Australian golf handicap system to be fine-tuned

The USGA handicapping system introduced to Australian golf will be fine-tuned after Golf Australia consulted with Australian golf officials and the USGA.

Over the past year there has been one topic of conversation at every golf club in Australia that has created a huge amount of talk, the new handicapping system. Generally the new system has been well received but as Peter Senior once said, “opinions are like arseholes, everyone’s got one”.

Golf Australia has been aware of the controversy and will make an announcement in May outlining a new plan for the Australian Handicap system.

Key points to be updated are as follows:

  • An adjustment to the best 10 of 20 scores method of calculating handicaps will be addressed. (Note: A best 20 of 40 scores system has been proposed although this has not been favoured at this point in time).
  • The Slope Indexing System will be introduced.
  • All stroke rounds will be converted to stableford scores for handicapping purposes.
A survey has been sent to clubs and golf associations today which will provide feedback on two more points which will be addressed if needed.
  • The current course rating method does not allow changes due to daily conditions. This will be investigated and potentially adjusted.
  • A proposal to include SOME non-competition rounds for handicapping has been put forward. This may mean each club can implement the system at its own disgression but no changes will be made until feedback has been obtained from clubs via a survey released today.
Why the changes?
Australian club administered club competitions are unusual compared with the rest of the world. Not only do we have many more club competitions that anywhere else in the world, frequently field sizes are in excess of 100.
A comprehensive statistical analysis was undertaken by Golf Australia looking at over 27,000 competition rounds of 400,000 golfers and they found that under new system low handicappers are disadvantaged in club competitions.
Further, the old handicap system involved a daily course rating (CCR) which was calculated on the scores for the day and varied depending on  course conditions. A daily change to the course rating is not included in the current system which has caused some concern.
A full executive summary report of the statistical analysis is available at the Golf Australia website as well as the today’s handicapping update memo.

7 thoughts on “Australian golf handicap system to be fine-tuned

  • April 29, 2011 at 01:33
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    I have seen many low handicappers in the 2-4 range go down to scratch or even plus marks with the new system. While good for the ego it is not helpful in club comps. Hopefully changes will address this.

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  • April 29, 2011 at 02:12
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    So this system is unfair to low handicap players, just as the old system was unfair to high handicap players in competitions, yet we have to change again to keep them happy, as for the daily course rating I have never been a fan and the old system for this was farcical.

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  • April 29, 2011 at 05:30
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    Congrats to AGU etc for statistical analysis with a look to fine tuning so our system is World’s Best Practice! Trying to make our wonderful game fairer for all is so important. Sure I have come from 9 down to 5 but much of that is practice & better mental application as really forced to play better to compete with some unbelievable occasional scores but this will happen under any system! Keep working for us AGU, good onya!

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  • April 29, 2011 at 05:34
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    I think I’m slowly coming round to the opinion that it is best to keep the high handicappers happy as they are more likely to give up the game.

    I’m a fan of Graded competition prizes only too.

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  • May 3, 2011 at 08:13
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    In this case the A graders are the vocal minority and the C graders are the silent majority.

    The high handicappers make up the bulk of the golfers playing golf so I think it is fair that they should be looked after and kept happy otherwise they will walk away from the game and go play lawn bowls or tennis.

    So if the C graders think they have a better chance to win in a comp that should encourage them to play in more comps and also to practice. An A grader will play as often as they can regardless and is not going to give up golf because a C grader has a statistical advantage.

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  • May 4, 2011 at 03:06
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    I like the new system. Tinkering with the .96 factor will produce the desired result without wholesale changes. Drop it to .90 and higher handicaps will change slightly more than lower handicaps.

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  • November 24, 2012 at 13:17
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    why is it that you can not gain any more than 4 shots from your anchor but can lose twice as much in one go??/

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