Early Bird Random Drawing Prizes Set

Once again the world's largest golf tournament is shelling out major prizes vc300-combo_jpg_egdetailfor participants well before a ball is teed off. Entrants that sign up for this great event within the first 14 days are automatically eligible for random drawings worth over $10,000 from brand name manufacturers.

"We want to reward the loyal players that know they're coming to the event and give them a great reason to sign up early." said Tournament Director Jeff Monday. "Some people have been waiting since they left Myrtle Beach to get the party started again. Fortunately for them, this is just the beginning of what is sure to be another exciting year as we roll out a bunch of new additions to the event atmosphere.  As always, we'll continue to do more giveaways throughout the year as we rev up for the event in late August." ClubGlove Lost Bag

The list of prizes up for grabs include:

  • Twenty (20) - Custom ClubGlove LAST BAG™ Travel Bags
  • Twenty (20) - Voice Caddie VC300SE™ GPS Devices
  • Twenty (20) - Custom Oakley 5-Speed Backpacks
  • Four (4) - 3-Dozen Nike RZN Tour Platinum golf balls

Be sure to like us on Facebook as we dish out even more prizes on a regular basis! Entry opens on March 29th and the early entry fee is only $525 through May 18th. To learn more about what is included in your entry for the 2017 World Am, click here.

Athletes

Athletes and Their Golf Handicaps

You’ve been asked the question before, “What is your dream foursome?”

For me, I’m picking guys like Cal Ripken and Steve Spurrier. But there are a TON of athletes who play a round here and there just like you or I. The only difference, pro athletes tend to be good at just about everything they get their hands on.

That got us thinking. Who are some of the best non-PGA TOUR players that chose a different path or picked up the game late? Let’s take a look at some of the top golfers you probably never knew could stick it from 200 yards out.

Robbie Gould

Kicker – Active

Career Long FG: 58 yards

Handicap Index: 4.0

Athletes

Keeping his handicap in the Chicago area, likely through his 10 year stint with the Bears, Robbie knows how to hit the flat stick. What stands out about his index is the sheer magnitude of difficult golf courses he frequents. While the CDGA does not show the courses he plays, we can see course ratings and slopes in the high 70’s.

That’s what the pro’s play. Or in football terms, constantly being asked to kick 60 yard field goals, in freezing weather, into the wind. Guess he likes a challenge. He rarely breaks 80, but that’s because he’s constantly playing courses tougher than Bethpage.

 

 

Aaron Rodgers

Quarterback – Active

Super Bowl Winning QB

Handicap Index: 4.0

Athletes

There has to be some correlation to being an elite NFL QB and elite golfer. The QB’s left standing through conference championship weekend this year all keep sub-8 handicap indexes. Big Ben, Brady and Matt Ryan are right there with him.

I tend to think Rodgers' index is the most impressive given he’s getting the least opportunity to play in Wisconsin. His index shows he pretty much only plays in April – June. And if you know anything about golf, you have to be a natural athlete to pick up a golf club right where you left off which he does with ease.

 

JR Smith

Shooting Guard – Active

2016 World Champion

Handicap Index: 3.3

Athletes

JR Smith has long been making a name for himself before taking the World title to Cleveland this past year. The former first round draft pick is also a member at two local golf clubs in northern Ohio. He started hitting the links a bunch the summer after their loss to Golden State in the finals. But he took a sabbatical after he logged 20 rounds which we imagine helped take his mind off the loss.

 

 

 

Roger Clemens

Pitcher – Retired

The Rocket – 4,000+ career K’s

Handicap Index: 5.2

Athletes

The Rocket is known for playing in the pro-ams on the PGA TOUR. Not only that but he has challenged himself against regular guys like me and you at the Myrtle Beach World Amateur.

Roger is a member at three clubs in Texas and plays enough golf not have to worry about his monthly social dues. He’s posted 83 scores since January 2016. Among those we saw Merion, Pine Valley, Riviera and Pebble Beach. Safe to say he’s a traveling golfer. Not just that, but almost a quarter of his rounds are played in tournaments which means he hasn’t lost that competitive spirit that made him one of the best athletes in the world. At a 5.2 index, I’d be willing to bet he’s taken home a few trophies in his member-member.


