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Hole Handicap Allocation Question


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#1 DaveLeeNC

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Posted 30 January 2013 - 02:19 PM

Our club is considering re-evaluating the hole handicap allocations (which hole is the #1 handicap hole, etc). Historically we have captured 'organized golf' scorecards as our source of data which is ideal (a good representation of the members and lots of data). But we now have a problem.

Since our last hole handicap allocation we have changed the tees that organized golf plays from. We now give golfers the choice of the middle tees or 'senior tees' (we are an old group - average age probably close to 70). So the result is that when we gather cards pretty much all the high handicappers will be playing the forward tees and all the low handicappers will be playing the middle tees. Kind of messes up the process.

Now that we are a Ghin state (used to be Golfnet) we have the option of entering 'hole by hole' scores and letting the Ghin system do all the hole handicap calculations for us (the Handicap Committee would still do the final allocations). Plus I have been told that the Ghin system can handle the 'mixed tees' when this calculation is done (but I was not told this by an authoritative source).

I can imagine a 'reasonable' way to handle this mixed tee problem. When the USGA rates a course it comes out with a scratch and bogey rating for each hole. So basically each hole has an (uncalculated) slope and rating. So if you were to compare 'hole differentials' (ignore the handicap of the golfer and calculate the 'differential' on each hole based on the tee played and each  golfer's gross score), this could work.

Has anyone ever heard of doing things like this and do you know if Ghin can actually do it? Does Ghin even have access to the by hole scratch and bogey ratings as done by the USGA (or their designated agent)?

Thanks.

dave

ps. This brings up the interesting question of why bother with all the data and calculations - just base hole handicap allocations on the scratch/bogey ratings that are already done by definition.

Edited by DaveLeeNC, 30 January 2013 - 02:23 PM.


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#2 mark m

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Posted 30 January 2013 - 05:38 PM

Hi Dave,

I can answer a few of your questions, but it would be best to double check with your association because they tend to update the software with new features and it has been a couple of years since I have used the GHIN software.

You can set up the software for entering hole by hole scores for everyday play if that is your wish.
When using TPP (Tournament Pairing Program) you can enter hole by hole scores as well.
You can also set up a Tournament to use section 3-5 (different tees) and it will do the calculations automatically.
  • The only bummer here is you have to set/check that each players tee choice is correct for that tournament. So this part can take some time - especially for a large club like yours.
And yes - the ratings for each hole will be in the computer. So anyone with the password for your GHIN program will have access to those ratings. But I would still do the handicap holes as suggested in the Handicap Manual so as to avoid problems that can happen if you just use difficulty from ratings. Sometimes the #1 handicap hole is not the most difficult. (Some courses use the individual hole ratings to produce a "combo" set of tees that basically split the yardage difference between a set of tees. For example a combo set that plays to 6800 yards produced by playing a combination of holes from the 6600 yard tees and the 7000 yard tees.)

I actually think that a committee (your pro and a few other wise souls like yourself) could do a good job determining your handicap holes just using your best judgment and years of experience at the course. (I don't think you really need to do all the calculations.)

One of the issues that can happen with different tees and handicap holes is sometimes the yardage gaps and /or playing difficulty can vary greatly depending on which tee you are playing - and this can kind of screw things up when net scoring comes into play. (For instance, in a team best-ball or in a net skin game.) Sometimes the yardage gaps aren't a consistent 25 yards (or whatever). Sometimes topography, or the position of a water hazard, can leaqd to the forward tee be much further up than typical. So a hole could be very difficult from the middle tee and pretty easy from the forward tee. Hopefully you won't encounter this problem. Having different handicap holes for each tee box is not a good solution either as it tends to confuse things.

Does this answer your questions?
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#3 DaveLeeNC

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Posted 30 January 2013 - 06:12 PM

Mark, thanks. This is very helpful information. I have two (related questions), but first ....

We have historically done our analysis based on the most commonly used tees, and that was that. I'm not sure how much that mattered, but it certainly matters on some holes. The other interesting fact is that at our club 'team stroke play' is by far the most common competition. Games such as the two best (after strokes) scores of four on each hole adding  up to your team score (by side-Nassau) would be typical. So the traditional 'match play methodology' isn't the most useful for those kinds of competitions. We currently use the 'relative difficulty method' as it tends to move all scores toward 'net par'. The match play hole handicaps moved scores all over the map and was unpopular in the extreme. But that is a different discussion.

For my two questions.

1) In your experience if you have a bunch of hole scores loaded into Ghin, can Ghin then automatically calculate some form of the 'Group A/Group B' differences defined by the Handicap Manual (or alternatively the regression coefficients per 17-2-b)? That is what I was told.

