Handicap Q&A- Chapter Championship
Eligibility to participate
To be eligible to play in the Chapter Championship, golfers need to have at least two 18-hole scores posted in a USGA index approved system (i.e. GN21, GHIN or EZ-Links) as of the deadline to enter (deadline varies each year). This can be any two 18-hole scores OR four 9- hole scores from this year which officially began in the PNW for golfers on March 1, when the "active season" started. The highest eligible index for this competition is 40.4. There is no lowest eligible index, as long as you don't have pro status.
I started keeping a handicap last year, but my index is in the mid-30s and though I'm interested, playing in a tournament makes me nervous; I've played with some outstanding golfers at a few weekend events. Am I going to be out of my league?
If you are curious enough to ask and are showing interest, we encourage you to give it a try. This is actually where your handicap index will help you and make it a fair event for all. Did you know that there are actually five flights in stroke play plus a scramble format? The different flights mean you are only golfing against golfers of the same ability. Here are the flight levels and index ranges for the stroke play format:
Also, we recognize winners in both gross and net categories for stroke play. For the 4-woman scramble event, handicaps make up what's called a "Team Composition Factor" for scramble teams, helping ensure that all teams are playing on a similar level. We really hope you do join in and become part of the largest women's amateur tournament in the world.
What handicap revision is used for the tournament?
The tournament directors will use the revision that comes out closest to the tournament date (usually mid-July update) to place golfers in their flights and to calculate the "Team Composition Factor" for scramble teams. Keep posting all rounds played by the rules of golf and we'll see you at the tournament.
All of the details on the tournament are included in informative materials and entry forms posted on the EWGA Seattle website as soon as available. And, as important as it is to know the information shared, we also hope that you do join in this event, either as a play or a volunteer. Come out and see what the fun is all about!
April, 2012 Handicap Q&A
What should I shoot?
Do you find yourself asking, "Why do I rarely shoot my course handicap?" The answer is: it is perfectly normal for this to happen under the USGA Handicap System.
This is because the USGA Handicap System is based on the potential ability of a player rather than the average of all their scores. In fact, years of research by the USGA shows us that on average a player should only shoot their course handicap 25 percent of the time. They should shoot three strokes higher than their course handicap on average, and in their last 20 scores have a best score of only 2 strokes better than their course handicap.
A player's Handicap Index reflects their playing potential due to the fact that it is based only on her best scores for a given number of rounds. The most accurate Handicap Index would be one based on the best 10 differentials out of the last 20 scores. Since those 10 worst differentials are not included in the calculation of a player's Handicap Index, it only reflects their best days.
The bottom line is there is no need to worry if you don't shoot at or near your course handicap on a given day. Every golfer with a Handicap Index is in the same boat because USGA Handicap Indexes are based on the potential ability of a golfer, not the average of all their scores.
Why is there an "R" after my Handicap Index?
One of the most common questions we get at the WSGA office is "why does my Handicap Index have an 'R' next to it?" The simple answer is that your Handicap Index has been automatically reduced (not restricted) due to exceptional tournament scores, which the USGA defines as being at least 3 strokes better than your Handicap Index.
You may then ask yourself, "If I haven't played in a tournament since last summer, this must be a mistake." In actuality, a tournament score will stay in your scoring record for at least one year or even longer, if it is still part of your 20 most-recent scores. If you have two exceptional tournament scores in your record at any given time, you may be eligible for an automatic reduction.
This time of year, golfers often see their Handicap Index reduced. The main reason is that many Northwest golfers are shooting higher scores as they start to shake off the winter rust. It might also be due to the fact that golf courses are playing longer with cold and wet conditions. As Handicap Indexes increase due to these higher scores, a tournament score from last summer may now become an "exceptional tournament score" as defined above in paragraph one.
Many golfers dread seeing the "R" after their Handicap Index, and believe it means they are "sandbagging" or cheating the system. However, the "R" simply means that you have shown a scoring potential that is better than your current Handicap Index. If you have a question for Handicap Q&A, email our chapter Handicap Chair. We are also here to help with any questions regarding using either the GN21 system or GHIN, and setting you up with a GHIN account.