Golf Australia have been monitoring the new handicapping system and it seems golfers with low handicaps are worse off.
The introduction of the new handicapping system to Australia has brought with it a huge amount of controversy. As with any changes in golf there will always objections but Golf Australia have made sure they have a good, factual idea of what effect the new system has had on club competition golf.
A statistical analysis of all club competitions was undertaken since the implementation of the USGA method was introduced. The most interesting finding was that low markers are disadvantaged when it comes to winning club competitions.
- The scores required to win competitions, or to win prizes (eg balls) in competitions, vary depending on the field size.
- Under the New System, the low marker finds it harder to compete as the field size increases. Under the New System, the field size value at which a low marker is disadvantaged is about 50 for men, and 100 for women. Low markers do still compete and are winning competitions in very high field sizes, but as the field size increases the bias becomes more and more unfavourable for the low markers and favourable for the high markers.
- Under the New System the most frequent winning score for field sizes of between 6 and 10 is 37 points. As the field size increases this steadily rises to 43 points.
- Under the Old System, there was a significant advantage to the low markers, which actually grew with field size.
- Under the Old System, the high markers were disadvantaged so they won far fewer competitions than their representation in the field. Many of them were chronically playing at handicap levels far in excess of their playing handicaps. Essentially this was due to the uneven way that differentials were applied. Handicaps for high markers only “eased out” by 0.1 stroke for a poor round, no matter how poor, but they were tightened far more quickly if the player had the occasional good round.
This information has lead Golf Australia to believe some fine-tuning of the current handicapping method should be implemented. Look out for these changes in the coming months.