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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Golf Trip

The Makings Of A Great Golf Trip

The Makings of a Great Golf Trip

So you've been to your local PGA TOUR event, taken that bachelor party in your heyday to Pinehurst and lost more money on the links than you're willing to share.  What do all of these memories have in common? They all were tailored around this game we love.

More likely than not you've already played in the World's Largest Amateur Golf Tournament here in Myrtle Beachgolf trip, but if you haven't or want to make it even better, take a piece of advice from the folks who live it every day. Here's a quick rundown of how you can make your first-- or twenty-first trip to Myrtle Beach another memory to last a lifetime.

For starters, ditch the cell phone. If you aren't in town with everyone who you need to talk to in the first place you probably didn't bring the right people. And if you're flying solo, embrace your opportunity to take it all in. Besides, nobody wants to deal with the person on the 10th tee yelling at his punk son to make sure he's not throwing a party while he's out of town.

Next, stop trying to do too much. This is a golf trip and golf is a game of leisure. This isn't New York City and you're not trying to beat rush hour. After your round sit for at least one beer with your foursome and learn a thing or two about each other if you haven't already. Then go back golf tripto the hotel and if it's oceanfront (which it should be) sit yourself on the balcony and enjoy the view.

What else do you need to do? Something you've never done before. Myrtle Beach has tons to offer.  This can be as simple as that new restaurant that just opened down the street or as farfetched as cruising at 200mph in the NASCAR Driving Experience at the Myrtle Beach Speedway.

Last but not least: Eat, drink and be merry. Here's my list of the best places in a random list of categories I made up:

  • Happy Hour - Liberty Brewery / Flying Fish
  • Splurge Dinner - 21 Main
  • Casual Dinner - Nacho Hippo / Bimini's
  • Clubhouse Bar - Caledonia Golf and Fish Club / Thistle Club
  • Beer Cart Service - Arrowhead Country Club
  • Beach Bar - Ocean Annie's
  • Place you wouldn't think to go to - 710 Bowling

Whether you come for the World Am or it's time for an annual buddies trip, remember my simple tips for an effective holiday.

masters memory

The World AM Staff’s Favorite Masters Memory

Story time! With the Masters starting tomorrow, we here at the World AM wanted to share with everyone our favorite Masters Memory. So sit back and enjoy the read. If you have your own favorite Masters Memory, be sure to share it with us on our Facebook Page!

Scott's Favorite Masters Memory

Monday, April 4, 2016

August National, Augusta, GA

There are few moments you never forget. For some it's their first child being born or their wedding day. For me, it’s the day I step foot on Augusta National.

It was a Friday afternoon in my office the week before the tournament and I get the call that there are two tickets for this coming Monday's practice round if I want them.

The first thing I do is call my father who I'd hope would be joining me. An eight hour drive away was not going to get in the way. We meet up in Columbia Sunday evening and wake up first thing in the morning to get in as the gates open. I had one request from my mother and that was to get a picture in front of the clubhouse with my father.

We walk in and are immediately mesmerized. Greener greens than you've ever seen, perfectly manicured flower beds and more delicious sweet tea than you can physically drink. First things first: get that photograph. We were disheartened when we were pointed out the line to get your photo taken. It had to be 250 people long. This could take hours. But, mothers orders, right?

We step in the line and await our turn. In a true stroke of fate, not five minutes of waiting had passed and I hear, "Scott?" being golf whispered. I turn and see my friend Caroline who I went to college with and in fact works for Augusta. We catch up for a few minutes before she asks, "would you like to get your photo taken?". this a trick question? Yes! We hop in her cart and scurry past the throngs of bystanders while I had a grin inside me that I'm sure showed outward inadvertently. We got our photo taken (saving two hours of time) and made our way to the first tee where none other than Jason Day was starting his practice round. It's a memory with my father I'll cherish as long as I live.


