We have noticed that there is significant discussion among golfers regarding stroke allocation at their respective clubs. Therefore, in this month’s newsletter, we will delve into the background of this issue, as well as discuss the stroke allocation recommended for golf courses by the World Handicap System (WHS).
We are certain that you understand that where you receive your strokes has no impact on your individual Stableford score. The order in which strokes are received is primarily relevant to match-play games and only has a minor effect on betterball Stableford scores, depending on where the lower-handicapped players receive their strokes.
Worldwide research by the USGA and other bodies has indicated that the specific locations where strokes are allocated are not crucial in producing equitable results, provided that:
- the strokes are distributed evenly;
- consecutive low strokes are avoided, and;
- there are no low strokes at the beginning and end of a nine.
In this regard, the WHS recommends a six-triad structure for stroke allocation, where each hole is ranked based on its playing difficulty relative to par.
Applying this concept entails using three-hole clusters, with the lowest stroked holes on each nine in the middle of the nine, spreading out low-stroke holes, and avoiding consecutive low-stroke holes.
This approach provides a simple but effective method of allocation. The comprehensive Course Rating data for each hole at a golf course should be used to rank the holes by difficulty.
For those of you interested below is part of the recommended procedure as outlined in Appendix E of the Rules of Handicapping. Clubs are advised to follow this procedure to allocate strokes and therefore align with clubs around the world.
Stroke Index Allocation
It is recommended that a stroke index allocation be applied over 18-holes, split into six triads with each hole ranked on its playing difficulty relative to par from the course rating data.
The recommended methodology and procedures for determining a stroke index allocation within the six-triad structure, designed to accommodate both stroke play and match play formats, are as follows:
- Apply odd stroke index allocations over the front nine and even stroke index allocations over the back nine. If, however, the back nine is significantly more difficult than the front nine, as determined by the Course Rating, the even stroke index allocations can be switched to the front nine and the odd stroke index allocations to the back nine.
- Spread stroke index allocations evenly over the 18 holes so that players receiving strokes will have the opportunity to use a high proportion of these strokes before a match result has been decided.
- Apply the lowest stroke index hole (1 or 2) on each nine in the middle triad. If no hole within the middle triad is ranked within the lowest 6 holes relative to par, then it can be moved into an adjacent hole at the end of the first triad or the beginning of the third triad on each nine.
- Apply the second lowest stroke index hole (3 or 4) on each nine in the first or third triad, unless the lowest stroke index hole has been allocated in that same triad.
- If possible, avoid low stroke indexes (6 or less) on consecutive holes.
- When a player receives more than 18 strokes, the same allocation order is used with stroke index 1 repeating as stroke index 19, 37 and 55, with all additional strokes going up sequentially.
Quote of the Month
“Golf acts as a corrective against sinful pride. I attribute the insane arrogance of the later Roman Emperors almost entirely to the fact that, never having played golf, they never knew that strange chastening humility which is engendered by a topped chip shot.”— P.G. Wodehouse
The Handicaps Team