Ironically the handicap system which is designed to make the game fair for all golfers is the one which is abused and makes it unfair for honest players.
I paid an $80 dollar entry fee to play in a local amateur competition, the Wingpointe Amateur yesterday. I was excited to play in this event, as I haven’t played in any state golf association tournaments like this in some time other than the Salt Lake Amateur, which is run differently. I forgot the reason I decided not to play in these state tournaments but today I was reminded why. I guess I’m back to not playing in “net” state tournaments.
I struggled a bit today, but on a tough course fired a 76. I came in as a 3 handicap and my course handicap put me up to a 4. The tournament’s flights were broken down to champ flight which was gross, handicap 0-3 and then two flights which were 4-9 and 10-X. The winner in my flight shot a net 63. If that player was a 4 handicap like me, that score differential would have been 11 and he would have had to shoot a gross 67. Likely, the player who shot the 63 was a 9 handicap who shot 72. That’s a 9 differential. Let’s take a look at the USGA’s chart showing the odds of shooting an exceptional tournament score:
|Handicap Range ->||0-5||6-12||13-21||22-30||GREATER THAN 30|
So if the net 63 winner was in the handicap range 6-9, the odds of him shooting that score were 1 in 27,877. If the net 63 winner were in the handicap range 0-5, the odds of him shooting that score were 1 in 48,219. Let’s call it what it is, CHEATING.
The winner of the 3rd flight was a 17 handicap who shot 77, one shot worse than my gritty 76. The chart above doesn’t even go as high as a 12 differential. Closest odds are one in 37,000. Yeah, that’s likely. Can you believe that two players in the same tournament both overcame odds between 1-28,000 and 1 and 1-48,000? The odds of both of those happening at the same time have to be worse than the odds of winning the powerball.
There’s a guy who USED to be in my men’s leauge. He was a doctor and quite well off financially. The reason he left our league? We started punching in his scores, low 70′s, into the state handicapping system. He flat out told us, “I can’t win any state tournaments if you guys punch in my scores.”
Here’s a guy who doesn’t need prize money. He could afford any golf gear he wanted. Yet, he still CHEATED by not posting his low scores and by not carrying a legitimate handicap so he could “win.” Sounds like a loser to me.
I remember another CHEATER I became aware of. He had registered with the local golf association a handicap card under the name “James Taylor.” Not only is that the name of a sappy guitar player/singer, it is not this guy’s name. ”James Taylor” won a net event and the $700 in prize money for first place. I hope the guy gets the shanks with the clubs he bought using his ill-gotten prize money.
“Match Play Champion”
A good friend who is also very frustrated with
sandbaggers CHEATERS told me his latest bad experience. He was playing in his club’s net match play event. He made it to the championship match against a player who was a 13 handicap. That 13 handicap shot a round in the low 70′s and crushed his opponent, my pal, for the championship. Upon looking at his scoring record in the state handicap system, something which is publicly available, he hadn’t punched in a single golf score in 3-4 YEARS. He kept telling my buddy “this is the best round I’ve shot in years…” Yeah, right. You are a dirt-bag cheating liar.
Not What Golf Stands For
Cheating goes against what golf stands for. Golf is supposed to be an honorable game. We golfers police ourselves, call penalties on ourselves.
My solution is to no longer compete in competitions that
sandbaggers CHEATERS play in. That ruins it for me because I want to compete in state golf association sanctioned events. I’ve found a couple of leagues which combat CHEATERS by having their own league handicapping policies and punching in every score. I’ll compete there, and perhaps in tournaments which have “gross within flight” type competitions. That helps reduce the problem but still doesn’t stop a person who plays like a 3 but pads his handicap up to a 10.
It amazes me that people just sit back and let it happen. If you were cheated in business you’d probably take legal action. If you were cheated in your marriage you’d probably divorce. You get cheated in golf and do nothing?
Do you have any solutions? I’d love to hear them. There’s a Wall Street Journal Article which discusses a system which sounds interesting.