2017 World Am Entry Opens on March 29th!

We are excited to announce that on the morning of Wednesday, March 29th, entry will open for the 34th annual Myrtle Beach World Amateur. Our staff is working hard to put together the best tournament yet. Stay tuned in the coming weeks for many details regarding the upcoming World Am.

The most integral part of the tournament will again be the thousands of golf fanatics that participate in the event. And if you sign up early, you can start winning right away. We will be giving away over $10,000 in random drawing prizes, and you must sign up in the first 14 days to be eligible to win.

The early entry fee for the World Am will once again be $525. That low fee includes 4 rounds of golf on different Myrtle Beach area courses, four nights of the World's Largest 19th Hole for you and a guest, an awesome tournament gift bag, prizes and much, much more!

Maximize your value by signing up early, beginning on March 29th.

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.

Why We Use Your Low 12 Handicap Index

One of the biggest questions we deal with as a staff leading up to an event is "why do you use a participant’s lowest indexHandicap Index History 1 in the last 12 months (otherwise known as a Low 12) rather than their current handicap index?"  Most participants feel that their current handicap index is a better representation of how they are playing coming into a tournament as opposed to their Low 12.  This statement may be true, but does this number represent how they can perform when they truly play their best?  Keep in mind that the whole concept of using a handicap index in the first place is to get a number that represents how a player plays at their best.  There are a variety of reasons why a current handicap index may not be an accurate representation of a golfer’s true playing potential.


Take the golfer who is truly blessed by being able to play golf 4 to 5 times a week.  This particular player will play 20 rounds of golf in a 4 or 5 week period and all of the scores outside of this short time period will no longer be reflected in their current index.  Let’s agree that we all go through peaks and valleys when playing and both the good and the bad can come and go as quickly as flipping a light switch.  If a player that plays this often plays poorly for a few weeks leading up to an event, then that could dramatically change their current index.  In this scenario, it would be fair to say that the current number does not reflect how this player plays when he or she plays their best golf.


Another example of this would be the golfer who gets injured in some way, shape or form and is unable to play golf at all for say a 6 to 8 week period.  This golfer, without any practice at all during that time period, is likely to see their skills on the course decline.  When this player comes back from the injury they certainly won’t be playing their best golf.  Throughout this process they are going to post some bad rounds and their handicap will go up.  The end result of this is going to be an inaccurate handicap index because the number will not truly measure this player’s ability to play at their best.


Low 12That's just two examples of how a current index can become inaccurate without the player ever doing anything intentionally to manipulate their index.  Under these types of scenarios, an honest player may show up at an event and play really well, thus beating this inaccurate current index.  They may be adjusted, or even in some cases disqualified for not doing anything wrong because the number they provided does not properly measure their true playing potential.  When it comes time to review the validity of a player’s handicap index, it won’t matter whether or not their index became inaccurate by being manipulated or in an honest manner. Either way, the number is inaccurate.


Many players look at the handicap rules that are in place as the staff going overboard to try and catch the few players that are referred to as "sandbaggers". But that is only a small part of why this rule is in place.  The Low 12 rule was established to help players, not restrict them.  Focusing on making sure we get an accurate number from an honest player is much more important than the idea of catching a player manipulating the system.  The worst conversation to have is one with a player who has an inaccurate index for doing absolutely nothing wrong to make the number inaccurate.  The problem is that at the end of the day, once an index is determined to be inaccurate, the reason for it becomes irrelevant. It is simply a must to protect the players in the field that do have accurate indexes.


The most important thing for our staff to focus on when obtaining a player’s handicap index is to try to get an index for every player in the tournament that represents how they play when playing at their best.  An index from a player who
has been playing poorly or may have been restricted due to injury does not do that.  Going back for 5 or 10 years in a returning player's profile and looking at their tournament rounds they have had in past years at the event doesn’t do that either.  By taking a player’s Low 12, we give ourselves a large enough window to accurately review the player without going back too far.  The Low 12 is the best tool we have available to find a player’s current potential. This helps us to put everyone in the event on as equal of a playing field as possible.

