Hole Handicaps Explained | St. Marys Golf & Country Club

Changes to Handicaps at SMGCC

January 27, 2021

Changes to Handicaps at SMGCC

UPDATING THE ALLOCATION OF HANDICAP STROKES


As it has been several years since our hole handicap rankings have been reviewed, this analysis was completed recently, as detailed below.

The basic principle of allocating handicap strokes is to equalize the abilities of players at different handicap levels.  A stroke should be available on a hole where it will most likely be needed by the higher-handicap player to halve the hole.  Generally, the longer the hole, the greater need for the higher-handicap player to receive a stroke.

HOW THE PROCESS WORKS


Section 17 of the Golf Canada Handicap Manual outlines the process for determining the ranking of holes for handicapping. At least 200 hole-by-hole scores for a group of low-handicap golfers (Group A), are collected and the average score for each hole is calculated. At least 200 hole-by-hole scores for a second group of golfers (Group B), having a handicap of 15 to 20 higher than Group A, are also collected and the average score for each hole is calculated.  The difference in average score between Group A and Group B is calculated.  Hole are ranked in descending order of the difference in average score.

Stroke allocation is alternated between the harder nine (in our case the front nine) and the easier nine (in our case the back nine). Thus, the hole on the front nine with the largest score difference between Group A and Group B is allocated ranking 1. The hole on the back nine with the largest score difference between Group A and Group B is allocated ranking 2.  The hole on the front nine with the second largest score difference is allocated ranking 3, and so on.

Our hole-by-hole scoring data is extracted from all Men’s League results from 2019 and 2020, totalling 2934 games.

Group

Course Handicap Range

(9 Holes)

Course Handicap Average

(9 Holes)

# Scores Front 9 # Scores Back 9
A +2 to 3 1.78 306 228
B 9 to 24 10.93 365 390

As can be seen, we have sufficient scores for the calculation and the handicap difference between the two groups is 9.15 over nine holes or approximately 18.3 over 18 holes. The results are shown in the table below. There are a few changes from our previous ranking.

 

Hole

 

Par

Current

Handicap

 Ranking

Group A

Average

Score

Group B Average Score

Score

Difference

(B – A)

New

Handicap

Ranking

1

4

15

4.55

5.48

0.93

7

2

3

7

3.73

4.54

0.81

15

3

5

3

5.35

6.77

1.42

1

4

4

5

4.43

5.32

0.88

11

5

3

17

3.38

4.19

0.82

13

6

5

11

5.07

6.23

1.16

3

7

3

9

3.49

4.19

0.71

17

8

4

1

4.54

5.54

0.99

5

9

4

13

4.36

5.27

0.91

9

10

4

14

4.39

5.39

1.00

12

11

5

4

5.18

6.40

1.22

4

12

4

2

4.70

5.98

1.28

2

13

4

10

4.13

5.17

1.04

10

14

4

18

4.18

5.02

0.84

14

15

5

8

4.98

6.08

1.10

6

16

3

16

3.24

3.91

0.66

18

17

5

6

5.15

6.24

1.08

8

18

3

12

3.39

4.11

0.72

16


To view our updated scorecard, click here.

THE RESULTS


A frequent misunderstanding is that the number 1 handicap hole is the hardest hole on the course. As explained above, the number 1 handicap hole is the hole with the largest difference in average score between low- and high-handicap golfers, on the harder of the two nines. 

From the scoring data, the hardest hole on the front nine, relative to par, is hole #2. Averaging all scores, the hole plays 1.16 strokes over par. But the key thing to understand here that the hole is hard for ALL golfers. The difference in average scores between low- and high-handicap golfers is only 0.81 strokes, earning it a handicap ranking of only 15.

Conversely, hole #6 is the easiest hole on the front nine, playing an average of only 0.67 strokes over par.  However, low-handicap players shoot an average of 0.07 strokes over par and high-handicap players shoot an average of 1.23 strokes over par. That difference of 1.16 strokes is the second highest on the front nine, earning a handicap ranking of 3.

The new hole handicapping will be available on the scorecards in 2021.

OTHER KEY TAKEAWAYS


A couple of other quick points:

  • Section 17 also suggests some adjustments that can be made, for example, to avoid low numbered holes near the beginning and end of nines. We have chosen not to adjust the data-based ranking.
  • Section 17 also provides an alternate regression methodology for calculating hole handicap ranking. We have also completed those calculations, and the results are almost identical to the table above.
  • With the transition to the World Handicap System, a new hole handicap methodology has been presented based on the theoretical difficulty of each hole. The results are less intuitive than the Section 17 results and are inconsistent with actual data on difficulty of the holes.  We continue to work to understand the new system.

Golf Canada recommends separate hole handicaps for men and women.  Unfortunately, we do not have the data to perform a separate calculation for women, but we will explore options for collecting that data for future calculation.





Restaurant Open for Takeout

Spend Time at Home Together During the Current Shutdown with Delicious Meal Choices from Social Thirty-One

Click Here to Order Online