HANDICAPPING
Handicapping The Unhandicapped

The USGA Handicap System™ is well recognized and widely accepted by golf clubs throughout the country. However, this Handicap System is based on a player's most recent series of scores, and therein lies a problem that plagues many tournament committees, particularly those who organize convention and resort events. Not everyone who wants to play golf has a Handicap Index®.

How should a Committee determine a fair handicap or allowance for novice or occasional players who do not have a Handicap Index? How can a Committee give everyone a chance to win net prizes at the annual company tournament?

The questions are good ones because the concept of a one-round handicap is deceptive. Why? Because the information gained from a single round of golf is not sufficient to evaluate any player. Any one score could be at least 10 strokes different from a player's true golf handicap. When a player who has no score history shoots 100 there is no way to determine whether that score was a poor round of a good player or a good round of a weak player.

That's why there is no substitute for score history, which is the basis of the USGA Handicap System. It's ideally based on the best 10 Handicap Differentials from a player's last 20 scores.

A Handicap Differential™ is determined by subtracting the USGA Course Rating™ from the adjusted gross score, then multiplying the resulting value by 113, then dividing this result by the corresponding Slope Rating® and rounding off to the nearest tenth.

When not everyone has a Handicap Index, here are four ideas to help handicap the unhandicapped:

Second Best Score System

The USGA has developed a simple estimator of a player's ability called "Second Best Score System" or "Second Best Handicap" for short. Second Best Handicap is not a substitute for the USGA Handicap System, but it can produce acceptable results and is a reasonable system for handicapping the otherwise "unhandicapped."

To create a player's Second Best Handicap, the Tournament Committee simply asks each unhandicapped player to submit that player’s three best scores made on a course with par of 68 or more in the last 12 months. Combine these scores with any previous scores that the player has made in your tournament in the past two years.

The player's Second Best Handicap is the second best score the player has given you minus 70 for men or 73 for women.

For example, if a male player submits scores of 92, 96 and 98 and he had scored 90 in your tournament last year, his Second Best Handicap would be 92 (second best score) minus 70 (for men).

There is a special qualification for beginners or players who can submit only one score. Subtract 74 from that score for a man's Second Best Handicap, or subtract 77 for a woman's Second Best Handicap.

If necessary, nine-hole scores can be combined to produce an 18-hole score.

If a player has never played, the Second Best Handicap is not appropriate. The Committee should assign a maximum of 36 strokes for men, or 40 for women. Some allow a maximum of 50 strokes, which generally gives three strokes on each hole except for par-3 holes.
 

Modified Peoria System

Another alternative is to use a hole score selection system, often called the "Peoria System." Under this system, a player learns their handicap after the round is completed. The Committee secretly selects a par-3 hole, a par-5 hole and four par-4 holes from an 18-hole course. The par-4s should be representative in length and difficulty with two chosen from the front nine and two from the back nine.

A modified Peoria handicap then is calculated by adding the player's strokes over par on the six selected holes, and multiplying that number by 2.8. This will be the player's allowance to be deducted from the gross score. The maximum hole score for allowance purposes is three over par on par-3s and 4s, and four over par on par-5s.

Example: A player scores 98 for a round. The player is 11 over par on the six selected holes.

11 x 2.8 = 30.8 = 31 allowance
Net score is 98 - 31 = 67
 

The "Official Callaway System"
1957 Lionel F. Callaway

The Callaway System is a so-called "one-round" system or "worst-holes system" that compresses the spread of gross scores when converted to net scores. It produces a result such that the player with the lowest gross score almost always becomes the low net score winner. Most players with higher gross scores end up with net scores within a few strokes of the winner so that most players can feel competitive.

By the Callaway System, a player's allowance is determined after each round by deducting the scores of the worst individual holes during the first 16 holes. The table shows the number of "worst hole" scores the player may deduct and the adjustment to be made, based on the player’s gross score.

For example, if the player’s gross score for 18 holes is 96, the player turns to the table and opposite that score finds that the player may deduct the total for the three worst holes scored on holes 1 through 16. Thus, if the player has one 9, one 8, and a 7, the player’s deduction totals 24. Further adjustment is then made according to the table below each column. For the sample score of 96, the deduction is reduced by 2 strokes, resulting in a final allowance of 22. Thus 96 minus an allowance of 22 equals a net score of 74.

Score

   

           Deduct*

--

--

70

71

72

   

no holes and adjustment

73

74

75

--

--

   

1/2 worst hole and adjustment

76

77

78

79

80

   

1 worst hole and adjustment

81

82

83

84

85

   

1-1/2 worst holes and adjustment

86

87

88

89

90

   

2 worst holes and adjustment

91

92

93

94

95

   

2-1/2 worst holes and adjustment

96

97

98

99

100

   

3 worst holes and adjustment

101

102

103

104

105

   

3-1/2 worst holes and adjustment

106

107

108

109

110

   

4 worst holes and adjustment

111

112

113

114

115

   

4-1/2 worst holes and adjustment

116

117

118

119

120

   

5 worst holes and adjustment

121

122

123

124

125

   

5-1/2 worst holes and adjustment

126

127

128

129

130

   

6 worst holes and adjustment

Adjustment to Deduction

     

-2

-1

0

+1

+2

   

 *Maximum deduction -50

Scheid System
1988 United States Golf Association

The Scheid System operates in a manner similar to that of the Callaway System. Under both Systems the gross score is reduced by subtracting the amount of “worst hole” scores on holes 1-16 only. The Scheid System allows for players to have a wider range of scores. 

Score

   

     Deduct

--

--

72

73

--

--

--

   

no holes and adjustment

--

74

75

76

--

--

--

   

1/2 worst hole and adjustment

--

77

78

79

--

--

--

   

1 worst hole and adjustment

--

80

81

82

83

--

--

   

1-1/2 worst holes and adjustment

--

84

85

86

87

--

--

   

2 worst holes and adjustment

--

88

89

90

91

--

--

   

2-1/2 worst holes and adjustment

--

92

93

94

95

--

--

   

3 worst holes and adjustment

--

96

97

98

99

--

--

   

3-1/2 worst holes and adjustment

100

101

102

103

104

--

--

   

4 worst holes and adjustment

105

106

107

108

109

--

--

   

4-1/2 worst holes and adjustment

110

111

112

113

114

--

--

   

5 worst holes and adjustment

115

116

117

118

119

120

--

   

5-1/2 worst holes and adjustment

121

122

123

124

125

126

--

   

6 worst holes and adjustment

127

128

129

130

131

132

--

   

6-1/2 worst holes and adjustment

133

134

135

136

137

138

--

   

7 worst holes and adjustment

139

140

141

142

143

144

--

   

7-1/2 worst holes and adjustment

145

146

147

148

149

150

151

   

8 worst holes and adjustment

Adjustment to Deduction

   

 

-3

-2

-1

0

+1

+2

+3

   

 


Notes:  Callaway and Scheid Systems

1. No hole may be scored at more than twice its par.

2. Half strokes count as whole.

3. The 17th and 18th holes are never deducted.

4. In case of ties in net score, the lowest gross score takes preference.

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