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Handicapping by Jim Cowan


MOVING TOWARD GALACTIC HANDICAP


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s most Handicap Chairmen are aware, updates to the USGA Handicap System occur every four years. Typically the chang-


es are minor and represent little more than refinements and/or clarifications on long-established policies. 2016 is such a year of change, but this time there is a slight twist. Rather than the customary four-year shelf life, the 2016 System will enjoy a mere two-year lifespan. Why the brevity of this cycle? To allow for the debut of a World Handicap System in 2018. All-in-all, the changes for 2016


are not earth-shattering (like a Death Star), but certainly worthy of review, highlighted by the following:


Par Wars • The definition of par has been


tweaked to make it clear that it repre- sents the standard for a male or female Scratch golfer. You would be surprised at the number of individuals and clubs that cannot wrap their head around this concept and want to insist that concessions should be made to account for shorter and/or older golfers playing from lesser tees. That the hole that plays 520 yards from Blue and 485 from White, ought to retain its par-five status from the 430-yard Gold tee on the basis that those that frequent this tee cannot reach the green in two. That is immaterial. The question that needs to be asked is “how would


62 / NCGA.ORG / WINTER 2016


It’s a new year and a new episode of the Handicap System is upon us. Most golfers are vaguely aware


the hole play for a Scratch golfer from those shorter tees? This definition makes it clear that the hole is a par 4 for men from Gold.


There is No “I” in Score Type (But There are Two in Jedi Knight) • Scores posted via the Internet will


no longer be identified with the letter “I.” When internet score posting was


introduced years ago, many doomsay- ers predicted the end of the world (again, think Death Star). Sandbag- gers, it was said, would now enjoy the ability to inflate their handicaps from the convenience of their own home or office. Never mind that a golfer so inclined could post bogus scores on any computer at any golf course in Northern California, this was differ- ent and this was bad. Well guess what? The


internet has become an integral part of daily life, and reports of internet score post- ing abuse have been few and far between. In the end, the USGA has


recognized that internet score posting is a means of posting, not a score type in and of itself (like Home, Away, Tournament, etc.).


To “T,” or Not to “T” (Reserve the T You Will) • The definition of a Tournament


Score has been amended to make it clearer that the T should be reserved for significant events only.


Headed out for an evening nine by yourself? This score is no longer postable.


that T-scores have the potential to carry more weight than non-T-scores in the calculations. Handicap Commit- tees certainly have greater insight into T-scores and their impact, but all too often they make the wookie mistake of reasoning that “if a few T-scores are a good thing, a lot of T-scores must be better.”


That simply isn’t true. Too many T-scores actually dilutes the ability of


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