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Players Competing From Different Tees

Section 3-5: Players competing from different teesĀ / MenĀ & women from the same tees.

Excerpt from USGA Handicap Manual

a. Different Tees: Men vs. Men; Women vs. Women; Women vs. Men

Different tees usually have different Ratings. Because a USGA Course Rating reflects the probable score of a scratch golfer, the higher-rated course is more difficult, and the player playing from the set of tees with the higher USGA Course Rating receives additional stroke(s) equal to the difference between each USGA Course Rating, with .5 or greater rounded upward. The additional stroke(s) are added to the Course Handicap of the player playing from the higher-rated set of tees. (See Decision 3-5/1.)

Example 1: If men playing from the middle tees where the men’s USGA Course Rating is 70.3 compete against men playing from the back tees where the men’s USGA Course Rating is 72.6, the men playing from the back tees will add two strokes (72.6 – 70.3 = 2.3 rounded to 2 ) to their Course Handicap.
Example 2: If women playing from the forward tees from which the women’s USGA Course Rating is 73.4 compete against men playing from the middle tees from which the men’s USGA Course Rating is 70.9, the women will add three strokes (73.4 – 70.9 = 2.5 rounded to 3) to their Course Handicap.

b. Same Tees: Men vs. Women

Men and women playing from the same set of tees will have different ratings. Because the women’s USGA Course Rating usually will be higher, women receive additional stroke(s) equal to the difference between ratings, with .5 or greater rounded upward.

Example: If women playing from the middle tees from which the women’s USGA Course Rating is 77.3 compete against men playing from the middle tees from which the men’s USGA Course Rating is 70.9, the women will add six strokes (77.3 – 70.9 = 6.4 rounded to 6) to their Course Handicap.
The adjustment must be added to the higher-rated tee players’ Course Handicap even if it causes a Course Handicap to exceed the maximum possible for the Slope Rating of the set of tees being played. Alternatively, it is permissible to subtract the extra handicap strokes from the Course Handicap of the player playing from the tees with the lower USGA Course Rating.

How to Properly Apply Section 3-5:

Step 1: Calculate Course Handicap from tees played per Section 3-3.
Look up each player’s Course Handicap on the appropriate gender-based Course Handicap Table for the tees played or use the Course Handicap formula:
Handicap Index x Slope Rating of tees played, and then divided by 113.

Example: A woman with a Handicap Index of 26.5 who is playing from tees with a Slope Rating of 120 has a Course Handicap of 28. (See Section 3-3 to compute a Course Handicap.)
A man with a Handicap Index of 26.5 who is playing from tees with a Slope Rating of 115 has a Course Handicap of 27. (See Section 3-3 to compute a Course Handicap.)

Step 2: Apply any handicap allowance per Section 9-4 (if applicable).
Example: Suppose the committee in charge of a four-ball stroke play competition determines that men compete at 90 percent and women at 95 percent of Course Handicap.
The Course Handicap of 27 for the man in step 1 would be reduced to 24 handicap strokes (27 x .90 = 24.3, with the difference of .4 or less rounded downward to 24 strokes).
The Course Handicap of 28 for the woman in step 1 would be reduced to 27 handicap strokes (28 x .95 = 26.6, with the difference of .5 or greater rounded upward to 27 strokes).

Step 3: Calculate the difference in USGA Course Rating from tees played, with any difference of .5 or greater rounded upward.
Example: Suppose the man in step 2 is playing from the middle tees from which the USGA Course Rating is 73.7 and the woman is playing from the front tees from which the USGA Course Rating is 69.8.

USGA Course Rating 73.7 – USGA Course Rating 69.8 = 3.9, with the difference of .5 or greater rounded upward to 4 strokes.

Add the extra handicap strokes from step 3 to the Course Handicap of the player playing from the tees with the higher USGA Course Rating. Alternatively, it is permissible to subtract the extra handicap strokes from the Course Handicap of the player playing from the tees with the lower USGA Course Rating. (See Decision 3-5/1.)

Example: A man playing the tees with the higher USGA Course Rating (73.7), adds 4 strokes to his Course Handicap and competes off 28 strokes (24 + 4 = 28 strokes), while the woman in steps 2 and 3 competes off 27 strokes.

Alternatively, the woman could be reduced to a Course Handicap of 23 strokes (27 – 4 = 23 strokes), while the man in steps 2 and 3 competes off 24 strokes.

Note: Strokes given or received under the procedures in steps 2 and 3 above are to be disregarded when applying ESC for handicap purposes. (See Section 4-3, Examples 2 and 3.) Example: After a Section 3-5 adjustment, a player has added three strokes to a Course Handicap of 25. The Course Handicap when applying Equitable Stroke Control is 25. The correct handicap for competition is 28. (See Section 3-6.)

Author: Jerry Stewart

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