Ryan's Favorite Masters Memory

The golf tournament that I look most forward to every year is the Masters.  There is just something magical about the event that puts it on a level above any other golf tournament for me.  This stems back to my childhood as one thing was almost certain in my house growing up and that was that my dad was going to miss my sister’s birthday almost every year as it fell on Masters and he was going to be there for the event.  This was big, but there is definitely one Masters that sticks out to me more than any other that has been played and more than likely will stick out more than any of them in the future as well.

In 1992 I was 10 years old and one of the guys from the group my father always went to the Masters with had something come up at the last minute and I was able to go with my dad for the event.  I stayed in a house with my father and a few other adults who all were like kids in a candy store discussing who they were going to follow at the event.  Well there was no question in my mind who I was going to follow as I had one golfer I loved to watch swing and play more than anyone else and that was Fred Couples.

I followed him all day on Thursday weaving my way through crowds of people.  Being so small I was always able to find a way to the edge of the ropes securing the perfect spot that the adults only dreamed of having.  To be honest, I can’t really remember any of the shots that he hit, but when we got back to house that evening I was definitely involved in the storytelling that went on amongst the guys about the event.  I could not wait to get back to the venue the next day where everywhere you walked was like walking on the best fairway you ever played golf on.

The next day I was able to repeat this process and followed him all day long and then the truly magical moment happened.  I watched him finish the 17th hole and found a way, as I had for two days, to get really close to him as he made his way to the 18th and final hole of the day.  At last, I finally gained enough courage to yell out  “Go get em Freddie”, which created an eruption of laughter from the crowd about the little squeaky voice from the young kid calling him Freddie.

I will never forget that next moment as Couples turned, looked me right in the eye, smiled and tossed his Maxfli HT-100 balata ball in my direction while causally continuing that famous smooth walk through the ropes.  The guy beside me reached out and one hand snagged that thing out of the air like your favorite first baseman before I was able to get my hands on it.  Couples stopped in his tracks, turned around, came right over to us and said “Hey man I was trying to give the ball to the kid”.  I'm not sure the guy liked it much, but he handed me the ball and Couples winked at me and headed on his way.

I was so excited I didn’t know what to do.  I couldn’t wait to find my way back to the group to tell everyone the story. Once I found everyone, the story quickly became highlight for the trip.  For everyone that doesn’t know, Fred Couples went on to win the 1992 Masters and he definitely remains my favorite golfer to this day.  I get the same question from everyone when telling the story now, “Do you still have the ball?”...That is a firm no as my golden retriever tore that thing into a hundred pieces two weeks after the event, but the 1992 Master will always hold a special place in my heart and is the place where I truly fell in love with the game of golf.


Cory's Favorite Masters Memory

My favorite Masters Memory begins in 2013. If you didn’t already know, I am an alumnus of the University of South Carolina. Because of USC’s close proximity to Augusta (Columbia, SC is about an hour’s drive from Augusta),  Augusta National and USC have always had a good relationship with one another. Every year, Augusta opens up temporary positions to USC students for that year’s Masters Tournament.  In 2013, my senior year, I was lucky enough to be hired to work at Augusta National.

2013 was a pretty big year for Augusta National. It was the first time they let women be members of the club, accepting Condoleeza Rice and Darla Moore (fun fact: Darla Moore is a USC graduate and USC’s business school is named after her). Augusta National also opened up Berckmans Place for the first time. Berckmans Place, as put it, “is the ultimate Masters VIP room”. It holds 3 massive restaurants for guests that are members of corporations and capable of affording the hefty $6,000 price tag.

Anyways, I was hired on as a busboy for one of Berckmans Place’s restaurants, Calamity Jane’s Oyster Bar. It was a pretty incredible experience right from the get go. During the first week of training, I was able to walk around the course during our lunch break. Augusta National truly was the most beautiful golf course I had ever seen. It even exceeded my own high expectations. I swear it almost didn’t even look real.

When the week of the Masters came, it simply amazing to see the celebrities that ended up at Calamity Jane’s. Whether it was Lynn Swan, Kate Upton, or Arnold Palmer (who, believe it or not, ordered an Arnold Palmer), Berckmans truly was a place for VIPs. Don’t get me wrong though; it wasn’t all just fun and games. We were working around 14 hours a day and I was driving too and from Columbia each day. It was exhausting but well worth it.

