Key Strokes

A Golf Association of Philadelphia Blog

Course Rating Explained

Recoverability and Rough

R&R, as it is commonly referred to, is an evaluation of the probability of missing the tee shot landing zone and the green, and the difficulty of recovering if either or both is missed.  Normal rough height in our area generally falls into the two-to-three inch variety of cool season grasses.  When assessing R&R, the question to ask is, how hard would it be to hit a shot close to the hole from the rough?

According to the USGA Course Rating System manual, factors to be considered are the type of grass and its height, the difficulty of hitting the green (Green Target rating), mounding along the fairway and at the green, rise or drop around the green, conditions such as sand dunes (not bunkers), brush, ice plant, palmettos, hardpan, tree roots, swales, rocks, lava, desert, heather, and gorse.

How do we handle more extreme situations when it is likely the ball will be lost or only advanced with great difficulty?  When cool season rough exceeds six inches, or if there is dense underbrush in trees, they are rated under R&R AND Out of Bounds/Extreme Rough.  Prepared ‘waste areas’ are rated as Bunkers and R&R.  If a Water Hazard Surround adjustment reaches +2 or +3, an additional adjustment is made to R&R.  When determining various adjustments for R&R, the general guideline is to have the main focus on areas within 10 yards of the edge of the green.

As we mentioned, R&R values are driven by the Green Target rating and it’s important to know that the R&R rating table assumes that there is a rise/drop around the green of five feet or less.

Let’s take a more in-depth look at the R&R rating table and also learn how to apply certain adjustments, including the Carry adjustment for the Bogey golfer.

RR Rating Table

Let’s take a look at a hole we’ve been covering in our previous posts, and see if we have any R&R adjustments.

hole overhead

It may be difficult to see clearly, but there is some high rough in excess of six inches just in front of the tee on this hole.  However, it measures at 93 yards to safely carry, so we will not have a Bogey Carry adjustment under R&R, since it requires a carry of 100 yards.  As a result, we will only rate this as Extreme Rough as a 93 yard carry.  The rating team may adjust that OB/ER table value down depending on the likelihood of finding the ball and recovering, and because the high rough is only on the right side of the hole.  The adjustment they could use for this is the Percentage adjustment (which we’ll cover more in OB/ER and Water Hazards), because the extreme rough crossing is only partial and they wish to use only a percentage of the table value.

Now, let’s see if we have any R&R adjustments to consider around the green.

R&R Mounds example

This picture is from the back of the green surface looking toward the left side of the green going in the direction of play.  You can see there are three distinct mounds just off the edge of the surface.  Considering that the fairway slopes from right to left for the approach shot and the green is well protected by bunkers on the right, the rating team would be justified in assigning a Mounds adjustment of +1 for this hole under R&R.

Our Green Target was determined to be a 4 for Scratch and a 5 for Bogey, so looking at the R&R table using 2”-3” inch rough, we start with an R&R value of 4, 5 as well.  Here’s how the adjustment would look as recorded on our rating form.

RR data

We’ll touch on more R&R adjustments in later posts, but for now, let’s move on to Bunkers.

Course Rating Explained

Green Target

The Green Target rating value is an evaluation of the difficulty of getting to and staying on the green with the approach shot.  Various factors are considered in this evaluation, including target (green) size, length of the shot to the green, how well the green holds and the difficulty of normal hole locations.

Approach shot length is determined by subtracting the distance the player has covered on his first or second shot from the length of the hole.

To refresh our memory, here is the shot length table referenced in an earlier post:

SnB Shot Lengths

Next, let’s examine how we determine the green size and arrive at the effective diameter of our target.  We all know golf courses can feature greens of all different shapes and sizes, and this will explain how to handle anything and everything we could face.

gt odd greens combined

Now that we know how to determine the approach shot length and how to measure our green to figure out the correct effective diameter, let’s take a look at the Green Target rating table itself, with the applicable adjustments, of course.

GT rating table wAdjustments

To clarify something not explained above, let’s learn the definition of a Tier according to the USGA Course Rating System.  A tier is a plateau. To be tiered, a green must have a minimum of two definite plateaus of surface area separated by a two-foot or greater elevation difference. The elevation change area must include at least 50 percent of either the width or depth of the green. Two plateaus with one “ramp” equates to two tiers. Three plateaus with two “ramps” equates to three tiers. A ball will not normally remain at rest on the ramp from one tier to another.

