Golf handicapping: What’s with the 0.96?

Aussie Golfer recently wrote a piece explaining how the new golf handicapping system will work when it is introduced in February, 2010. It’s based on the USGA model and it appears that it will more closely reflect your true handicap.

One part of the system that does stand out like a pair of John Daly’s pants is the 0.96 multiplication factor. It’s known as the “bonus for excellence” factor. I mentioned it briefly but thought I’d expand a little further. Bear with me here.

Why it’s 0.96 and not 0.95 or 0.94, I don’t know. Apparently in the US it used to be 0.86. It’s role is to balance out the small advantage a golfer with a high handicap has over a golfer with a low handicap.

A low handicapper has a smaller range of potential golf scores, agreed? Therefore the potential for a high handicapper to shoot much better than his/her handicap is greater. Multiplying a high number by 0.96 reduces the number by much more than if you would a low number. It effectively reduces a high number by more than a low number.

Let me give an example. Let’s say Bob’s plays off 3.4 and Fred plays off 19.1. Knowing that Fred has a distinct advantage in winning the competition they play in because his range of scores is greater – he’s not as consitent as Bob. By multiplying both of these numbers by 0.96, we end up with Bob decreasing to 3.2 and 18.3. Take a look at how much each golfer’s handicap has been reduced. Fred’s handicap has been reduced by much more than Bob’s.

It provides an incentive for all golfers to improve their handicap. The lower it is, the less it is effected by the “bonus for excellence” factor!

Related articles
New handicapping set for Australian golf
Australian handicapping changes
Australia adopts US course rating system
Reasons for Australia’s new course ratings
Golf handicapping: What’s with the 0.96?
New handicap system: how does it work?

5 thoughts on “Golf handicapping: What’s with the 0.96?

  • September 1, 2009 at 02:12

    Holy crap. That is a lot of math. I think I need to re-read this when I am not so tired at 10pm. Although I understand the basic idea of what you are saying.

  • September 1, 2009 at 08:47

    Yeah sorry.
    The problem is that it’s complicated!

    And to be honest, you don’t really need to know it…but a lot of people feel like they need to. Me included.

  • September 1, 2009 at 19:35

    That’s actually really interesting. Thanks for explaining that.

  • March 17, 2010 at 01:22

    It would only be complicated if you had to calculate it before each game. My understanding is that Golflink will automatically do it when you arrive at a course that is rated and hand over your Golflink card. If the course is not on Golflink then you would play off your home course handicap……….would appreciate feedback if I am incorrect

  • March 17, 2010 at 04:21

    According to Golf Australia – “The player will access their Course Handicap from an easily understood table that all clubs will be provided
    with after their course has been rated. These tables are in poster format which will
    be in a prominent position.”

    So much like in Europe when a course other than your home course. You read off what you’re handicap will be on the particular course you are playing


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