Monday’s Experiment in Golf

mad_scientistA dozen golfers competed in a laboratory of golf handicapping Monday. The mad scientist putting the match together argued that

  • if the golf handicapping system has validity and
  • if the courses are properly rated and
  • if handicaps are reasonable and fair,

Then it shouldn’t make a difference which set of tees the individual players used in the match.

Each individual was allowed to select any rated set of tees from which to participate. The only conditions were that once selected, the entire round had to be played from those tees and if you selected a set of tees that was rated only for women (the red tees), you had to play the round in a mini-skirt and lace panties. Bruce Partridge was the only golfer who selected the red tees. He found a mini-skirt to wear, but fortunately for the other golfers, his lace panties were still in the laundry. He dropped back to the gold tees when he couldn’t find other panties that fit.

The results of the experiment tended to confirm the validity of the USGA Handicap System and the way it rates courses.

There was a first place team on the front nine and a first place team on the back side. There were skins, both gross and net. What would you expect? Did anyone have an unfair edge? The results may surprise you.

  • First place – front nine: Jim Mantle (green) and Scott Hull (white)
  • First place – back nine: Howard Jones (gold) and Tom Hansen (white)
  • Skins: Marwan Jalili (green), Jim Mantle (3) (green), Scott Hull (white), Gary Reibman (gold), Tom Hansen (2) (white), Mike Forde (green)

Walkup’s First Law of Statistics is “Everything correlates with everything else.” The question is causation. Just because one thing follows another doesn’t necessarily mean that one thing causes the other. However, in this case, I’m not sure how to establish causation when there appears to be no correlation whatsoever. Admittedly, twelve golfers don’t make up a substantial enough sample size to prove anything beyond a shadow of a doubt, but on the basis of Monday’s results, the USGA system seems to work pretty well.

In some tournaments, we allow golfers whose handicaps and age added together total 90 to play from the forward tees. Monday’s experiment tends to suggest golfers should be able to play from whatever tees they like. They can select tee color solely to match their outfits or eye color. The USGA Handicap System is designed to level the playing field. It clearly worked here. However, further testing is required on the “lace panties” theory. I’ll keep you up-to-date.

Author: h. Alton Jones


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