This month, we discuss three safeguards built into the handicap system to help ensure that Handicap Indexes remain as accurate as possible. We also look at highlights of the inaugural OUTsurance Invitational.
According to Rule 5 of the Rules of Handicapping, ‘A player’s Handicap Index should represent their demonstrated ability and, where appropriate, be responsive to scores that are inconsistent with their demonstrated ability.’ To that end, certain safeguards have been put in place to help ensure that a player’s Index remains reflective of their ability and that equity is retained for all golfers.
Playing Conditions Calculation (PCC)
In short, the PCC compares the actual scores submitted for a given course each day to the expected scores of the players who submitted them. If the actual scores are unusually low or high compared to the expected scores, a value of between -1 and +3 is applied when the score differential is calculated.
The purpose of this feature is to recognise that an average score submitted in harder playing conditions may be better than a good score submitted in easier playing conditions.
The PCC takes place at the end of each day, so only scores posted on the day of the round will factor into the calculation—hence one of the reasons why it’s so important that players submit their scores on the day of play. But even when a player fails to do this, the PCC value will be applied to their score when it is eventually submitted.
Soft- and Hard Caps
It is quite normal for golfers to experience a dip in form from time to time, but since their underlying ability typically remains unchanged and a rise in form is usually on the horizon, the World Handicap System (WHS) implemented a limit on the upward movement of a player’s Handicap Index over a 365-day period.
The Soft Cap is triggered when the difference between a player’s newly calculated Handicap Index and their Low HI—a player’s lowest Index over the past 365 days—is greater than 3.0 strokes. The value above 3.0 strokes is restricted to 50% of the increase.
The Hard Cap is triggered when a 5.0-stroke increase has taken place and prevents the Index from increasing further.
A player’s home club can override the cap, but only if a player has experienced an injury or illness or if there is another good reason to believe that their underlying ability has declined.
Exceptional Score Reduction (ESR)
WHS research shows that when a player records an exceptional score—technically defined as a score differential that is seven shots or more lower than their Handicap Index—they are more likely to play below their Handicap Index thereafter. For this reason, their Index is slightly reduced to reflect their demonstrated ability better and prevent them from having an unfair advantage.
When an exceptional round is posted, the 1- or 2-shot adjustment is applied to the 20 most recent score differentials in the player’s scoring record. As a result, the impact of the reduction both remains after new scores are submitted but also gradually diminishes over time.
12 lucky golfers take part in the OUTsurance Invitational
OUTsurance, in partnership with HNA and GolfRSA, hosted the inaugural OUTsurance Invitational on the 18th of October, and it was an unforgettable experience for 12 lucky golfers.
Every golfer on the system who showed an improvement in their Handicap Index between August and September was automatically entered into a draw for 12 spots at the all-expenses-paid event. These were the lucky players who teed it up with members of the GolfRSA National Squad at the Blair Atholl Golf Estate:
Pattison Mutambiranwa (Blue Valley Golf Estate)
Kamil Hirjee (Port Shepstone Country Club)
Adrian Samuels (Langebaan Golf & Sports Club)
Thebie Kunene (Manzini Golf Club)
Marius Douglas (Port Shepstone Country Club)
Candice Rowles (Benoni Lake Golf Club)
Graham Sacks (Royal J & K Golf Club)
Adriaan Roux (Newcastle Country Club)
Keith Stewart (Humewood Golf Club)
Steven Hearne (Akasia Golf Club)
Nico du Plessis (Germiston Golf Club)
Tom Ferreira (Bellville Golf Club)
Thanks to everyone who made this day possible, and please keep an eye out for a new event in 2023! Highlights of the event can be viewed here.
Quote of the Month
‘Confidence, of course, is an admirable asset to a golfer, but it should be an unspoken confidence. It is perilous to put it into speech. The gods of golf lie in wait to chasten the presumptuous.’—P.G. Wodehouse