What is your Handicap

And more importantly how is handicap index determined

If a golfer were to shoot 20 consecutive rounds of even par on a par 72 golf course with a course rating of 69.6 and a slope of 123 would his handicap index be  0?

The answer is no, his handicap index would be 2.1.

So, what about if another golfer who also played 20 round of golf on the same course and shot 1o rounds at even par, and the remaining 10 rounds were scattered between 73 and 82.  What would his handicap index be?

It would also be 2.1.

Why is that you ask?  Well, it’s because for handicap purposes the accepted practice is to use the best 10 out of your last 20 rounds for handicap calculation purposes and the best 10 rounds out of their last 20 were the same for both golfers.

So if the 10 scores used for handicap calculation purposes  were all even par why is the handicap index not 0?

The answer is that a formula laid out the Golf Canada is applied and that formula stipulates that the course rating and not the par for the course be used to calculate the handicap index.  In the case of the above two examples it would work like this:

The differential between the score shot and the course rating is calculated for each round used for handicap purposes.  In this case the differential for each round was the gross score minus the course rating (72-69.6=2.4) as the scores were all the same.

In real life the calculation would be done for each round, they would then be added up and divided by 10 to obtain an average.  That number is then multiplied by 113 which is the slope rating assigned to golf courses that are of average difficulty (113 x 2.4=271.2)  This product is then divided by the slope rating for the course in question 271.2/123=2.2

The last step in applying the formula is to multiply 2.2 by .96 which yields a handicap index of 2.1

The good thing for golfers is that you don’t need to do any of these calculations.  All you need to do is to enter your score into the computer and the handicap software looks after the rest.

So, if your handicap index is 2.1, the average of your best 10  out of your last  20 games playing off the white and red tees at The  Wildewood Club should be 72.


Golfstat – Using Data to Improve Your Golf Game

Using statistics to reduce crime

During my years as the Deputy Chief of Police in Winnipeg I conducted extensive research on the statistical analysis of crime with a view to using statistical analysis as a basis for deployment of police resources and reducing crime.  The research process involved not only a review of the academic literature on the topic but also meeting with Rudy Giuliani’s consulting group and members of the  Manhattan Institute for Policy Research  in New York City.   Giuliani was the mayor of New York when Compstat was implemented there and the Manhattan Institute was the home of George Kelling who had become well  known in policing circles when he proposed the “Broken Windows’ theory in 1982.  I also visited  Newark New Jersey, one of the many cities in the United States that had implemented programs based on the statistical analysis of crime and met with police officers there.  Upon completion of the research I submitted a  proposal ( click on ‘proposal’ and scroll down the agenda and click on item 85 for a copy of the report)to the City of Winnipeg and subsequently  Crimestat was implemented in Winnipeg.

Using statistics to improve your golf game

During that same period of time I was a very active golfer and started thinking about applying some of the same principles used to reduce crime  towards improving my golf  game.

In my mind I called it Golfstat.   As opposed to tracking where break-ins, car thefts and robberies were taking place and how to reduce them, Golfstat looked at where (on which holes) birdies, pars, bogies and double bogies were being scored with a view to coming up with a means to replicate the good holes and eliminate the bogies and double bogies.

The first step in the process was to gather data.  For those interested in this approach an easy first step is to change the way you enter your handicap scores.  As opposed to simply entering your gross adjusted score you start by entering your scores on a ‘hole by hole’ basis.  The RCGA software allows for not only this but also facilitates the inclusion of other statistical information such as fairways hit, greens in regulation, number of putts and the like and then provides useful information  based on the date entered.

The following shows the Golf Canada hole by hole entry screen:


(click on image to enlarge)

Once you have entered sufficient data (ten games or so) you can start to do an analysis of the data and draw conclusions and formulate an action plan to improve your scoring.

A future post will examine some of the things the data tells you and how to use it to your advantage and improve your scoring.