Rat Fink 101 – A Short Course on Peer Review

USGA-1The entire USGA Handicap System is predicated on the concept of “peer review”. This is a euphemistic term that loosely translates into “checking on that S.O.B. to make sure he’s posting his scores correctly.” Historically, “peer review” has been done by checking the posting sheet in the locker room or wherever your club hangs it. This can be problematic because the S.O.B. may not post until the following day or maybe a week later. It may also be difficult if the club picks up the sheet every day to make entries into the handicap system. And of course, it’s hopeless in cases where the S.O.B. plays a foreign course and posts six 95’s accidentally.

With the advent of electricity (thanks to Ben Franklin), we now have computers. You can get on and double-check the postings of not only that S.O.B., but even honest, nice guys like myself. Not only “can you”, it’s your responsibility. It called “peer review”. Admittedly, it can still be difficult when the S.O.B. spends part of the year in Canada or Europe where the exchangeability of data between the USGA’s “ghin” system and their barbaric, underdeveloped handicap posting systems run in a dank, dark room with a computer driven by a hand-crank (do they have electricity in Canada?). But in the enlightened world, it can be done from the comfort of your home with a good, peety scotch in hand.

All that is required is (1) a computer with internet access and (2) a peety scotch, preferably Lagavulin or a good Laphroig.

In the address bar of your web browser, type the following web address: http://www.azgolf.org and press the “enter” key. If you don’t know your User ID and password, check with someone in the pro-shop or ask a kid under 13 to get it for you. Enter your login information.USGA-0

Presto! You will see a screen that shows your handicap card and your twenty most recent scores. (Check them for accuracy; you may be a crook.) You will also see a menu. One of the choices is “Handicap Lookup”. Select it. You’ll notice three tabs; “Single Golfer”, “Name and State”, and “Multi-Player”. I selected “Name and State” and put my own name in. I got a screen showing all of my “revision scores”, i.e., those scores that were used to calculate my current handicap. Selecting the “Recent Scores” tab allows me to see those most recent scores that will be counted toward my handicap calculation on the next update.USGA-3

You’re almost a real gumshoe at this point, but you’ll notice there is a problem. All of the scores for any given month show the same date – 8/13 for August. Obviously, I didn’t play ten rounds of golf on the 13th of the month. As it happens, the USGA doesn’t want you to know the actual dates of play when you look up a golfer by name. I’m led to believe they’re afraid you’ll be able to use this tool to tract the movements of that S.O.B and find out he wasn’t actually playing golf last Thursday, but in reality was doing push-ups in the pickle patch with another golfer’s wife. “Hear no evil, see no evil” comes to mind here. I’m not sure what happened to the “Do no evil.”

There’s a simple solution. Select “Single Golfer” and enter the golfer’s “ghin Number”. You’ll see the information presented becomes a little more detailed and includes the actual date of play. How do you get a golfer’s “ghin number”? Ask him. Or go to the computer in the pro-shop and look it up.USGA-4

When you engage in such activities, you’re not a snoop; you’re doing the job the USGA says you should be doing. If you see something blatantly suspicious, report it to the Gainey Ranch Handicap Committee. They’ll love it that you’re not only doing your job, you’re doing theirs as well.

So . . . you think that S.O.B. is winning too many tournaments? Get off your keister and check on his handicap. You’ve got the tools and it’s your job. Go after it. As far as figuring out who’s doing push-ups in the pickle patch and with whom, that’s a more advanced topic and it’s not addressed until “Rat Fink 201”. Enroll early, the course fills up fast.

Author: h. Alton Jones

writer/scientist/adventurer

2 thoughts on “Rat Fink 101 – A Short Course on Peer Review”

  1. How many S. O. B.’s are you tracking? Has the current handicap committee been discussed at any board meetings re: performance in relation to responsibility in identifying and adjusting member handicap irregularities?

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