system I would like to suggest would be used only in pro-amateur and handicap
four-ball play as follows. The handicap scale would range from 0 to 18, as it
is not usual to give a player in partnership play more than one stroke per hole
or to make a scratch amateur compete with a minus handicap. In order to
determine the correct handicap you would average the number of pars and birdies
made by the player in his previous 10 rounds. Starting with 18 points, a player
would be docked one point for every par and two points for each birdie. Mr. A,
our short-hitting friend, averages seven pars per round, so his handicap would
remain the same as under the USGA system: 11. Mr. B, on the other hand,
averages six pars and two birdies giving him a total of 10 points per round.
This would lower his handicap to eight.
Under my system,
the player's full handicap is always used. On this basis, Mr. A in the
pro-amateur would have given his professional partner one net birdie and seven
pars for a best-ball of 33 instead of 34. Mr. B with eight strokes would have
still helped his pro with four net birdies and one eagle, with no change in
their best-ball of 30. This does not make Mr. A and Mr. B even, but it helps to
narrow the gap.
member-guest event, Mr. C being a comparable player to Mr. A has the same
handicap under my system, but since they receive their full 11 strokes, their
net best-ball is now 33. Mr. D, who averages the same number of pars and
birdies as Mr. B, also has his handicap reduced to eight. Now their net
best-ball has become 34. But they are, in match play, only 1 up on Mr. A and
Mr. C, instead of 3 up.
The heart and
soul of stroke play is consistency. Consistency plays little part in four-ball,
best-ball play. Why, then, use a stroke play yardstick to determine a golfer's
match-play handicap? When you have a steady partner and you have a good
handicap it's not what you score but the birdies and eagles you shoot that win
the match for your side.
adjustment is necessary to make the system uniform throughout the country; for
those who play regularly on a course that is under 6,200 yards, deduct two
points from the score of birdies and pars; for those who play on a course in
excess of 6,700 yards, add two points.
contains a table. Please see hardcopy of magazine or PDF.]