http://www.usga.org/Handicapping/handicap-manual.html#!rule-14414
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Appendix H Method for Determining Most Improved Player
Appendix H Method for Determining Most Improved Player
The USGA recommended method for determining a club's most improved player at the end of a season or year is as follows:
Add 12* to the player's Handicap Index at the start of the season. This is value A. Add 12 to the player's Handicap Index at the end of the season. This is value B.
Divide value A by value B, calculating to three decimal places. This is the improvement factor. The player with the highest improvement factor should receive the most improved player award.
Example :
Starting Handicap Index:
22.6
Ending Handicap Index:
17.4
Value A:
22.6 + 12 = 34.6
Value B:
17.4 + 12 = 29.4
A / B:
34.6 / 29.4 = 1.177
Improvement Factor:
1.177
Continue this process for every player who improved during the year. The player with the highest improvement factor is the most improved player.
Note: Add 6* instead of 12 in the case of a nine-hole Handicap Index (N).
*The numbers 6 and 12 have been determined by the USGA as equitable in gauging the improvement of players encompassing the entire spectrum of handicaps. For example, it is relatively the same improvement factor to go from a 20.0 to a 10.0 Handicap Index (improvement factor of 1.454) as it is to go from a 5.0 to a scratch, or zero Handicap Index (improvement factor of 1.416), yet the change in Handicap Index is "10" (20 - 10) versus "5" (5 - 0) strokes. The numbers of 6 and 12 take into consideration the level of a player's improvement rather than the net change in Handicap Index.