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bet is? Match play is more than alive and well at every golf course in the country. That is not to say that a pure difficulty


ranking of the holes is without merit. On the contrary, in certain forms of play (i.e., four-ball stroke play, best two net of four, Stableford points) you absolutely should receive strokes on the most difficult holes in relationship to par. Well guess what? More and more clubs





If a club has performed their job properly, the 18th hole won’t have a high ranking. Think about it, how many matches even make it to final hole?”


have developed a second ranking based solely on difficulty that they use as needed. Some have even gone so far as to place both rankings on their card. For years the best way to determine the


rankings was to analyze hundreds of hole- by-hole scores, paying special attention to the scoring averages of a low-handicapped group (0-8 for men; 0-14 for women), versus the scoring averages of a high-hand- icapped group (20-28 for men; 26-40 for women). Those holes with the widest gap in averages were the ones where a stroke was most needed. This methodology is being replaced, for the most part, by one that also includes the scores of the middle-handicappers. And for this reason alone, it deserves at- tention given that middle-handicappers make up the bulk of most memberships. Known as the regression method, it plots a point on a graph for each handicap, which results in a more reliable line (and outcome) than the one produced by the two-point, low/high methodology. I’m not going to lie, regression analysis


is not simple. But fear not. The NCGA is happy to provide you with a program that will perform the heavy lifting. Just enter the hole-by-holes scores (and the handi- cap of each golfer) and the program will provide you with a great starting point for the new rankings. And better yet, if your club utilizes the


NCGA-provided TPP program (Tourna- ment Pairings Program) and you have some existing tournaments with hole-by- hole scores, they can easily be imported into the allocation program, thereby saving you hours of data entry. Lastly, I am happy to personally review


any and all analysis a club has performed and throw my own two bits in on the rank- ings. But remember, the club has final say. So take a fresh look at your rankings!


Jim Cowan is the NCGA’s Director of Course Rating and Handicapping SPRING 2016 / NCGA.ORG / 65


PHOTO: JOANN DOST


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