Matt Ryan

Quarterback – Active

4-time Pro Bowler

Handicap Index: 1.9

Athletes

Matty Ice, 2016 NFL MVP, is known for being an avid golfer. His membership at the Capital City Club in Georgia shows a more frequent posting pattern than Aaron Rodgers and other NFL athletes. The Atlanta climate allows him to hit the links January – July, assuming his golf season doesn’t start late due to great performance on the field.

Ryan is no stranger to top tier golf courses. His log includes East Lake, home of the TOUR Championship in Atlanta along with a recent three day stretch at Pine Valley.

 


Steph Curry

Point Guard – Active

The Golden Child

Handicap Index .8

Athletes

Steph Curry, one-half of the Splash Brothers, one-half amazing golfer. Curry, one of the most popular athletes in the world, plays frequently in the Safeway Open and Reno Tahoe Open and recently teed it up with Tiger Woods and Harold Varner III this past October.

When he’s not dropping dimes on the court he is busy posting sub 70 scores on the course. In fact the last time he played was Halloween at Phoenician Desert in Scottsdale where he shot 68 the day after throwing up 28pts on the Suns the night before.

 

Tyler Clippard

Relief Pitcher – Active

New York Yankees

Handicap Index: .1

Athletes

The guy with the rec specs can blow a fastball right past you on the mound but he also hits it a country mile. Clippard, a former high school golfer from Florida, can flat out play at essentially a scratch index.

His golf game is among the best for active ballplayers and he gets to play quite frequently in his home state of Florida. A member at Avila Golf & CC, Tyler plays during the MLB season but much more so in the fall at some great tracks. In his most recent history he’s played Innisbrook, Spyglass, Bethpage and Muirfield Village to name a few. Just a few months ago he posted a 69 at his home club. I don’t think any fellow Yankees will be giving him strokes any time soon.


Phil Mickelson

PGA TOUR Golfer

5-time Major Winner

Handicap Index: +5.8

Athletes

Okay so Phil is obviously not a MLB ball player. We just wanted to give you a baseline as to what the TOUR players indexes are like. What’s that plus sign next to his index you ask? It means they ADD strokes to his score in a net event. Shooting 66 probably isn’t a good day at your local municipal course for Phil but it’s great that he still keeps an index to help us feel even worse about ourselves.
Bonus!

Donald Trump

President of the United States

Handicap Index: 2.8…

Athletes

…2.8.. Right, and I’m the Dalai Lama. While I don’t want to speak ill about our current President, it’s rumored Trump maybe isn’t familiar with the rules of golf. Rules like having to putt until the ball is in the hole. Or, whatever that term mulligan is.

Trump is listed as a member at six of his very own courses in addition to Winged Foot. He clearly does not keep up with his index. The Vanity Bagger tagline suits him quite well. We’ll let him have his 2.8 index, because well, he’s the President and I won’t tell him he’s any different. Just don’t take him as your partner in the member-guest unless you’re willing to turn a blind eye or lose your wallet in the process.

So there you have it. Some of the best in the game are actually two-sport athletes. Which ones would you like to tee it up with? Comment on Facebook your dream foursome.

The Time Cory Changed The World… AM

Not all handicap calculation services were created equal. Since the dawn of the internet, hundreds upon hundreds of dot com services have claimed to offer USGA approved handicap calculations. From places like fairwayfiles.com to nethandicap.com, we've seen it all-- and they aren't pretty.

 

When you think about it, who wouldn’t try to take advantage of what the USGA created? Those with even the slightest tech awareness wrote out the calculation on their hastily made website and sold it to unbeknownst consumers without the legal authorization to use the USGA intellectual property.

 

There are also the many that do it properly. The golden standard in our world is the GHIN system and has helped them earn its monopoly over the users. The next ones (and no lesser valued) in line are Golfnet and BlueGolf.

 

Aaron Rodgers CoryIn the vast majority of the large handicap tournaments around the World (including some state associations) the committee will ask the player to submit their lowest handicap index over a 12 month period. Whether you agree or not with the use of this information is inconsequential. What is important is that the information is visible as it is extremely pertinent to what we want to accomplish.