If you notice the very bottom of the table, we get one more wrench thrown into this equation with the Transition Zone concept.  Transition allows raters to go ahead and say ‘sometimes’ when it comes to whether or not a player will be able to reach his target.  Here is a much better and more technical explanation:

GT TransitionZone

In the example below, we will evaluate both of our golfers and even have a Bogey golfer in transition to show the process the rating team goes through in determining the correct Green Target value to assign.

GT hole overhead

Knowing the information listed above, let’s determine our Green Target value for the Bogey golfer.  We know he will be faced with a 171 yard shot to a column (4) green.  His maximum shot length is listed at 170 yards on a shot from the turf.  The shot would travel 150 yards in the air, then roll out another 20 yards.  The Transition table shows us that he can be ‘in transition’ when the hole is between 371-390 yards, although we must consider any Effective Playing Length factors.  For this hole, the rating team has only applied a Fairway Width adjustment for the ball tending to roll left and sometimes out of the fairway.  There were no adjustments made directly affecting the effective playing length.  Now, we’ll need to consider where the second shot will land for the Bogey golfer.

GT Bogey Shot

Bogey’s second shot will land roughly 21 yards short of the center of the green, and from there, have a decent chance to reach the center of the green at least half the time.  The biggest thing to consider here is that the landing zone happens to be an up-slope so he will probably not get his full bounce and roll of 20 yards all the time.  The rating team came to the conclusion that the ball will land about five yards short of the front edge of the green, bounce and roll to the center of the green a little more than half the time.  Using the Green Target rating table, a 171 yard shot for Bogey to a column (4) green yields a 4.5 under the 50/50 transition value.  The rating team agreed that he will reach the center of the green slightly more than half the time, so they will round the 4.5 value up to a Green Target of 5.

Next, we move ahead to the Scratch golfer’s second shot at about 121 yards.

GT Scratch Shot

Using the Green Target rating table, we have a 121 yard shot to a column (4) green which yields a 4 for the Scratch Green Target value.  This is what our rating form would look like to show the Green Target for both the Scratch and Bogey players:

GT shot data only

One of the most regularly applied adjustments under Green Target is the Visibility adjustment.  In this case, seeing more than half of the green surface is not an issue, but it is something our raters pay very close attention to on every single approach shot.

A lot of information to digest there!

Moving right along…in our next post, we’ll use this example to tie in the obstacle values for Recoverability and Rough (R&R) and then Bunkers to show the importance of assigning the correct Green Target values.

Course Rating Explained

Fairway Ratings

The Fairway rating obstacle is probably the least complicated of the ten that combine to give us an Obstacle Stroke Value that is applied to the Yardage Rating to finally end up with a USGA Course Rating.  The Fairway rating value reflects the difficulty of keeping the ball in the fairway from tee to green.  We arrive at the values based on fairway width in all landing zones, overall hole length, and nearby trees, hazards and punitive rough.  On holes with more than one landing zone, like long par fours not reachable in two for the bogey player and par fives, the higher of the fairway landing zone values is used in rating Fairway for that hole.  For par three holes, there is no fairway rating even if the Bogey golfer cannot reach the green in one shot.  Later, you’ll see how to handle a situation like that under Recoverability & Rough.

Let’s check out the Fairway Rating Table along with the adjustments to consider.

Fairway Table wAdjustments

 When measuring the width of the fairway, raters evaluate the entire landing zone, and take a measurement from the average distance within the (roughly) 20 yard long landing zone.  For example, if the beginning portion of the landing zone measures 34 yards and the ending portion 29 yards, the rating team would go off of 31 or 32 yard wide fairway width.  On holes where obstacles (bunkers, water hazards, etc.) reduce the fairway width in a portion of the landing zone, raters will measure from the narrowest point.

Let’s look at some examples of adjustments being used on the course for the Fairway rating.

Bogey Golfer

 Bala Fairway example1

In this example, we have a dogleg left par four that is just outside the reach of the Bogey golfer’s tee shot.  The hole itself measures 388 yards, and we know that the Bogey golfer can only reach 370 yards in two shots.  Usually, he would be faced with 18 more yards for his third shot to reach the center of the green.  Let’s think about how this dogleg design affects the line of play for the Bogey golfer.

