USGA Formulas Help the Handicappers: Part II
By Charley Stine
Some things I learned recently from a video of a U.S. Golf Association handicapping seminar:
In a four-ball (best-ball) match with full handicap, there is a statistical advantage in having a partner whose handicap is either a lot higher or a lot lower than yours. It also helps, says USGA Senior director of handicapping Dean Knuth, to check the last 20 scores on the handicap cards. You want the partner with the widest disparity of scores.
Most people play such a match with full handicaps, but the equitable procedure is to allow only 90 percent of handicaps. And if there is an eight-shot or more difference between members of one team, it is equitable to cut them another 10 percent.
Knuth's formula for handicapping a scramble: Take 20 percent of the A player's handicap, 15 percent of the B, 10 percent of the C, and 5 percent of D, and add them together. However, it is possible to come out with a number higher than the A player's handicap alone. Provisions are needed to ensure that scramble handicaps are at least one stroke less than the best player's.
Everybody has heard that the median Slope Rating is 113, but what does 113 mean? It means, statistically, that for every stroke handicaps increase, scores go up about 1.13 shots. Your Index represents all your scores adjusted as if all the rounds had been played at a course with 113 Slope.
USGA Course Ratings are the summation of Yardage Rating, Obstacle Rating and something called Effective Playing Length Correction (wind, roll, dogleg, elevation).
By USGA pace-of-play studies, keeping carts on the path adds 13 percent to the time needed to play a round of golf. At a four-hour pace, that's 31 more minutes. The same studies found that pace of play in the first five holes of a round dictates the group's pace for the day. Knuth's interpretation is that players get into a rhythm, either slow or fast, and tend to maintain it.