2) If #1 is true then do you know if Ghin can handle 'mixed tee input' and generate a single set of output (per #1 above). If it does do you know how they do it?

Thanks again, Mark. And BTW we will be 'doing the data' if for no other reason than with a club this large, you always get someone arguing stuff like this. The argument ends if you just say 'the data said'. However, we do get the committee and a couple of the pros together and tweak things as we see fit. If I had my way I would drop the analysis and base hole handicaps on the scratch/bogey ratings of each hole.

dave

Edited by DaveLeeNC, 30 January 2013 - 06:13 PM.


#4 mark m

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Posted 30 January 2013 - 07:19 PM

Hi Dave,

Sorry but I haven't been involved in setting the handicap holes. I would just be guessing and you don't need that. Hopefully someone else here at wrx will have some info for you. I do think it is correct that the scores inputed into the system can be used for the purposes you describe.

I was lucky in that our association in MN (MGA) has a tremendous staff - very helpful - and one of it's former directors is a leader at GHIN and he is of the same mold. He has held a few seminars up here as well. Hopefully you will have some help from your assoc? I would think that the size and prestige of your club would command some attention.

My club has used different tees since about 2005 or so. The best thing about it is that guys get to play the tee of their choice and this helps greatly in the area of enjoyment - which is very important for most amateurs. The obvious downside is the difficulty in trying to equalize things in the competitions. I am for it despite the weaknesses. There are always problems in handicap tournaments anyway - so it is best to resign oneself to that reality.

Good luck with your transition. It's like anything, you'll get used to it after awhile.

Edited by mark m, 30 January 2013 - 07:20 PM.

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#5 mark m

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Posted 30 January 2013 - 09:26 PM

Your topic reminds me of something I looked at a couple of months ago: the scores, by hole, of the Masters field at Augusta National. The info is available on the tourament website: http://www.masters.c...tats/index.html

You'll notice that the par 5's played the easiest for them (which is typical), and various others holes, like #1, 9, 11, & 18 and the long par 3 #4, played tough.

Then compare that to the scorecard for the members: http://www.cardgolf....ta_national.htm

The top 4 handicap holes - i.e., most difficult - are the par 5's!!
This exaggerated example illustrates the problem we see at the club level between low and high hdcpers - and using different tees skews it further.

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#6 DaveLeeNC

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Posted 31 January 2013 - 08:33 AM

Mark, that is interesting data. Both because of the data and the source. I'd never seen a ANGC card before.

Our biggest problem is not really the 'purity' of the results, but finding a way to come up with some defendable set of results. With a club the size of ours, you realize that there will be a group of folks somewhere within the group who will argue with any result. So I tend to think of 'what I can defend' rather than some theoretically proper answer. Often they are the same, but not always.

dave

#7 TheCityGame

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 07:40 AM

View Postmark m, on 30 January 2013 - 09:26 PM, said:

Your topic reminds me of something I looked at a couple of months ago: the scores, by hole, of the Masters field at Augusta National. The info is available on the tourament website: http://www.masters.c...tats/index.html

You'll notice that the par 5's played the easiest for them (which is typical), and various others holes, like #1, 9, 11, & 18 and the long par 3 #4, played tough.

Then compare that to the scorecard for the members: http://www.cardgolf....ta_national.htm

The top 4 handicap holes - i.e., most difficult - are the par 5's!!
This exaggerated example illustrates the problem we see at the club level between low and high hdcpers - and using different tees skews it further.
Handicap holes are not "most difficult". They're the holes that show the largest differential in score between a scratch golfer and a bogey golfer.

17-1-a from the Handicap Manual. . .
Allocate the first stroke to the hole on the first nine on which the higher-handicapped player most needs a stroke as an equalizer and the second stroke to the hole on the second nine on which the higher-handicapped player most needs a stroke as an equalizer. Alternate in this manner for the full 18 holes.

So, what you describe is pretty much exactly what you'd expect.

Edited by TheCityGame, 01 February 2013 - 07:43 AM.


#8 DaveLeeNC

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 08:06 AM

View PostTheCityGame, on 01 February 2013 - 07:40 AM, said:

SNIP
Handicap holes are not "most difficult". They're the holes that show the largest differential in score between a scratch golfer and a bogey golfer.

17-1-a from the Handicap Manual. . .
Allocate the first stroke to the hole on the first nine on which the higher-handicapped player most needs a stroke as an equalizer and the second stroke to the hole on the second nine on which the higher-handicapped player most needs a stroke as an equalizer. Alternate in this manner for the full 18 holes.

