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Handicapping A Mixed Event At Your Club

Posted: 10/11/2012

How are the Course and Slope Rating adjusted for a mixed couples competition?

The USGA receives inquiries each year regarding whether the Section 3-5 adjustment is still made in a mixed-team competition. The answer, of course, is yes. Section 3-5 is mandatory for any competition in which players are competing against one another from a different Course Rating.

Since there is generally a different Course Rating for men and women, an additional adjustment must be applied to allow all players to compete equitably. To this end, the rounded difference in the Course Rating between the two sets of tees is added to the Course Handicap of the player(s) competing from the higher rated set of tees.

Another question frequently asked is does one need to make the adjustment if all teams are comprised of the men playing one set of tees and the women playing one set of tees.  Once again, the answer is yes.  It does not matter if the makeup of each team is identical (man and woman vs. man and woman), the adjustment must be applied.

Let's go through an example.  Perhaps the easiest way to see the need for the adjustment is if you consider the low Course Handicap player on each team.  Assume that the team uses the low Course Handicap player’s ball for the team score on the holes allocated 1-9 and the high Course Handicap player’s ball on the holes allocated 10-18.

Men's Course Rating: 72.0

Women's Course Rating: 76.0

Assume par 72 for both genders and each player plays to his/her Course Handicap.

The low Course Handicap on Team A is a woman with a Course Handicap of five. Assume the low Course Handicap on Team B is a man with a Course Handicap of five.

The woman's target score is 76 + 5 = 81 (Course Rating + Course Handicap). She’ll make nine bogeys on the holes ranked 1-9 and 9 pars on the holes ranked 10-18. Her score will count on the holes ranked 1-9.

The man's target score is 72 + 5 = 77 (Course Rating + Course Handicap). He'll make five bogeys on the holes ranked 1-5 and pars on the rest. With his strokes, he'll have a net par on every hole.

The woman will make net par on the holes ranked 1-5, but net bogey on the holes ranked 6-9. If you make the required adjustment and give her the four extra strokes equal to the difference in the Course Rating, her net scores will equal her male counterpart.

If the 3-5 adjustment is not made, a team will be at a disadvantage if the lower handicap player is playing from tees with the higher Course Rating.

Additionally, the number of holes contributed toward team score will be unfairly skewed toward the gender that has the lower Course Rating.

In conclusion, the adjustment for the difference in the Course Rating is mandatory for any competition in which players are competing against one another from a different Course Rating.

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