Why I’m a Part Of the Golf Industry

A few weeks ago, I wrote a piece in6a00d83462eb8d69e201b7c7cc7594970b-800wi which I gave out advice on your handicaps despite being a “Non-Golfer”. Many of you might have wondered, “If he’s a Non-Golfer, why are you in the golf industry?” Well, today, I’m here to tell you why.


One of the biggest reasons I am in the golf industry is because the sport of golf features one of the most unique competitions in sports. Not only are you competing against other players, but you’re also competing against the golf course itself. There isn’t another major sport that’s like that.


Another facet of golf that makes it unique is how important the mental aspect of the sport is, and because of this, it allows older golfers to still compete with the younger golfers, such as Mickelson vs. Spieth. The handicap system takes it a step further and truly puts golfers of all ages and sexes on an equal playing field. You don’t see that anywhere else, as it’s next to impossible to have a 60 year old competing against a 20 year old in a game such as basketball or football; there just isn’t a way to equalize the playing field in other sports.


While the competition is a fantastic aspect of golf, the camaraderie is what truly makes it special, particularly in the tournaments that we run. It’s always rewarding to see two or more competitors after a round of golf discussing the best and the worst shots of the day. There’s rarely any hostility, but there’s almost always laughter and enjoyment. It’s a special sight to behold when you see dozens of people that are competing with one another come in after the round and enjoy each other’s company. The game just seems to be fun for people, which in turn makes the job fun for me.


Golf IndustryGrowing up playing youth football and basketball, I was always stressed sportsmanship and to play with class and dignity. But as I got older, it seemed like the qualities that were stressed to me when I was younger were no longer as important. If you watch the NFL or NBA, it’s almost night and day how the athletes handle themselves in comparison to golf. Golf is kind of the poster sport for class and sportsmanship, making the golf industry all the more appealing.


Look at The Masters, for instance. How cool is it that the champion from the year before hands off the green jacket to the current year’s champion? In the twenty or so years I’ve been watching The Masters, outside of MAYBE Jordan Spieth last year, you don’t see the previous year’s winner upset at all during the ceremony; they’re usually genuinely excited for the new champion.

In a sense, I’m like all of you. The sport of golf is truly special to me, even if I’m not out there swinging a golf club.

Gambling and the Game of Golf

Most of us are not great at golf. I wouldn't necessarily classify myself as good. Therefore, I am not able to go out and compete on a high level. However, I enjoy friendly competition and rivalry, so we tend to seek ways to make the game of golf more interesting...enter gambling.


Gambling 'I said we were going to play a game of skins, not shirts and skins!'The handicap indexes of those in the office that play golf are wide ranging. Ryan is a 3.1, Scott is a 9.5, I am a 17.7 and Chris is a 20.3. So when we go out to play, the last thing we do before teeing off is to calculate course handicaps and determine how many strokes each of us are getting. We generally select teams and play a two-person best ball for lunch. Another option is to play Wolf with the last place person owing the winner a lunch or each person throwing in $5 with the winner taking the pot. Most of the time, Ryan and I will have an individual side bet for lunch regardless of the other wagers. Although we're not playing for much, the side games make the day a lot more interesting and seemingly more important. It is a great reason to stay focused throughout the round, even on days where nothing seems to be going right.


Most people are familiar with the "5 dollar nassau" and "Wolf". However the most common form of golf gambling is the "skins game." Skins games create a pool of cash from entrants and split the pot amongst those that get a better score than the other entrants on a particular hole. Skins games are so common, in fact, that the USGA had to specifically state that winnings from them will not interfere with a golfer's amateur status under Rule 3-1. As long as the skins game is optional (not part of a mandatory entry fee), your winnings do not count against amateur status as prize money for a first place finish would.


MickelsonGambling on golf isn't just for the hacks like me though. Stories of PGA TOUR pros and their Tuesday gambling matches are things of lore. Phil Mickelson is the most prominent practice round gambler, but a vast majority of the world's best players are using side bets to "spice up" their preparation days. Side note - you should Google "Phil Mickelson Tuesday gambling" and read some of the stories...they're hilarious. One of my favorites is the time he beat Nick Watney in a British Open practice round for $1000 and when Watney pulled the grand out of his pocket after the 18th Hole, Mickelson gave him his money back and said, "this is Britain...I need pounds." The conversion rate put the loss for Watney closer to $1,700 for the day.


