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.

Big Brother is Golfing

With human nature being what it is, everyone forgets to post a score from time-to-time. With a periodic lapse of memory, no one can be accused of malice or deceit. However, these lapses should tend to follow the fundamental laws of statistics. Scores above a handicap shouldn’t have a higher probability of being posted than those substantially below.

The computer program we’ve been using to record and analyze scores, calculate match results, skins, etc. continues to evolve into an increasingly powerful tool. It now has the capability to match scores with those recorded via the GHIN system for handicap calculations.

The program has been endowed with a set of statistical triggers that suggest postings may not be as reliable as they should be. It then compares postings made in the GHIN system to those recorded through the MGA. If there is a statistically significant difference in those scores, you may have scores posted in your behalf through the GHIN system and your official handicap will reflect those postings.

If you discover your handicap has changed unexpectedly, you may have had your missing posts entered. It doesn’t mean you’re a crook, a cheat, a bandit. It doesn’t suggest your mother doesn’t love you or that you’re a candidate for the next remake of “The Monster from the Black Lagoon”. It doesn’t mean you’re ugly, odiferous, or cranially challenged.

It does suggest you should perhaps pay closer attention to the scores that are and are not posted. It’s not nice to fool Mother Nature and it’s not nice to carry a handicap that doesn’t truly reflect your recent golf performance.