When the tournament actually began, I snuck out on my lunch break the first two days to catch some play. The first day I got to see Sergio Garcia, the leader at the time, play hole 16. The second day I made a point to get to see Amen Corner, specifically Hole 12. My roommates and I had been playing a lot of Tiger Woods Golf recently, and that hole would do to us what it did to Spieth in 2016. So I had to see someone play it. Sure enough, the first golfer I see hits it right into the water. It’s safe to say I was pretty satisfied!

The week was capped off with the spectacular finish in Sudden Death between Adam Scott and Angel Cabrerra. It was truly special watching Scott sink the putt to win and all of Berckmans Place go crazy. It was most certainly an experience that I’ll never forget.


World AM Staff Picks For The 2017 Masters

The 2017 Masters is upon us, and with that comes the World AM Staff's picks for who will be donning the Green Jacket. We've taken a different approach than most golf analysts out there, though. We'll be picking who we think is the favorite to win from 5 different categories and why. The 5 different categories consist of:

  • Past Winner - what past winner has the best shot of winning?
  • International Player - what international player has the best shot of winning?
  • Player Over 40 - what player over the age of 40 has the best shot of winning?
  • First Time Player - what first timer has the best shot of winning?
  • Favorite - what player has the overall best shot of winning?

To see a full list of the field, click HERE.

So, without further adieu, the World AM Staff's 2017 Masters Picks!



Past winner - Jordan Spieth

"Augusta suits his game well which is in great form currently. No chance he finishes outside the top 10."

International - Rory McIlroyjordan spieth masters

"If there's a year he takes home the Green Jacket. This is it."

Over 40 - Lee Westwood

"Made the cut here 14/18 times, Five top 10's in last seven years."

First Time PlayerThomas Pieters

"Lots of great players in this category. Only picked Pieters because people say I look like him. I don't see it."

Favorite - Dustin Johnson

"World #1. Period."



Past winner - Jordan Spieth

"2013 was the last time The Masters had a Sunday morning leader other than Jordan Spieth, so I'm not betting against rory mcilroy mastershim."

International - Rory McIlroy

"He's eventually going to win at Augusta, which is more than can be said for Garcia, Westwood and Els, among other Internationals, so give me the Irishman."

Over 40No Pick

"Do those guys still play?"

First Time PlayerWilliam McGirt

"First time players don't win The Masters and that won't change this year, but I'll be rooting for William McGirt, a native Carolinian and regular Monday After the Masters participant."

Favorite - Dustin Johnson

"Is there any other answer?"



Past Winner - Jordan Spieth

"With his epic collapse on the back 9 of the final round last year, Spieth has one thing on his mind: Redemption."phil mickelson masters

InternationalHideki Matsuyama

"With 3 wins and 2 second place finishes since October, Matsuyama is arguably the hottest golfer right now."

Over 40 - Phil Mickelson

"Mickelson always comes with his best game to Augusta. 2017 will be no different."

First Time PlayerJon Rahm

"Currently 7th in the FedEx Cup Rankings and the 26th ranked golfer in the world, there isn’t a newcomer that has a better shot than Jon Rahm."

Favorite - Dustin Johnson

"He’s the number one golfer in the world and he’s gotten past his first majors win hurdle. It’s his time."



Past Winner - Jordan Spieth

"That’s right The Future already has a past."

InternationalJustin Rose

"This guys track record speaks for itself and he is going to break through at this event sooner rather than later."

Over 40 - Phil Mickelsonjohn rahm masters

"Who else in this category would you consider taking over Lefty."

First Time - John Rahm

"This course is set up for first timers to normally fail, but if I am choosing one this guy is a clear cut choice for me."

Favorite - Justin Rose

"Doesn’t matter if you are asking for favorite player, or who I actually think is the favorite to win is in 2017."



Past WinnerJordan Spieth

"The guy just seems to play well during the biggest tournaments."

