Two Golfers, Two Tees, Game On!

Meet John. He’s a solid player, 2.6 handicap index, and he’s looking for a game. He arrives to his home course as a single, and hopes to get paired up with some solid players. Meet Jill. She’s a decent player in her own right, breaks 90 often and she’s also looking to play for a couple of bucks – it’s always a little more fun with money on the line. As luck would have it, they get paired together. John plays from the tips, while Jill plays from the forward tees – now, how can they play a fair match?

John suggests that based on their USGA handicaps, John plays to a 4 handicap from the tips at this course, and Jill plays to a 17 from her tees, but since the course is almost 700 yards shorter from the front tees, Jill should have to give up half her handicap strokes. Jill didn’t feel this was fair, and suggested they both play from the white tees as a compromise to make the course difficulty the same, and they can play at 100% handicaps.

What they don’t know, is every scorecard gives them the tools to ensure they can play a match, from different tees, with different handicaps equitably and fairly. Here’s how:

Take a peek at the table below – Jill’s handicap from the front tees at this course is 17, while John’s is 4. So Jill has to give John 13 strokes… but this is only the first adjustment. Now the course rating comes into play (course rating basically means the average score a scratch golfer would shoot on the course), in this case, from the tips the course plays to a 73.9 for John, and a 71.1 for Jill. With rounding, there’s a three shot difference here… so, with everything taken into account, Jill would end up receiving 10 handicap strokes.

We hope the next time you head out to the course looking for a game and get paired up with someone who plays on a different level… whether that’s better or worse – you now can now have fun, fair match.


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