We can see the line drawn goes to the very end of the Bogey’s 200 yard tee shot, and the tee shot also plays slightly uphill to boot.  The trees on the left side of the fairway have the Bogey player blocked out for his next shot toward the green, so a Fairway Obstructed (an adjustment for Bogey only) and a dogleg adjustment must be made by the rating team.  The Bogey player must adjust his line of play slightly to the right, and also has to hit less than a full shot, effectively adding about 30 yards to the hole.

Scratch Golfer

 Bala Fairway example2

The Scratch golfer also has a forced lay up due to this dogleg design.  His normal tee shot of 250 yards puts him well through the fairway and into the trees.  To stay near the center of the fairway, he is required to hit a shot about 220 yards.  Therefore, Scratch has a dogleg adjustment of +30 as well, his coming on the tee shot.  Both of our golfers will also have to apply the -1 Lay up adjustment for being forced to lay up and hitting less than a full shot.

Since we just covered Topography in our last post, we’ll include those ratings for this hole as well.

Adjustments are entered into the rating form in absolute values and would look like this:

(Remember Scratch ratings are in the left column, Bogey ratings on the right)

 bala fairway exampleFinal

Finally, let’s take a look at using the Fairway Width adjustment.  This is probably the most used adjustment when it comes to evaluating Fairway.  The Width adjustment can be an upward or downward adjustment, depending on whether the rating team concludes that the fairway is harder or easier to hit based on various factors.  It gives raters some flexibility in cases where terrain dictates where the ball will generally come to rest.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

In this photo, we can see how the fairway is definitely tilted from right to left in the landing zones.  The rating team would be warranted in adding a +1 Width adjustment since balls landing in the left portion of the fairway have a good chance of bouncing left and rolling into the rough, effectively lessening the width of the fairway.

The overall hole length here is 371 yards and the Fairway landing zone for Bogey is 36 yards wide, which yields a table value of 3.  The Scratch landing zone is 25 yards wide, which also yields a table value of 3.  As a result, both golfers would have a final Fairway rating of 4 (Table values of 3, plus one for the Width adjustment) for this hole.

In our next post, we’ll touch on the all important Green Target rating and follow that up with Recoverability & Rough and Bunkers, and how the Green Target rating drives the ratings of those two obstacles.

Course Rating Explained

Understanding the Scratch and Bogey Golfers

The goal of these posts is to give the reader a glimpse into how a rating team evaluates obstacles during a USGA Course Rating.  Before we really get into explaining the rating obstacles, let’s get familiar with what we are referring to when we reference the Scratch and Bogey players.  Here are some definitions and illustrations of the skill levels of each player and their limitations pertaining to the USGA Course Rating System.

Scratch and Bogey golfer

SnB Shot Lengths

Try not to think of the Scratch player as a PGA Tour Pro, but rather as someone that will shoot the equivalent of the Course Rating (the decimal number) about 20% of the time.  We all know there are Scratch (and Bogey) players that can (or think they can) hit the golf ball much farther than 250 yards off the tee (direction is always in question), but that is the standard we rate by in the USGA Course Rating System.  For more information on the ridiculous skill level of the game’s best, click here for Mario’s breakdown of Rory McIlroy’s performance in the 2011 US Open at Congressional.  Now that we have a brief introduction to our players, let’s learn about rating Topography.

Topography

Let’s jump into the USGA Course Rating System Manual and then show some examples of how a rating team evaluates obstacle values for Topography.

Topo Info

We know the Bogey golfer hits his tee shot 200 yards, and the Scratch golfer hits it 250 yards.  In evaluating Topography in the respective landing zones, we don’t simply go to the spot 200 and 250 yards from the tee.  We focus on the entire landing zones for each golfer.  For example, the landing zone consists of approximately 20 yards from where the ball lands, to where it rolls and comes to rest.  The rating team evaluates the effects of Roll and Uphill or Downhill conditions that will determine where the players’ shots will come to rest.  Once the proper landing zone is determined, the raters evaluate the entire landing zone for Topography.

Moving on to a couple of examples…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Here we can see yours truly in the fairway landing zone faced with a lie with the ball above my feet.  First, the raters would agree that this would qualify as a Moderately Awkward Stance or Lie, resulting in a starting value of 3 in the table.  Next we’ll have to consider if there is any elevation change from this point to the green surface, since this is an approach shot.  As you may be able to tell from the photo, in this case, we are almost level with the fairway, so there will be no further adjustment and our final rating value for Topography will be 3.