I also find that golf is one of the best sports to make small wagers on off the course (court, field, etc.). In the office, we will find ourselves in a disagreement about where the cut will be, whether Hudson Swafford will make a birdie before Seamus Power, or other nonsensical topics surrounding the game. What better way to make the day interesting than to pass a dollar back and forth 3 or 4 times with silly bets. We do serpentine drafts with eight players each for all of the majors and DraftKings has a great feature for Leagues that allows us to have a weekly contest in the office without paying them the rake.


The point is, gambling and golf have a long history with one another. Probably because most people aren't great (or even good) at golf, and it is a way for everyone to win something occasionally. The key when gambling is to keep it within reason and make it another fun part of the game we all love responsibly.

Head over to our Facebook page and discuss your favorite games or stories.


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.


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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Changes to the Rules of Golf

It'That book is the real hazard!' doesn’t matter who you are, or how long you have played the game, knowing all of the rules out on the golf course seems to be a very rare thing.  I have played the game both competitively and for fun all my life yet there always seems to be a ruling that comes up on the course to which I simply do not have the answer.  There are also cases where a rule will come up and I feel that I am almost certain I know the answer because it has happened to me in the past, but without fail that rule has been changed or amended in some way, shape, or form and I am wrong once again.  We have seen changes to the rules in the past and we are going to see more rule changes in the future.

Golfers all have different opinions about the changes to the rules.  Some think the rules should simply stay the same and not be modified as this only makes it harder for us to keep up.  Others think as issues arise the rules should be changed more frequently than they are currently.  Regardless of which side of this argument you land on we should all be able to agree on one thing, once you learn and understand the rule it should not take a rocket scientist to determine what the ruling is after an event occurs.

A perfect example is what happened to Dustin Johnson at this year’s US Open.  This incident was the definition of a nightmare rules controversy.  In our office after we all saw the incident, watched replays of what happened, and read up on what ruling was actually made we discussed it just like the rest of the golfing world.  After about 2 minutes into the conversation it was clear that that we had different opinions on what ruling should or should not have been made.   None of us are rules experts by any means, but once we all had a clear understanding of this particular rule we should not have to be arguing over what should have happened as the rule should simply be easier to understand.

dj-us-openAs we can see this particular ruling caused such uproar that the USGA and the R&A have basically stated that they will be changing this rule in all of the events they hold beginning in 2017.  If a player causes a ball to move accidentally while on the green they will not be issued a penalty.  They have declared that this will be a local rule that gives committees the option of whether or not to make the change, but let’s agree that almost every committee is going to institute the change.

This is just the most recent of changes that is going to be made to the rules, but there are many more that have taken place throughout the sport's history.  Prior to this upcoming change we saw the outlawing of anchoring your putter.  This rule change obviously got a variety of different opinions from golfers.  Some say it makes the game more difficult and that could hurt our growth of the game initiatives.  Others say that anchoring the putter should be considered flat out cheating as it just makes putting easier, giving some an advantage over others and if left in place, the short putter may completely disappear from the game.

The two rules mentioned above I feel comfortable saying that I am a big fan of seeing changed.  I look at other rule changes and wonder "why did we not stick with that change" or "why would we take that out of the game"?  We have seen rules that have been changed that have stuck with and others that have changed and then changed back.  Some of these rules were great additions while others were taken away for what seems like no reason at all.

The continuous putting rule was one that was changed and changed back rather quickly.  In 1966, the USGA added a local rule that stated once you were on the green, marked your ball and then placed it back on the green for your turn you were required to finish putting the ball out until it was holed without being able to remark the ball.  The only exception was that if you were in someone’s line it was up to the person whose line you were in to determine if they wanted you to remark your ball.  If that player wanted you to finish regardless of standing in their line for whatever reason you had to finish out.  The idea behind the rule was that it would speed up play.  In 1968 the rule was made an actual rule of golf and then in 1970 was rescinded from the rules altogether.  This rule was for stroke play only, but is one that I think was a great rule if for nothing else to speed up the pace of play which we can all agree is a major problem in golf.

tin-cup-ball-dropAnother rule that was taken out of the game was the way that you had to drop the ball.  You used to have to have to hold the ball over your shoulder to drop it so you could not look at where you were dropping the ball.  I never actually got to do this as I am too young being the rule was taken out of the game in 1984, but I like the concept behind the rule.  The reason that I liked the rule was that it represented the integrity that lies within the history of the game.