 

GHIN, USHandicap, MyScorecard.com, Golfnet, BlueGolf.. all these services are recognizable in our industry with one that didn't meet our qualifications. BlueGolf is a great service that provides everything from handicaps to one-day tournament scoring to player registrations. Many state associations use it for its one-stop-shop services.

 

Included in their client list are the Golf Channel Am Tour and the Wisconsin and Indiana State Golf Associations. So when the World Am announced their request to obtain the lowest 12 month index from players belonging to these associations there was a brief panic among those it affected. We knew these players would have issues submitting proper information as their system only went back 9, or 4, or 11 months.. even we weren't sure the method to the madness.

 

So we informed the players to contact us and we would calculate a proper index based on what we could see. Trouble was, the alternative usually was if you can't provide it, we'll reduce it 5% per our historical data.  This did not sit well with many.

 

Two scenarios could play out with the missing 1-9 months of information. Either the player had a lower index in the mystery time period and would never inform us OR the player knew it was never lower in that time period and refused to accept the 5% reduction.

 

That's when 1.. 2.. 20 players jumped on the phone with their local state association and said, "What are you doing to me!?" They wondered why they were one of the few reputable handicap calculations that couldn't provide this vital information. Each player calling threatening to move their handicap over to one of the thousands afforded to them with the luxury of the internet.

 

Not wanting to lose 200+ players from IN/WI/GolfChannel who play in the World Am, Blue Golf got on a conference call with our very own handicap connoisseur, Cory. The two states, their handicap chairmen and Cory jumped on a conference call on August 17th amidst  15 incoming calls/minute in our offices and hashed out all the details as to what we [the World Am] needed to operate successfully. Three hours later, the entire website had been retrofit to be exactly the way we needed it to be.

 

Cory literally changed how an entire company and three associations operate and bettered the World Am in the process. We can't thank him enough.

 

**Post Edit**

Since the writing of this article, the Grint has also adopted the method of providing the last 24 revisions to match what we request of players in the tournament.

The Time I Was A Caddy For A Week

Part of working in the golf business means you get to meet some very interesting and talented people. There’s one person out there who has always had my back and helped me out professionally on the way. This time he outdid himself.

After another successful year working with the Monday after the Masters Pro-Am it was time to relax and unwind from a long week of work. Not so fast. My former boss man gave me a ring that Tuesday evening and said he needed a favor. "Of course" I said sure without hesitation or question.

He says, “I need you to caddy for one of my guys this weekend.” That’s awesome news. I don’t even consider that a favor. It would be a great time caddying for a professional golfer on the PGA TOUR, getting between the ropes. Hilton Head and caddy bibthe RBC Heritage is just a short drive away. I’ll leave tonight even. As soon as my heart starts racing he pauses as if to wonder why I’m so excited.

Then it hits me after he asks if I have a passport. OH. Web.com Tour. In Leon — Mexico. Got it.

He sets me up to book my ticket with PGA TOUR Player services (which has phenomenal customer service by the way). Every TOUR player and their people have their own hotline to book plane tickets, hotels, you name it. When making the reservation, I’m told book whatever works best and you’ll be reimbursed after. Delta is my only option, and being that the flight is tomorrow, there’s only one ticket left and it’s in first class. Sweet! Leon, Mexico here I come in style. Wait, where is that again?

Because we got there on Wednesday evening, we have no background of the golf course. But the guy I’m looping for isn’t phased by it in the least. He’s a John Daly type. Give him a club and he’ll hit it straight and far.  I bunked up with another caddy making the trip and he gave me a few pointers for the course and your typical do’s and dont’s on the course.

First round, first tee time of the morning. So much for a chance to walk the course. Bright and early at El Bosque Country Club. The sun is barely up and we’re at our first hole, a long par 5. Leon is at about 6,000 feet elevation so the air is thinner and makes changes in your distances. No need for advice on the tee, par 5, driver, spanks it down the
middle. First yardage of the day comes for what normally would be 225. Grip it and rip it, right?