International - Jason Day

"People say his back is not 100%, but I saw an Instagram video of him this week swinging, and he looked good to me."

Over 40 - Phil Micklesontoto gana masters

"I'm a lefty, he's a lefty. Us lefty's need to stick together."

First Time Player - Toto Gana

"His name reminds me of the dog from The Wizard of Oz - that's my only reason."

Favorite - Dustin Johnson

"It may be the homer pick, but how can you bet against this guy right now?"



Past Winner - Jordan Spieth

"He's finished T2-1-T2 in his three visits to Augusta. And last year was probably the biggest meltdown I've ever witnessed on a golf course. He loves the place and has the ball striking, putting and mindset to go really, really low."

International - Rory McIlroy

"He's only missed the cut once in eight tries and (when healthy) is probably the most talented player in the world. I give him the slight edge over Jason Day, who I think will own a green jacket before his career is over."

Over 40 - Phil MickelsonTyrrell-Hatton masters

"This is too easy. Other people may get cute here and try to find a way to go against the grain. But, they're wasting time. He has as many green jackets as missed cuts (3) in 24 appearances. Enough said, but if you need more... He has finishes this year of T8-T21-T14-T16-65-34-T7, so his game is pretty good at the moment as well."

First Time Player - Tyrell Hatton

"Hatton is on fire right now. He has finishes of  T23-T4-10-T4 this year. In addition, he is ranked 1st in SG:Putting, 13th in SG: Off the Tee and 5th in SG: Approach the Green. All of that, especially the putting, will come in handy on your first trip around Augusta National."

Favorite - Jordan Spieth

"See above. I think he wants to pummel this golf course to make up for last year's debacle."

topgolf feature

Why TopGolf Is Important For Golf’s Future

TopGolf, the premier golf entertainment complex that mixes the game of golf with your local watering hole, is quickly becoming an important piece to golf's future. If you haven’t heard of it yet, let me run down what makes this exciting golf complex so unique.

TopGolf is one part driving range, one part bar and one part entertainment venue. The driving range is a 240 yard outfield with bullseyes set up all around on the ground. The closer you hit your ball to the center of one of the bulls-eyes, the topgolfmore points you score. The driving range is unique because the primary goal is laid-back competition with your friends; refining your golf skills is secondary to having fun. Combining the fun approach to the driving range with all of the other amenities (top of the line food menu, live entertainment, and alcoholic beverages) makes for a great time out on the town.

(You can learn more about TopGolf by clicking HERE)

But why is this important to growing the game? Well, if you haven’t heard already, the millennial generation isn’t playing the game of golf at the same rate that previous generations played at the same age. As a millennial myself, I can attest to this fact. There are simply other ways that I would like to spend my hard earned time and money than wondering if I should use a 4 or 5 iron on my approach shot after missing the fairway for the 8th straight hole.

With TopGolf, I’m still wetting my appetite for the competition that golf provides, albeit in more of an informal, and certainly less frustrating, manner. I’m also getting the nightlife with live music and good food and drinks that I place a high value on. Essentially, TopGolf is bringing an upper scale, bowling alley-type atmosphere to the game of golf. Anyone can go to a bowling alley and find a way to have a good time. Why can’t the same be had for golf?

The key here, though, is that while I’m not solely there for the game of golf, I’m still practicing by virtue of swinging a club. The biggest reason I don’t play is because of how bad I am. If I’m indirectly getting better at the game in the process of having a good time, that only increases the chances that I’ll want to go out and play a round on a golf course. I have no desire to stand on a range a couple times a week to get my game up to competent standards. Maybe I will after I feel more comfortable with my swing after going to a TopGolf a couple of times? Who knows, but the possibility of me getting on a golf range and, later a golf course, can only increase through TopGolf.

topgolf buildingAnother way TopGolf is helping grow the game is through their own Junior Golfer program called “Topgolf for Good”. In a recent  interview with Forbes, Erik Anderson, the co-chairman and CEO of TopGolf Entertainment Group, had this to say:

“Topgolf is always thinking of how we can help get clubs in the hands of new players, prepare them to transition to green grass and inspire them to enjoy golf in all of its forms, whether that's on TV, a mobile app or a PGA Tour event. Part of reaching the next generation of golfers means making the sport fun and accessible to everyone."