Whether or not we think the rules should be modified, or stay the same, we all have different opinions about the rules.  We discuss rules we don’t like in our golfing groups all the time and how certain rules could be applied or stated differently to make the game easier to understand.  As complicated as the rules are these types of discussions will always take place and the rules will constantly be modified as the game continues to evolve.  If you were given the option to add, change, or even omit a rule what change would you make?

Join the conversation on our Facebook Page and share with us what changes you would make to the Rules of Golf.

Handicap Tips from a Non-Golfer

When I first started working for Golf Holiday back in April of 2014, I came in with no knowledge of the USGA’s Handicap System. I knew that it existed, but the intricate details that make up the Handicap System were a complete mystery to me. On top of that, I hadn’t played a round of golf in years. So here I was, newly hired into the golf industry, with next to no knowledge on the actual game itself.

I consider myself a quick learner, so I was able to pick up on the details of the Handicap System pretty quickly. But because I was so “green” when I started, I feel that I can offer a unique perspective (particularly to golfers that play in our tournaments) and tips on this system that seems to confuse even the longest tenured golfers.

So with that said, here are three tips about the Handicap System and its application to Golf Holiday’s tournaments that you probably can’t get from anyone else.

  • Be honest with yourself. While this may be the most obvious of my tips, it’s insane to me how many people let their handicap
    Photo: Illustration by Jason Raish

    Photo: Illustration by Jason Raish

    indexes become inaccurate due to simply not being honest about their game. This goes for both the sandbagger and the vanity handicapper. Here are a few ways that you can be honest with yourself to assure that your index is as accurate as possible for our MBGH Tournaments:

    1. Putt everything out. Assuming you made a putt is the fastest way to make your index inaccurate. (Editor's Note - You don't have to mark every putt. Just finish putting once you've started. Pace is also important!)
    2. Post all of your rounds, and post them accurately. Save for funky formats like Scramble or Texas Scramble, every round that you play should be recorded with your handicap service, good or bad. Learn the rules on when to post 9 hole scores and when to use "par-plus" to post 18 hole rounds you did not get to complete.
    3. Don’t game the system. We all know the basics. More shots = bad. Less shots = good. Don’t miss shots on purpose to increase your index and always play your best. Don’t increase your score because you know it’ll give you more strokes.
  • Understand that the system isn’t perfect. Our staff would be the first ones to admit it. The USGA’s handicap system is incredibly accurate, but it’s also a giant math equation, and because of that fact, there isn’t a way for it to account for all of the intangibles that occur over the course of a golf round. One example of such intangibles would be luck. shot-tracker-tipsI’ve heard it all when it comes to players describing a round in which they played well below their index. “I had three shots bounce off trees that otherwise would’ve been OB but ended up setting me up perfectly.” “I made a horrible putt but a stem of a leaf redirected my ball and it ended up going in.” “I shanked the heck out of the ball, but I ended up with a perfect lie. That NEVER happens!” While all of these are examples of luck, the result is the same, and thus the Handicap System views them as the same. We understand the affect that these intangibles may have on your round, but the system simply cannot make exceptions because of it. Every round needs to be viewed under the same scrutiny.
  • Don’t be afraid to give yourself less strokes. This kind of goes with #1, but if you plan on playing in the World AM, don’t be afraid to lower your own index beforehand. instructionIf you feel that you’re currently playing better than your lowest index in the past twelve months would indicate, then lower it yourself when you submit us your handicap. We actually encourage players to do this. Say, for example, you’ve been taking lessons, practicing a lot at the driving range, just bought new clubs, etc, but you haven’t been playing rounds of golf to post to your handicap service. In these scenarios, your index remains the same but your game has gotten better, thus your index is no longer accurate. This may increase your chances of getting your index adjusted during the tournament, or even a disqualification. I promise you that the adjustment you give yourself will be lighter than the adjustment we give you.

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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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