Average handicaps rise under new system

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JUST released figures show the average male and female handicaps in Australia have risen since the introduction of the new golf handicapping system on 9 April.

The average male handicap rose by 1.15 points whilst for women it was 2.21 points.

But the average increases were not even across the handicap ranges, with low single figure players more likely to have their handicap decrease slightly under the new system.

Those with high handicaps were more likely to blow out by more strokes.

Just over 16 percent of male golfers had their handicaps increase by three or more strokes.

Golf Australia said the main points from the statistics were:

  • For both females & males, low single figure handicap players are likely to have had their handicap decrease slightly under the new system. Players with higher handicaps are likely to have experienced an increase under the new system (and the higher the old handicap, the greater the increase).
  • The average female handicap is about 10 strokes higher than the average male handicap (The same under both systems)
  • Under the old handicap calculation method, the higher a player’s handicap, the greater the downward increase resulting from a ‘good’ score, whereas the new method does not discriminate.
  • The average male handicap rose by about 1 stroke, whilst the average female handicap rose by about 2 strokes.
  • For all handicap ranges, the move to the new calculation method produced a reasonable amount of movement (both upward and downward) in handicaps. The vast majority of this movement was within the range of plus or minus 4 strokes.

GA said the fact that upward increases of greater than 4 strokes were  largely restricted to high handicap players addressed previous concerns of unfairness (where an outward increase would essentially only occur in increments of 0.1) that it would take 30 consecutive “bad” rounds for a player’s handicap to reflect an outward correction of 3 strokes.
This was patently unfair on a player who had one (or a very small number) of uncharacteristically “good” rounds or who experienced a demonstrable trend of changed form (an occurrence which is more prevalent in the higher handicap golfer).

Generally greater consistency by low markers is reflected in the fact that their handicaps decreased slightly.

See the full figures here

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Brian is the editor and founder of ASG. He is a former Sydney journalist and is now an avid "senior" golfer. Brian is a member of the Australian Golf Media Association.

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