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08/11/2010: "What About This "Stroke Adjustment" When Playing Mixed Tees?"

In another entry in this Weblog, there is a discussion about "Mixed-tee Competition and Handicap Stroke Adjustment". I think the topic of "Stroke Adjustment" might deserve its own entry -- so, I add this one. I may not explain the process exactly -- but, here goes:

A few years ago, the concept of adjusting handicaps for players as key part of any net play competition. Note that I say: Net play. There is not need to adjust when playing a "normal" round of golf; the USGA Handicap approach takes care of things for you when you enter your score into a USGA-Handicap application.

So - We are talking here about Net play competitions. Not Stableford (played mostly outside North America), not Stroke play, not "anything" your foursome may play. Each competion has a "Tournament Committee" (perhaps a single player in a foursome who is negotiating the day's play for the group!). What stroke adjustment non-Net play competitions make is outside of this discussion.

I am going to comment, below, as if I "fully understand" the USGA recommendation that came about. Naturally, for a better explaination, visit the USGA Website.

Here goes -

First: Yes -- Adjust! It makes the competition "more fair" for all competitors.

Secondly: The topic is only appropriate if players in the competition (any age, gender, ability) are playing from different tees. If all are playing from the same tee: No need to adjust.

Thirdly: Yes -- Adjust off-of the current handicap from the tee you are playing on during the day of the Net play competiton. This means: If you are playing today from the "White" tee, use your White tee handicap to adjust. If you are playing from the "Forward" tee, use your Forward tee handicap to adjust. If you are playing from the "Back" tee, use your Back tee handicap to adjust. Except........... See the next comment:

Fourthly: Naturally, every tee's handicap cannot be adjusted.... There needs to be some "base" tee that is used for adjustment. Let's say that the tournament committee uses the "Blue" tee as the base: Then the Blue tee players do NOT adjust.

What is the adjustment? Normally, the committee follows the USGA recommendation to adjust as per the difference in the course ratings for the various tees (again: One of the tees is chosen as a base value -- and, players from that tee do NOT adjust).

For example: Let's say that Blue Tee is the "base" for the day's competition and the course ratings are as follows:

Gold 73.8
Blue 71.2 (Men) 78.0 (Ladies)
White 69.2 (Men) 75.8 (Ladies)
Red 65.8 (Men) 71.2 (Ladies)
Black 63.1 (Men) 68.1 (Ladies)

Juniors? The committee will decide.

To adjust your handicap for the day's competion, just adjust off of the above Blue values for your gender. For example, for Men, if you are playing from the White tee, the difference is 71.2-69.2 = 2.0 That means, you take two strokes off of your White tee handicap and the Blue tee player does NOT adjust.

Why, off of your White tee handicap and not off of your Blue tee handicap? The easiest way for me to explain is: On any given day the Blue player, if he/she moved up, would (probably) score "better" from the White tee than simply the difference of the course rating. In my own example, for instance, when I play from the Blue I typically score 80-to-82. However, if I move "up" to the White I would expect to score better than simply two strokes. That's why I am asked to take the difference off of my White tee handicap and not my Blue.

So - if you have a discussion with "Why should you not adjust off the Blue": Ask yourself what score you would expect on a given day to score from a particular tee... and I suspect you will find out the adjustment is "fair".

After doing this for a few years, now: I agree with the process!

Your thoughts? Thanks, in advance.

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