My man Erik! That is EXACTLY what I want to hear. The sport of golf needs to be proactively pursuing the younger generation. Relying on the game to sell itself is not working. TopGolf won’t be able to do it alone, but it’s definitely a great start.

So, Erik, when are you bringing TopGolf to Myrtle Beach?


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


5-time Major Winner

Handicap Index: +5.8


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.

Donald Trump

President of the United States

Handicap Index: 2.8…


…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.

writing on scorecard

Your Handicap, Your Average, And Your Anti-Cap

We all want to play to our handicap in competitions and that is always a goal golfers have in handicap events, but what does this really mean and how hard is it to actually do this?  Our World Am staff has discussed in person, over the phone and in past articles how a handicap is based on a player’s potential to play their best rather than how they play on average. Those of us who are familiar with the handicap system realize that the USGA states that we should only play to our handicap about once every five or six times we play.  If you are playing in a multi-round tournament it should be more difficult to play, to or better than your index in consecutive rounds.  The reason it should be extremely difficult to play to your handicap is simply based on the way the handicap is calculated.


When your handicap index is calculated only the best ten of your last twenty differentials are used to determine your index at the time your revision comes out.  In addition to only using the best half of your scores, an additional percentage is then taken away from that number. So, not only is your handicap not an average of your scores, but it is a number that is actually lower than an average of your best scores.People seem to completely whiff on the idea that playing to their handicap on a given day is very hard to do and is an accomplishment even in a single round.

As a staff we always find ourselves having to talk to players about the difference between their handicap index and their average score as players like to blend the two numbers together.  They also like to point to their highest rounds shot in events and make reference to that round rather than focusing on the low rounds they have shot.

What if we were to look in further detail at a players scoring history and take the worst 10 of their last twenty scores rather than their best 10?  Players like to reference these rounds all the time so let’s actually look at what these bad scores would look like as a handicap index and lets refer to it as an anti-cap.  We can then look at what it would be like to compare our handicap index to both our average score and our worst scores.

Just below is a screenshot of a random player’s handicap that uses GHIN for their handicap service.  You will see how all ten of the lowest differentials (shown as Diff.) have a star showing that the score was used to calculate the 14.5 index.  To get to this number just add the ten differentials up divide by ten (for the 10 scores) and then take 4% percent away from the number to determine the actual handicap index.  When the number comes out to 14.57 you do not round you just drop the 7 for handicap purposes.
USGA Handicap Index Information

Anticap GHIN
Now if we look at just a general average for the player we would have to take all twenty scores divide by twenty which would give us 17.8. Finally let’s look at how this golfer plays when having bad days to figure out their anti-cap.  Take the players worst ten differentials, add them up then divide by ten and take 4% away to get the anti-cap of 19.6.

As we look this player’s handicap, their average, and their anti-cap we can see just how different the three numbers are from one another.  As we see the discrepancy between the numbers we should realize comparing any of the three numbers to one another may be a bad idea as they are always going to be far apart even for the most consistent golfer.Five Handicap

If this player were to play in World Am they would have to play to their 12.3 lowest handicap index in the last 12 months.  They would have a 14.5 current handicap index with an average differential of 17.8 and their anti-cap would be 19.6.  If this player is able to play better than a 12.3 for three days in a row in a tournament environment, that should be considered pretty wild to say the least and simply should not happen.

Now for the fun part. Go out there and find your lowest handicap in the last 12 months, your current handicap index, your average differential, and your anti-cap.  Share these numbers with us and everyone else on our Facebook page so that we can see the different numbers from a variety of players.  Above is just one random example, but seeing a variety of examples from various handicaps would be fun to see.

one man changed the world am

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 to, 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,, 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.

caddy on tv

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. 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.

Phil Mickelson Low 12

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.

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