Today it is to guess. Planned and registered with the club is an EDS round, an "Extra Day Score", i.e. a handicap-effective game. Two or more players go out on the course and count each other's strokes - in strict compliance with the rules, of course.
Ultimately, I want to improve my personal handicap. Strictly speaking, I don't even have a handicap with a -51 on my club card, because the value up to and including -37 is called the "club handicap. In order not to make it too complicated, however, I will continue to use the term handicap here.
By the way, the purpose of this handicap is not only to be able to say with a simple number how well or badly one is able to play golf. This number can also be used to allow players to compete against each other who differ significantly in terms of their ability on the course. A conversion system makes it possible.
The keyword is "Stableford," which ultimately - after the round - can also be used to calculate the new value for the club card. An example helps to understand: The holes of a golf course are categorized, classified as par 3, par 4 or par 5. This respective number tells how many strokes a player with handicap 0 needs to hole the ball. For example, 3 strokes for a par 3 hole.
If the player achieves this par, i.e. needs exactly as many strokes as specified, he receives 2 Stableford points for the hole. For every deviating stroke there is one point more or less, who holes a par 3 with four strokes, gets only 1 Stableford point, who needs only 2 strokes, gets 4 Stableford points.
What may sound a bit complicated at first, is actually quite simple. In short: The less strokes per hole, the more Stableford points. The par of the hole determines the basis.
So if our example golfer with a handicap of 0 plays par on all 18 holes during the round, he will receive two Stableford points per hole and will have earned 36 points accordingly at the end. He has thus confirmed his handicap.
Let's take a rookie as another example: His handicap is -54. That's where every player starts after having passed his golf license. Of course, such a rookie will not be able to reach the par requirements per hole, but will need more strokes.
How many strokes he may play to confirm his handicap, says the handicap itself. Because the value indicates how many strokes the player may need more than the course standard, that is, the value of all par holes added together. This standard is usually 72 for 18 holes. A player with a handicap of -54 may need 54 strokes more than the standard, which is 72+54= 126 strokes.
To find out how many strokes more it is per hole, divide the handicap value by 18, the number of holes of a complete course round. In our example, 54 : 18 = 3, so the player may play 3 strokes more per hole in addition to the par requirement to reach his handicap. A par 3 hole with 6 strokes therefore corresponds to his ability, his personal par. Likewise a par 4 with 7 strokes and of course a par 5 with 8 strokes.
In order to be able to compare oneself directly with any other player and also to be able to calculate after the round whether one has earned one's handicap or perhaps was better or worse, there are the Stableford points.
As an example a competition between a player with handicap -18 and one with handicap -36 may serve. The better player may note one stroke more per hole to play his personal par, the worse player has two strokes extra. If both players play their personal par on a par 3 hole, they each receive 2 Stable Ford points and are therefore equally good in relation, although they differ in terms of ability.
If both have scored 36 Stableford points at the end of the round, they have not only been equally good - taking into account their respective personal handicaps - they have also confirmed their handicaps.
It is not least this calculation that makes golf so exciting and interesting. There is no other sport where opponents with different handicaps can still compete with each other in a fair way.
If you've thought this far, you'll have noticed the following: We have calculated handicaps that can be divided by the number of holes on a course, i.e., 18, to arrive at an integer value in each case. But what happens if the handicap is 31, for example? 31 : 18 = 1,72.
Again, this is not as difficult as it may seem. After all, you can't take a 0.72 stroke, so if the handicap is 31, you would first take 18, which is again easily divisible and assigns one more stroke to each hole. So our 31 handicapper may need one stroke more on each hole to confirm his handicap.
But there are still 13 strokes left. And these are distributed according to the difficulty of the holes, which is usually displayed on the scorecard or can be found in the clubhouse of the respective course. For the 13 most difficult holes, our player then gets another stroke added for his personal par. So, in the end, he may need two strokes more on 13 holes and only one stroke more on the remaining 5 holes to play his handicap.
By the way, if you have ever heard the terms "birdie", "bogey", "double bogey" or even "eagle" or "albatross", you are also in the right place. With these terms you can tell how many strokes off the par you needed for a hole. A "birdie" is a stroke under par, so a par 3 hole was completed with 2 strokes, an "eagle" means the hole was completed with 2 strokes under par, an "albatross" 3 strokes under par. And there are also designations for more strokes per hole. If you have to note down one stroke more than par, you have played a "bogey", if you have 2 strokes more, it is a "double bogey".
By the way, I was not able to play my very personal handicap improvement round, my "Extra Day Score", because my teammate and counter fell ill. Unfortunately, I can't play alone. And so I'm waiting for the next opportunity and trying to fight the inner pig that always wants to keep me from practicing on the range.
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