Now let’s check out some elevation change.

Par3TOPO

Here we have a par three hole that obviously plays downhill.  We can gather from our GPS measuring device that it is downhill by approximately 23 feet.  When we consult the Topography Rating Table, we see that a Par 3 is always equal to a starting value of 0, since it is a flat lie and you may tee the ball.  Next we need to find the appropriate row to accommodate our elevation change.  Knowing we are 23 feet above the green that number rounds down to -20, and the result is a final value of 2.

Here is something to keep in mind as we move forward through these obstacles.  There is a great line in the USGA Course Rating System Manual that reads:  Raters should be guided by what will probably happen, not by the extremes of what could happen.

Our next post will highlight the Fairway rating obstacle and show some examples of how raters measure widths and make adjustments.

Duties of a GAP Course Rater

Being a GAP course rater involves much more than one would normally think.  Volunteer course raters drive significant distances to show up at the course very early in the morning.  We have several raters that regularly drive between 500-1,000 miles each season!  They work as a team to solidify the backbone of the USGA Handicap System that allows golfers from all over the world to compete on an equitable basis.  Without an accurate USGA Course Rating, this would not be possible.

As you are probably aware, course yardage is the most heavily weighted factor of the USGA Course Rating System.  Yardage alone is responsible for more than 90% of the overall Course/Slope Rating from every tee you play.  The Golf Association of Philadelphia is responsible for measuring every tee of every course we rate.  Since 2006, we have been using our Trimble GeoXT handheld GPS measuring device to ensure we have the most accurate tee to green yardage possible.

The most important thing to keep in mind as a club is accurate tee placement on a day-to-day basis.  Here is a quick link for guidance on course setup from the USGA Handicap Manual.  This will ensure that your Handicap Differentials are an accurate reflection of the tees you played for that round.  This will go a long way in ensuring accuracy when you compete against players playing different tees (Section 3-5 of the USGA Handicap Manual).  We’ll save the Section 3-5 discussion for another post!

In addition to overall measured yardage of courses, our rating teams also make adjustments to individual hole lengths based on Effective Playing Length (EPL) factors.  Adjustments may be made due to more or less Roll, forced lay ups due to Water Hazards, Extreme Rough, etc., and yardage adjustments due to dogleg designs.  For example, if a golfer is able to ‘cut the corner’ of a dogleg, the rating team will adjust the yardage of the hole to make up for the distance gained by the player.  If a dogleg design forces a player to lay up because of it, yardage would be added to the hole.  These adjustments are one of the most crucial a rater makes, since yardage is the most important factor.

Raters evaluate each hole for both the scratch and bogey golfers.  The Scratch Rating is better known as the Course Rating, and the Bogey Rating is used to determine the Slope Rating.  Each obstacle is assigned a value from zero to ten.  Zero meaning the obstacle does not exist, and ten meaning the obstacle is of the most extreme significance.

Here are the ten obstacles and the ways raters evaluate each:

  • Topography – The evaluation of the impact of terrain on play, determined by slopes and mounds in the landing zone that affect stance/lie or if the shot to the green is uphill/downhill.
  • Fairway – This is an evaluation of the difficulty of keeping the ball in play from tee to green based on the following:  fairway width in all landing zones, hole length and nearby trees, hazards and punitive rough.
  • Green Target – The evaluation of the difficulty of hitting the green with the approach shot based on green dimension and shot length. Rater will also consider green surface visibility, firmness and contour.
  • Recoverability and Rough – Evaluation of the probability of missing the tee shot landing zone and the green, and the difficulty of recovering if either, or both, is missed.  R & R is based off of the green target rating and average grass height.
  • Bunkers – Determine how bunkers come into play and difficulty of recovery.  Things to consider include difficulty of the green target, forced carry over a bunker, fraction of the green surrounded by bunkers, the bunker’s size and depth, sand condition, etc.
  • Out of Bounds/Extreme Rough – How OB/ER impacts each shot based on proximity to the landing zone or green.  Also consider number of times OB/ER is in play, shot length to the target, or length of carry over extreme rough.  In addition, whether conditions along the boundary might assist or prevent a ball from going out of bounds or into extreme rough.
  • Water Hazards – Evaluated based on the shot length to carry a crossing water hazard and distance of the water hazard from the center of the landing zone or green.  Other factors include number of times the hazard is in play, fraction of the green surrounded by the hazard and location, size, and conditions in the hazard.  In addition, whether conditions near the hazard might assist or prevent a ball from going into the hazard.
  • Trees – Ratings are based on size and density, distance from the center of the landing zone or green to extending branches, difficulty of recovery based on the ability of the scratch golfer and the length of the shot.
  • Green Surface – The evaluation of the green based on its difficulty from a putting standpoint with consideration given to speed, surface contouring and slope or tilt.  Green Speed (measured in feet by the Stimpmeter) categories are:  6’11” or less, 7′-8’5″, 8’6″-9’11”, 10′-10’11”, 11′-11’11”, and 12′ or more.  There are three categories of Green Contour:  Relatively Flat or Gently Sloped, Moderately Contoured or Moderately Sloped, and Highly Contoured or Steeply Sloped.
  • Psychological – This obstacle is an evaluation based on the cumulative effect of other obstacles on a player’s score.  For example, the higher the sum of all obstacle values assigned five or more, the higher the psychological obstacle value is for that specific hole.

