Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Ask Linda #1020-Recording score when hole is shortened

Dear Linda,

When maintenance work is being done on my course (e.g., rebuilding a sand bunker), the tee box is often moved up out of harm's way. There is a sign in the pro shop stating: “Hole #9 will be played as a par 3 today.” One of the league officers instructed us to add a stroke to our ESC score since the hole is considered easier, which should affect the course rating. 

I've never heard of doing this and can’t (so far) find it in the on-line handicap manual. What's the rule, please?

Lulu from Georgia

Dear Lulu,

When a hole is shorter, it affects the slope and rating of the course. In effect, you are playing a course from an unrated set of tees. You have to change the rating of the course when you post your score (you will have to do this manually).

Let's say the hole was 350 yards, and is now 125 yards. The difference is 225 yards. Look at the chart in Section 5-2g of The USGA Handicap System (page 32 in the 2012-2015 edition). A difference of 225 yards will change the Course Rating 1.3 and the Slope Rating 3. Since the hole is shorter, the course is easier. Subtract 1.3 from the Course Rating and 3 from the Slope Rating when you post your score. 

Shortening a hole has nothing to do with ESC, and you cannot arbitrarily add or subtract a stroke to your score. The instruction you received from the league officer was incorrect.

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