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Unsportsmanlike Conduct – Part II

Last issue I delved into the subject of what to do about the 500-pound gorilla

in the room. That is, the “problem” golfer at the club who makes life miserable for the handicap and tournament committee by maintaining a handicap that is clearly too high for his or her ability.

such handicapping “discon- nects” are the result of low scores not being posted, penalty scores were offered up as a swift, simple and decisive solution. Based on the reaction


and feedback, the column obviously struck a chord with many clubs as they contacted me to share their own horror stories of score- posting abuse. Many of the stories I

have heard before. Every- thing from the old “posting a crummy Sunday score before a Monday deadline but somehow waiting until Tuesday to post that really good Saturday round” ruse, to the “I thought my (fi ll in the blank—buddy, wife, Pro, etc.) posted the score for me” routine. Other clubs called to

share their stories. “We cross-reference

our daily tee sheet with the scores posted for the day. Violators are identifi ed and prosecuted.” “We have even experi- enced other situations such as a member deciding to post today’s score and then

By Jim Cowan Director of

Course Rating & Handicapping


ubscribing to the opin- ion that the majority of

posting a second, third or fourth score with dates from three weeks ago.” Different situations

Northern California Golf Association 3200 Lopez Road Pebble Beach, CA 93953 (831) 625-4653

require different courses of action. And as much as I am an advocate for penalty scores, sometimes they do not go far enough. Which leads us to the top of the food chain in penalty actions. . .Handicap Index Modifi cation and/ or Withdrawal. That is, stepping in and assigning a Handicap Index to a golfer or revoking the Handicap Index of a golfer. The Handicap Sys- tem cites several instances in which such draconian measures are necessary. To me, the big four are: 1) consistently scoring lower in tournaments than other rounds; 2) deliberately tak- ing extra strokes to infl ate a score (e.g., my partner secured a par for the team, oops I just three-putted from four feet); 3) reporting more strokes than actually scored (e.g., shooting a 77 and posting it as an 86); and 4) posting fi ctitious scores. Let’s break each one

down. There are certain laws of

handicapping that cannot be disputed. One is that, on average, a golfer only plays to his handicap around once every fi ve rounds (arrange your 20 rounds in order of differential; typically only

of a doubt that a golfer is padding his scores is not always easy. For- tunately, circum- stantial evidence (e.g., a clear and historic pattern of partners “ham and egging it”) and consistent high tournament fi nishes are suf- fi cient to justify modifi cation of the handicaps of the partners in crime. Lastly, I am

The NCGA Handicap Manual Effective 2012-2015

four will be lower than the Handicap Index issued). On average, golfers actually score two to three strokes above their handicaps. So if you have golfers at your club with a tournament batting average far exceeding .200 (and/or scoring far bet- ter than designed), alarms should be sounding and you should consider taking ac- tion to modify the handicap to a level where the tourna- ments scores fi t the “one in fi ve/two to three strokes above” norms. In the second instance, proving beyond a shadow

just going to lump the third and fourth ex- amples together. Do they re- ally require an explanation?

No golfer has a “right” to a Handicap Index, it must be earned. And any golfer caught red-handed posting higher scores than actually recorded or fl at-out making up scores forfeits any claim to a handicap. By all means, their handicap should be withdrawn (they should be issued a “WD”). And good luck trying to play in a tournament with letters for a handicap, instead of numbers! Next issue we will

examine innovative tools at a club’s disposal to examine tournament scores.

SPRING 2012 / NCGA.ORG / 69

The NCGA Handicap Manual

Effective 2012-2015

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