If only it were that easy. 225 is the actual yardage to the front of the green. +7 for the pin. -5% for morning time elevation. -10 downhill. Wind from left to right. Okay, that’s uh.. 210. Perfect, “it's 210, adjusted” I said in my most confident sounding voice. He grabs his 5 hybrid like a pro and sticks it to eight feet for eagle. Maybe I have this caddy thing down?

Coming into this I did not ask a thing about finances assuming it would be pro bono but I couldn’t help but wonder at that moment what the winning share for the tournament was. Something around $150,000, or maybe $1mil in pesos. A caddy gets 5-8%. Hey! A solid $10k payday coming my way! There I go again getting ahead of myself.

He three putts and we miss the cut.caddy tacos

Two rounds of brutal walking up and down hills in the mountains. It was a ton of fun and a great learning experience. Got to eat real tacos, watch a PGA TOUR winner play 36 holes and chat with the rest of the group. One of which won his first PGA TOUR event not 6 months later. I’d like to think he used some of my words of wisdom to get that first notch in his belt.

It’d be nice to think that will be my last impromptu trip to Mexico for a golf tournament, but I thought that back in 2011 when a similar phone call came in. “You’re needed in Mayakoba, Mexico for 10 days, can we count on you…”

“…to jump in the Don Pepe Pelota mascot costume and entertain tourists all week?”  Maybe I should start asking more questions before diving into my next adventure.

Your Golf Cost of Living

The most common statements I get at our smaller tournaments regarding perceived inequity in handicaps is "But you have me playing from the seniors tee and my handicap is established from the mens," or "I can't compete against those guys! They get to play a 400 yard shorter golf course!"

I'm here to explain why those sentences mean nothing to me.

I also hear the concern of "My home course is supremely easy/difficult so my handicap is much higher/lower than it should be so!".

I'm here to explain why that sentence should mean nothing to you!

A handicap index is defined as portable.  A number that can be relevant in any language or place (or golf course). Hence why we're able to host over 30 countries at the World Am yearly! So what does that mean exactly? Allow me break it down in terms that are more relatable.

Picture a yearly salary for four people who hypothetically have the same job for the same company. Each makes a different amount of money in a different area of the United States.

Name Handicap Index Hometown Cost of Living Salary
Michael 15.5 Atlanta, GA $$$ $80,000
Scott 15.5 New York City $$$$ $100,000
Danny 15.5 Orlando, FL $$ $60,000
Brenda 15.5 Pueblo, CO $ $40,000

We can reason that each of these people have the same standard of living given their salaries in relation to their cost of living.

Now let's substitute cost of living with course difficulty and salary with course handicap. We call this your "Golf Cost of Living".

Name Handicap Index Home Course Course Difficulty Course Handicap
Michael 15.5 Atlanta CC *** 17
Scott 15.5 Bethpage **** 19
Danny 15.5 Streamsong ** 15
Brenda 15.5 Walking Stick * 13

Notice the correlation? Scott probably shoots in the 90's.. the worst of the four, but his salary was the highest. A high Golf Cost of Living correlates to a high course difficulty. Groceries, housing, and electric are the golf equivalent of fast greens, deep bunkers and high rough. Yes he shoots higher scores, but he has a higher Golf Cost of Living. So in reality, the four couldn't be more alike.

Say Company ABC says they're shutting down each of those four offices and they'll be consolidating all offices to Myrtle Beach, SC. As part of the deal ABC tells their employees their new salaries will all be $63,000 based on the cost of living in their new hometown. Danny is going to make less while Brenda is due for a 'raise'. But, we know it's not a raise. She's going to need more to survive just like Danny will need less.

Take a look at the two players below. Both are 15.5 indexes. Scott is a 40 year old male who plays the mens tees while Danny is 60 and plays the senior tees. They play entirely different golf courses than each other.

scott
danny

If we compare their last 20 scores we see the average of Danny's best 10 scores is 85.4 while Scott's average is 88.3. Because Scott 'lives in NYC', and thus has a higher Golf Cost of Living, his scores are much higher than Danny's. Yet at the end of the day they are identical in their personal standard of living.. or rather, their golf handicap index.

Golf CostMost people will assume Danny will beat Scott due to their scoring perception but if you placed them on the same tee box (in the same city) they'd have an equal chance to compete.