So, what you describe is pretty much exactly what you'd expect.

And just for completeness from section 17-5 ...

"The committee may develop a separate allocation table based on difficulty relative to par for four-ball stroke play, best ball of four stroke play, and Stableford competitions. ....."

The last time that we did a handicap allocation at our club we did it this way as it made more sense for the kind of play that is most common at our club.

dave

Edited by DaveLeeNC, 01 February 2013 - 08:06 AM.


#9 mark m

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 09:24 AM

View PostTheCityGame, on 01 February 2013 - 07:40 AM, said:

View Postmark m, on 30 January 2013 - 09:26 PM, said:

Your topic reminds me of something I looked at a couple of months ago: the scores, by hole, of the Masters field at Augusta National. The info is available on the tourament website: http://www.masters.c...tats/index.html

You'll notice that the par 5's played the easiest for them (which is typical), and various others holes, like #1, 9, 11, & 18 and the long par 3 #4, played tough.

Then compare that to the scorecard for the members: http://www.cardgolf....ta_national.htm

The top 4 handicap holes - i.e., most difficult - are the par 5's!!
This exaggerated example illustrates the problem we see at the club level between low and high hdcpers - and using different tees skews it further.
Handicap holes are not "most difficult". They're the holes that show the largest differential in score between a scratch golfer and a bogey golfer.

17-1-a from the Handicap Manual. . .
Allocate the first stroke to the hole on the first nine on which the higher-handicapped player most needs a stroke as an equalizer and the second stroke to the hole on the second nine on which the higher-handicapped player most needs a stroke as an equalizer. Alternate in this manner for the full 18 holes.

So, what you describe is pretty much exactly what you'd expect.

It is common to see par 5 holes at the top. But sometimes it isn't good judgment (IMO). Unless a par 5 hole is very difficult (with perhaps OB and/or water hazards) - they shouldn't be ranked as high as they commonly are. Consider this from the manual:

Importance of Low Strokes
The first handicap stroke should be allocated so that this stroke is most useful in matches between players of almost equal ability, such as matches involving players with a Course Handicap of 0 and 1, 10 and 11, or 29 and 30. In such matches, the first handicap stroke will be of the greatest importance as an equalizer to the player receiving the stroke.


So using the example of the AN member tees card from above, a scratch playing a 1 hdcp would give the stroke on #2 - a 500 yard par 5. Sorry, but I think that is not a good choice for #1 hdcp hole.

My second reason is this: you commonly see in team best balls (example being a best 2 of 4 net), the higher handicap players getting 2 strokes on these par 5 holes and you invariably see many of them making 5 for 3, and a few making 4 for 2 (net double eagle). IMO - par 5 holes are often overrated in the hdcp hole allocation. Long par 4s would be the better choice in many cases.

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#10 Newby

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 09:44 AM

http://www.usga.org/...Manual/Rule-17/


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#11 TheCityGame

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 12:36 PM

Here's a couple things in response. . .

1) I understand the desire to have good allocation based on people who are "close" in handicap playing each other. I'm a 6.2 index right now, and I play a LOT of rounds where I'm giving guys 10-18 strokes, so I see things through that filter. Based on that, I think it does make sense to give strokes on par 5's. But, it's not just me:

From this link. . .http://www.columbia.edu/~mnb2/broadie/Assets/strokes_gained_pga_broadie_20110408.pdf


For 90-golfers, going from 180 yards (par-3 distance) to 580 yards (par-5 distance) will increase their average score by
about 2.6. But the par goes up by 2, so 90-golfers do worse relative to par on par-5 holes compared
to par-3 holes. Going from a hole of 180 yards (par-3 distance) to 580 yards (par-5 distance), pros
will see an average score increase of 1.6. The par goes up by two, so the pros do better relative to
par on par-5 holes compared to par-3 holes.

The effect is somewhat in between for golfers between pros and "90 shooters". I'm about the same, relative to par, on 3's, 4s and 5s.

2) In tournaments where guys get 2 strokes on some holes, there's just almost nothing you can do. If I'm playing a golfer that bad, I'd actually rather give him the strokes on a 5. It's so rare that a guy who is a 25 handicap is going to put together 3 good shots, and a couple putts to make par. Bad golfers are typically more over par on 5's than they are on 3's (see above).

3) It never really gets said, but in terms of the overall match, it usually doesn't matter where the strokes fall. If you give a guy a stroke on an easy hole so that he has an advantage, then you're not giving him one on a tough hole so you have the advantage. It's just nice to have the stroke holes so that more holes are "up for grabs". More putts matter.




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