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The Verde Independent | Cottonwood, Arizona

home : the villager : the villager July 10, 2014

6/22/2013 4:04:00 PM
Red Tee Report: Hole-by-hole handicapping and match play

Oakcreek Country Club got new scorecards in March, and if you're into match play, you pay attention to the bottom line, the one called "LADIES' HCP." This stroke allocation was updated to reflect changes in the course over recent years.

One of the most misunderstood aspects of the handicapping system is the assignment of the handicap stroke holes.

How often have you heard a golfer refer to the No. 1 stroke hole as the "hardest" hole? Truth is . . . If you asked individuals to identify the hardest hole on the course, you'd probably get 18 answers.

It's not about difficulty, it's about statistics.

The purpose is to identify holes where a high handicapper most needs a stroke in order to tie the low handicapper golfer in match play.

This is accomplished by dividing golfers into two groups, according to handicap, and collecting 200 scorecards from each group. The holes with the greatest "need" showed up with the largest gaps in scoring averages between high and low handicappers.

Consider OCC's 6th hole, with all sorts of nonsense along the way and around the green. It can be a tough par for any golfer. The high handicapper may not be able to reach the green in regulation, but she can get there in three and two-putt for a bogey. It's a hard enough hole, but not one where she most needs a stroke in order to tie.

That award went to the 15th hole. So why isn't it HCP 1 on your scorecard? Because odd numbers are assigned to the front nine and even numbers to the back. So Hole 15 gets HCP 2, or the lowest number on the back nine. Compared to Hole 6, is Hole 15 a "hard" hole?

OCCWGA Match Play for 2013 had two flights, a decision that is made to further reduce the gap between competing golfers. The handicap system is a great equalizer, but this levels the field a little more. Congratulations to the two winners, Allene Richlie and Allene Mueller, and runners-up Margi Honea and Barbara Gordon. Well played!

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