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.
In 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.
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.