Tuesday, April 19, 2011
Ask Linda #291-Unfair handicap allowance?
I do not understand why the handicap allowance in four-ball (better ball) match play should be 3/4 of the difference between the player’s actual handicap and the handicap of the player with the lowest handicap.
Suppose you have one team (Team A) of two players (Player A and Player B) who both play off a 2 handicap, and another team (Team B) of players where one (Player C) has a handicap of 2 and the other (Player D) has a handicap of 14.
I have checked the website of the English Golf Union. If I understand the handicap allowance correctly, Team A (both players) and Player C will all, in effect, be playing off the same handicap, but player D will now be receiving only 9 shots, which is 3/4 of the difference between the lowest handicap (2) and their handicap (14). This hardly seems fair. What I am trying to do is find out why the handicap allowance is only 3/4 - how is it deemed fair (what is the math behind it all)?
I checked the website of the English Golf Union, and your understanding is correct. For a four-ball (better ball) match play competition, they recommend that the player with the lowest handicap play at scratch and that the other three players receive ¾ of the difference between the lowest handicap player and their full handicaps. This does seem a bit harsh to me. Here in the United States, the USGA recommends for four-ball match play that the player with the lowest Course Handicap play at scratch, and that the other players receive 100% of the difference between their Course Handicap and that of the scratch player.
Perhaps your club pro or a representative from the Royal & Ancient can explain the motivation behind such a large handicap reduction. Any explanation I could give you from this side of the pond would be a guess, so I am afraid I am unable to explain or justify this policy for you.
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