clubs are limited.
        5. When scores are made on a course with no USGA Course and Slope Rating.
        6. When a player uses non-conforming clubs, non-conforming balls or non-conforming tees.
        7. When an artificial device or piece of unusual equipment is during the execution of a stroke or when equipment is used in an unusual manner during the execution of a stroke.
        Also included in this list is when you are playing 2 balls or when taking playing lessons or if the majority of holes are not played according to the priniples of the Rules of Golf.

        The USGA recommends that a USGA Handicap be used in all competitions. A “tournament handicap” is not a USGA Handicap. A big fallacy with a “Tournament Handicap” is it is based only on tournament scores, so not all members would have the same number of tournament scores in their history. Also, the GRMGA does not have enough tournament scores posted during their season. Past tournament performance is a reliable guide for any modifications.

        Gainey Ranch GC is licensed by the USGA by way of the Arizona Golf Association and the Arizone Women’s Golf Association to issue USGA handicaps to its members. Therefore, policies of Gainey Ranch GC must be consistent with the Rules of Golf and the USGA Handicap System.


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