It hasn’t been without controversy, but the MGA Board of Directors has elected to follow USGA guidelines in the upcoming Member/Member tournament. Some members rejoice while others recoil in anger. But the undeniable fact is that the application of the USGA recommended “handicap allowances” to the teams playing in the tournament makes the format a fair format rather than one that is skewed toward the higher handicap players. It doesn’t put high handicappers at a disadvantage. It merely removes their unfair advantage.
In a nutshell, the USGA has spent countless thousands of dollars and innumerable hours researching the matter. They have solidly recommended that in cases where two-man teams compete using the best of the two balls, the field is not level unless a 90% allowance of all player’s handicaps is used. Nearly every golf club in the nation uses the USGA recommendation when playing a best ball format tournament. The Gainey Ranch Golf Club Handicap Committee recommends the use of the allowance. Numerous authors in golf journals and other publications say use the allowance. Anyone with a strong mathematics background will recognize and understand the need to use allowance in these situations.
However, a few either don’t understand it or don’t believe it for some other reason and feel it is unfair. Quite the contrary, it is unfair only if it is not used. (I guess it’s also possible some of the nabobs fully understand the matter and just resist giving up their unfair advantage, but I doubt it.)
For those of you masochists that would like to punish your senses with a highly simplified version of the mathematics associated with adopting the USGA policy, a copy of the Handicap Committee’s recommendation to the MGA Board is available here. Some have found that reading this document also helps cure insomnia. It has also been said that it looks sufficiently “official” that it can help someone delay routine household chores for at least a short time.
When the dust settles, most MGA members will undoubtedly realize that the most lucrative tournament of the year will now be played on a level playing field. I encourage some of you that have not played in the past to reconsider this year. It promises to be a great tournament, but more importantly, you’ll stand on the first tee and know that your chances are better than ever.
Kudos to Dave Inman and the MGA Board for taking a firm stand on fair play.