Playing the golf course is another important part of the rating process.  Sure, it’s fun, but it gives raters greater insight as to how the course plays based on the ratings they have assigned.  During and after playing, the rating team discusses and often adjusts its ratings.  It is a full day of work, but most find it to be very rewarding.

Going forward, we will highlight some interesting obstacle adjustments that our raters have come across during their duties.

Does the USGA Handicap System Contribute to Slow Play?

There was an interesting article posted recently in the Wall Street Journal which asked that very question. The article then goes on to explain that in foreign countries, handicap systems vary greatly from the USGA Handicap System.

 Great Britain and Ireland, by contrast, clubs might only designate one round per month, the so-called monthly medal, as eligible for handicap consideration. Golfers there post on average only three to five handicap scores per year. In Australia, almost every round a golfer plays is part of a competition and all those scores are crunched for handicaps. It’s common for Australians to post 30 or more competition scores a year.

What are your thoughts? With Equitable Stroke Control, the USGA has taken a step towards speeding up play for handicap posting purposes, but does that matter? Do enough players even know the rules to know what their ESC max score is on each hole? According to the USGA, they do not.

“The problem is that not even 5% of players actually know this,” said Steven Edmondson, the USGA’s managing director for handicapping and course rating. Culturally, Americans are simply more inclined to finish out every hole.

The article brings up some great points and topics that the governing bodies of golf will have to tackle in the years ahead. The idea of some sort of standard worldwide handicap system holds great appeal, but with different systems in place around the world, that’s likely not something that could be easily implemented. As the article mentions, the first step would have to be to standardize the course rating systems in use. It would take a monumental effort for such a task to be accomplished, but it’s certainly a good idea to start working towards now, and luckily for us golfers, the powers that be recognize this and have already met to talk about how to improve the system.

 

Changing Hole Yardage for a Specific Event – How to Handicap?

I recently got a query from a local club professional that brought up an interesting point, one that I wanted to pass on to the readers of the blog. From the pro:

“Playing 5 – 9 hole matches.  I’d like to set the golf course so that the players have a nice 2 days while hopefully keeping the pace under control.  In doing that, I’d like to move a couple of par 4’s forward while leaving the par 5’s +/- 5 yards of the white tee monuments, and the par 3’s to 4 different yardages each day.  The question or concern from a couple (1st/2nd Flight Players) is that:

The problem is that you fundamentally change holes that shots are being given on, which gives a big advantage to the group receiving the stroke. In a nine hole match, that is too much.

Unless you are going to make an equal and opposite adjustment to another hole on that nine, is just isn’t fair.”

My response to him was that there are two things to keep in mind with these changes. One is that, with the yardage change, you’d need to adjust the course rating and slope rating according to Section 5-2g of the USGA Handicap Manual. For a nine-hole adjustment, the proper procedure is to use the actual yardage difference for the adjustment to the USGA Course Rating, and double the yardage difference to find the appropriate Slope Rating adjustment. Here is the chart to use:

Once you’ve determined the updated course rating and slope rating, you can then determine each player’s course handicap. As for the concern of how it would affect the handicap allocation, according to Section 9-3a of the USGA Handicap System, the committee in charge of the competition is permitted to assign a custom allocation order for a specific competition. There are no specific guidelines from the USGA on how to do this custom, event-specific allocation, but the committee should use its best judgment to determine how the strokes should be allocated.