The guys in the office tell me I'm awful at creating analogies and quite frankly I don't disagree. However, this one is pretty easy to relate to.  While I'm at it, how about a few other things in your life that are portable just like your handicap index.

Your BMI index, your BAC, your credit score. Often times you have no idea how it was figured. You throw a whole bunch of ingredients in a pot and out came a number. But the experts of each know exactly what your number means without seeing who you actually are as a person.

The reality is, whether you have a wooden arm, one eye, or are allergic to bees, when you tell me your handicap index is a 15.5, you're a 15.5.

 

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Secrets of a Vanity Handicapper

Raise your hand if you played high school and/or collegiate golf. Keep it raised if you are still limber, aren't paying three college tuitions and still knock that little white ball around 30+ times a year. I thought so.

scotty-t-high-schoolHere lies the origins of the vanity handicapper, aka the reverse bagger. The beginnings of a vanity handicapper come from one of two places. It's possible you were really good back when you had all your hair. Or the latter is you just want to fit in with the weekly dog fight at your home club. Regardless it's going to cost you in the long run.. but by all means, let those guys keep taking your money.

I was a scratch player in high school. Admittedly in my naivety I assumed that meant I shot around par a lot. Alas, I was a vanity player in those days as well I just didn't know it yet. Junior golfers only keep handicaps for the exact opposite reasons as adults. They want to be seen by recruiters. Unfortunately a self kept handicap means nothing until you prove it. That same rule still applies.

Not since high school have I played in a meaningful competitive event and is the reason I have yet to change my ways. And why should I? I feel better about myself when I 'shoot 78' than 82. Don't you feel the same way if you scored that new big screen TV for 60% off even though they just marked up the original price?

How can you spot a vanity handicapper? Listen for the key phrases:

  • "So what if I raked in three putts longer than I am tall?"
  • "I don't want to break my wrist because of this root.. free drop".
  • "This foursome in front of us is slowing us down, let's skip ahead and take pars"
  • "I'm only allowed to take a double bogey anyway, I'll pick up"

gimme-puttThat last one really hits home. It's perpetuating the vanity nature. The USGA system only allows low handicappers to take a double. A rule set up against the bagger. So even if you desire to change your ways you might not even be able to!

In short, it doesn't bother me that on paper I'm a 7 but in reality it's a 10+. To me keeping an index in the single digits is no different than lying about your weight on your driver's license. It's a projection of what you strive to be. If I think I am a good player, I will be a good player. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

 

 

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Tired of Losing to Your Spouse?

We all enjoy playing a round of 18 with our spouse. But if you're like most couples in America, the match seems one sided most every time you hit the links. It's possible we have a solution for you!

Please answer the following questions:

Do you lose more than 50% of the time?

Do you play different tees than each other?

Do you get your course handicap based on the table posted in the clubhouse?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, you're likely suffering from what is known as lack of course rating adjustment.

What is a course rating adjustment? To understand further we first need to define a course rating. A course rating is essentially the difficulty of the course for a scratch golfer. A course handicap is the number of strokes you need in order to play to the course rating. Therefore if I am given 8 strokes for my tee box and play TO my handicap, I'll shoot the course rating!

So what about the adjustment? What is that for? When a USGA Course Rating difference exists among competitors, they are playing to different benchmarks, and an adjustment needs to be made for the competition to be equitable. If my benchmark is 71 and my competitor's is 68.. they're going to strive to shoot THREE strokes better than me every single time!

Starting to see how you keep losing? You've been playing at a disadvantage if you play a more difficult tee box than your spouse!

Spouse GolfSo how do we combat this for future reference? Simple. Find your course handicap for each of you like normal. Then compare the difference in each of your course ratings and either add that number to the player on the more difficult tee or subtract it from the player playing the easier tee. Now you're even. If you still keep losing.. well, that sounds like what we in the office call 'user error'.

If you've been on the winning side for the longest time maybe you keep this article to yourself. If you've been on the losing side the entire time and your partner isn't too happy about the change, remember, course rating adjustments are a RULE of the USGA handicap system, not a suggestion!

For more details please visit the USGA handicap manual!

 

Course Rating Adjustment

 

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