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Competing From More Than Two Sets of Tees

Posted: 7/23/2014

How Does The Section 3-5/9-3c Adjustment Work When Players Compete From More Than Two Sets Of Tees?

 

A commonly misinterpreted topic of the USGA Handicap System™ is the adjustment that must be made when players compete from a different USGA Course Rating™. It is important to know that a player does not establish a Handicap Index® from a particular set of tees. A Handicap Index is based on a standard calculation, and it is meant to travel with a player from course to course. A Handicap Index must first be converted to a Course Handicap™ based on the Slope Rating® of the tees being played.

The definition of a Course Handicap is also critical to understanding Section 3-5/9-3c – it represents the number of strokes needed from a specific set of tees to play to that tee’s USGA Course Rating. It is not the number of strokes needed to reach par.

If players are competing from a different USGA Course Rating, they are playing to different benchmarks and the full difference must be accounted for in order to have all players on a level playing field. This is accomplished by determining the rounded USGA Course Rating difference, and adding that figure to the Course Handicap of the player(s) competing from the higher-rated set of tees. As an alternative, the difference may be deducted from the Course Handicap of the player(s) competing from the lower-rated tees, as the overall effect will be the same (see Decision 3-5/1).

It has become common in net competitions to have players competing from more than two sets of tees. A Course Handicap adjustment must be made for the USGA Course Rating difference among the tees, and there are three options to consider. The USGA® recommends either starting from the lowest rated set of tees and adding Course Handicap strokes to players competing from the higher rated sets of tees, or starting from the highest rated set of tees and deducting Course Handicap strokes from players competing from the lower rated sets of tees. The third alternative is to set the baseline at the middle, and add to the Course Handicap of players competing from the higher rated sets of tees and deduct from the Course Handicap of the players competing from the lower rated sets of tees. The key is selecting a baseline and adjusting from there.  Below is an example:

Player A is competing from the Blue tees (USGA Course Rating of 71.0), Player B is competing from the White tees (69.0), and Player C is competing from the Gold tees (67.0). 

Option 1

Add four strokes to Player A’s Course Handicap calculated from the Blue tees, add two strokes to Player B’s Course Handicap calculated from the White tees, and make no adjustment to Player C’s Course Handicap calculated from the Gold tees. 

Option 2

Make no adjustment to Player A’s Course Handicap calculated from the Blue tees, deduct two strokes from Player B’s Course Handicap from the White tees, and deduct four strokes from Player C’s Course Handicap calculated from the Gold tees.

Option 3

Add two strokes to Player A’s Course Handicap calculated from the Blue tees, make no adjustment to Player B’s Course Handicap calculated from the White tees, and deduct two strokes from Player C’s Course Handicap calculated from the Gold tees.

Please visit Section 3-5 and 9-3c of The USGA Handicap System for further reference.

 

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