So in summary, those are the two things to keep in mind – one, adjust the rating to the new yardage, and two, you can create a custom allocation of handicap strokes specifically for this event.

The Short Course Revolution

Here at the Golf Association of Philadelphia, many of our Member Clubs are going a step further than the popular national ‘Tee it Forward’ campaign and creating a ‘Short Course’ within their existing course. This is also a result of the PGA Family Course Program, a nationwide initiative born through a collaboration between The PGA of America and U.S. Kids Golf.  Honeybrook Golf Club and Concord Country Club are just two clubs that have done this most recently.  Here is a sample of the courses from Honeybrook and Concord:

 

 

Layouts such as this are great for families of non-golfing parents and getting junior golfers interested in the game and out onto the course from the start.  It is also great to get beginner golfers started before their game is developed enough to take on the ‘big course’.

Short Courses can come in many different shapes and sizes.  They can be 18 holes, 15 holes, or even less than 9 holes.  A general requirement is that the total yardage of the course is less than 3,000 yards for 18 holes.

Course Ratings for Short Courses are a bit different.  A Short Course is only assigned a Course Rating, and no Slope Rating.  The difficulty of a Short Course is based only on the expert golfer.  It is not permitted to post scores made on a Short Course to your existing USGA Handicap.  A ‘Short Course Handicap’ is assigned for players who choose to keep a handicap on a Short Course.  A Short Course Handicap is only for that individual set of tees and is not portable to other Short Courses.  For a more in depth look at the development of the Short Course Handicap, please visit this link to an article published by the USGA.

For more general information about USGA Course Rating, please click here.

Course Rating Changes for 2012

In addition to the changes to the USGA Handicap System referenced in our last post, there were a number of minor adjustments to the USGA Course Rating System for the 2012-2015 edition of the Course Rating Manual, as well. The document linked below provides a summary of the changes to the system that were officially introduced on January 1, 2012. Unless you’re one of our course rating volunteers or have been in the past, it may not seem to make much sense to you, but we wanted to give you a look into the course rating world.

Changes to the USGA Course Rating System for 2012

New Handicap Procedures for 2012

As we turned the calendar over to 2012, that marked the beginning of a new rules year. Not only is there an update to the Rules of Golf, but there’s also an updated USGA Handicap Manual. I thought I’d use the first post of the new year to take a look at some of the changes and see how they might affect you, the player.

  • The first change is an amended definition of the term “Authorized Golf Association” in Section 2. The new definition is more specific.
  • Also in Section 2, the radius for a Type 2 golf club member was upped to 75 miles (Type 3 remains at 50 miles).
  • In both Section 4 and Section 5, the phrase “Principles of the Rules of Golf” was added, replacing “Rules of Golf”. Why? Well according to the USGA,

The phrase “ in accordance with the principles of the Rules of Golf “ refers to situations where the player has played a hole in such a manner that the score would be sufficiently accurate to be used for handicap computation purposes. Occasionally, holes are not played strictly in accordance with the Rules of Golf. Thus, flexibility has been provided in the USGA Handicap System for a score to remain acceptable for handicap posting purposes in certain situations. This policy better ascertains the player’s potential ability by attempting to capture more scores for handicap purposes than just those made in accordance with the Rules of Golf. For example, a player starting but not finishing a hole in stroke play (e.g., picking up before  holing out) records the “most likely score” for handicap purposes (see Section 4-1).

 If a player uses a Distance (only) Measuring Device or plays a round under preferred lies, regardless of the Local Rule established, the score remains acceptable for handicap purposes. (See Decision 5-1e/2 and Section 7.) This policy also includes situations that are generally out of the player’s control, such as incorrectly installed hole liners or an incorrectly marked golf course. (See Section 15-5.)

  • In Section 8-3, the National Revision Schedule was officially implemented. We’ve known about this change for over a year, and in fact, the Golf Association of Philadelphia, along with all of our neighboring associations, implemented this change in 2011. The National Revision Schedule states that all state and regional golf associations will revise handicaps on the 1st and 15th of each month. The uniformity is key to a player from our region who also holds a handicap in a year-round posting state like Florida, because his or her handicap will always be the same in both areas, whereas previously the player could have different handicap indexes, depending on the revision schedule in the area.

That’s a quick look at the first few changes in the manual for our next four-year cycle. Check back soon for another post on the changes and what effect that they might have on you in this upcoming season. Happy New Year!