Thursday, January 27, 2011

Ask Linda #276-ESC and double par

Hi Linda,
In our league we are allowed to post double par as the maximum score on any hole for the purpose of pace of play. How would this affect the Equitable Stroke Control system?

Dear Lou,

I’m glad you asked this question, since I suspect there are a number of golfers facing this problem.

There are two issues to consider here: Equitable Stroke Control (ESC) and Most Likely Score. Both must be understood before I can answer your question, so let’s take a moment out for a quick review.

Equitable Stroke Control
Before posting a score for your handicap record, a player must review his scorecard and apply ESC. This means that if he has scored higher than the maximum score his Course Handicap (CH) permits on any given hole, he must subtract those strokes from the score he posts. For example, if a player with a CH of 12 scores a 9 on one hole, he must subtract 2 strokes from his total score before posting it. This is because his maximum ESC score is 7. If this same player scores 9 on three different holes, he must subtract 6 strokes from his total before posting.

Here is a quick ESC review:
If your CH is 9 or less, the maximum score you may post for any given hole is double bogey.
If your CH is 10-19, your maximum is 7.
If your CH is 20-29, your maximum is 8.
If your CH is 30-39, your maximum is 9
If your CH is 40 or more, your maximum is 10.

Please remember that if you are playing in a tournament and you shoot 92, you will turn in a score of 92 for the tournament. When you post that score in your handicap record, you will then apply the ESC adjustments to any holes where you exceeded your maximum score. So if your CH at the tournament was 15, and you scored 8 on three holes, your tournament score would still be 92, but the score you post in your handicap record would be 89, since the maximum score you are permitted to post is 7.

Most Likely Score
When a player does not complete a hole, he must record his “most likely score” for handicap purposes. That score would be the number of strokes already taken plus the number of strokes the player believes it would take him to finish the hole more than half the time. This is a judgment call. Ordinarily, if your ball is on the green but not in “gimme” range you would add 2 strokes to your score; if you’re within comfortable pitching distance, you would add 3 strokes (the pitch plus two putts). If the total of your “most likely score” exceeds your ESC, you must subtract those extra strokes before you post your score. In a tournament, you would write an X before your score (e.g., X-8) to indicate that you picked up before completing the hole.

Now let’s address your question. The scorecard you turn in to your league will have no “official” score higher than a double par (league rules). Because of that, you will need to keep a separate record for the score you will post into your handicap record. Each time you reach double par and have not completed the hole, your separate record should reflect your “most likely score.” For example, if it has taken you 6 shots to reach a par 3, and your ball is 20 feet from the hole, you would record a “6” for your league score (double par max) and an “8” for your “most likely score.” You will add that 8 into the score you post into your handicap record if your CH is 20 or higher. If your CH is 19 or less, that 8 exceeds your ESC limit of 7, and you will have to subtract 1 stroke from your total score before posting.

Players are required to post scores even if they do not complete every hole. The score they post for those holes will be their most likely score minus any strokes that exceed their maximum ESC.

Copyright © 2011 Linda Miller. All rights reserved.