Saturday, March 17, 2012

What scores to post

April 1 is just around the corner. This date means that New Jersey will once again be officially “in season,” and we will be required to post all rounds we play under the Rules of Golf.

It is the ideal time to remind everyone of what scores should be posted, and how to post those scores. First, we need to define three essential terms: ESC Score, Most Likely Score, and Par Plus Handicap Score.

• ESC Score
“ESC” stands for Equitable Stroke Control. If you have an unusually bad hole, you may be required to lower that hole’s score before you total your 18-hole score and post it.

Here are the ESC reductions:
If your Course Handicap (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 a round and you shoot 92, 92 is the number that will count for the day’s competition. However, when you post that score in your handicap record, you will apply the ESC adjustments to any holes where you exceeded your maximum score. So if your CH is 15, and you scored 8 on three holes, your competitive score would still be 92, but you would post 89 in your handicap record (the maximum score you are permitted to post on any hole is 7 if your CH is 15).

• Most Likely Score
When a player does not complete a hole, as often happens in match play and better ball competitions, he must record his “most likely score” on that hole for handicap purposes. The score would be the number of strokes already taken plus the number of strokes the player believes necessary to finish the hole. 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 pitching distance, you would add 3 strokes (the pitch plus two putts).

• Par Plus Handicap Score
Perhaps the hour is growing late, so you and your friends decide to call it a day and not play the last 2 holes. The score you record for the holes you do not play is par plus any additional strokes you would receive based on your Course Handicap. Let’s say your Course Handicap is 13. The 17th hole (par 5) is the #3 handicap hole, and the 18th hole (par 4) is the #14 handicap hole. For handicap purposes, you would record a 6 on the 17th hole (par plus 1, according to your Course Handicap of 13, which would entitle you to a stroke on the #3 handicap hole), and a 4 on the 18th hole (with a Course Handicap of 13 you would not be entitled to a stroke on the #14 handicap hole).

Now let’s take a look at what scores the USGA requires that we post, and what scores we are not permitted to post. The source of these rules is The USGA Handicap System manual, Section 5–Scores. You can access the manual online via the following link:

1. If you play 13 or more holes, post an 18-hole score. For the holes that are not played, record your Par Plus Handicap score.

2. If you play between 7 and 12 holes, post a 9-hole score.

3. Post all scores from every course that has a USGA Course Rating and Slope Rating®, both home and away, during the active season. Don’t forget to record the correct course rating and slope rating when you post “away” scores.

4. Scores made in match play must be posted, even though you pick up when a putt or a hole is conceded. Record your Most Likely Score in those situations.

5. Scores in stroke play competitions must be posted, even though you may have picked up on several holes because your partner had a better score. Each time you pick up, record your Most Likely Score.

6. Record all scores when you are playing under the Rules of Golf (see #3 and #4 below under “Do not post these scores”).

7. If you have been disqualified from a tournament, but you have an acceptable score (“acceptable” means it meets all the above requirements), you must post it. One example might be a player who has been disqualified for not signing his scorecard.

1. You play less than 7 holes.

2. You play during the inactive season.

3. You don’t play your own ball (e.g., scramble, alternate shot, Scotch Chapman).

4. You don’t play according to the Rules of Golf (e.g., you play two balls). Note that if you are playing preferred lies (“winter rules”), you are playing by the Rules and you must post that score.

5. You play an 18-hole course that is less than 3,000 yards, or a 9-hole course that is less than 1,500 yards.

6. You play in a tournament where the number of clubs permitted is less than 14, or the type of club is limited (e.g., irons only).

7. You play on a course that does not have a USGA Course Rating or Slope Rating.

8. You play with a non-conforming club (e.g., a driver longer than 48”), a non-conforming ball (e.g., weighs more than 1.62 ounces), or a non-conforming tee (e.g., longer than 4”).

9. You use an artificial device or unusual equipment to help you make a stroke (e.g., placing a bottle of water on the green to gauge the slope).

The USGA has provided a handicap system that allows golfers of different abilities to have an even competition. The system works properly when every player posts every acceptable score immediately after the round or as soon as possible.

Copyright © 2012 Linda Miller. All rights reserved.