## Tuesday, July 31, 2018

### Players Competing From Different Tees: A Footnote

Section 3-5 of the USGA Handicap System explains how handicaps should be adjusted when competitors play from different tees.  The explanation provided by the USGA always deals with competitions where only two sets of tees are used.  For example, assume the two Course Ratings for the tees being used are 70.0 and 71.5.  Players would compute their Course Handicap from the tees they are going to play.  The players playing from the tees with the higher Course Rating would add two-strokes to their Course Handicap.  Alternatively, the players from the tees with the lower Course Rating would deduct two-strokes from their Course Handicap. The order of finish in a net tournament will not be affected by which tees are chosen as the base tee (i.e., the set of tees that do not receive a handicap adjustment under Sec. 3-5).

When three or more tees are used in a competition, the order of finish can vary by which tees are selected as the base tee. Table 1 presents the adjusted handicaps for four base tees.

Table 1
Adjusted Handicaps for Various Base Tees

 Player Red Tees CR = 71.3 Green Tees CR = 67.0 White Tees CR = 68.6 Tournament Tees CR = 69.6 Player A (R) R - 0 R + 4 R + 3 R + 2 Player B (G) G - 4 G - 0 G - 2 G - 3 Player C (W) W - 3 W + 2 W - 0 W - 1 Player D (T) T - 2 T + 3 T + 1 T - 0

Assume the Red Tees are chosen as the base, and all players have a Sec-3.5 adjusted net score of 70.  Table 2 presents what their scores would have been if other tees had been selected.

Table 2
Net Scores for Various Base Tees

 Player Red Tees CR = 71.3 Green Tees CR = 67.0 White Tees CR = 68.6 Tournament Tees CR = 69.6 Player A (R) 70 66 67 68 Player B (G) 70 66 68 69 Player C (W) 70 65 67 68 Player D (T) 70 65 67 68

Now the order of finish depends on which tee is selected as the base tee.  This anomaly is due to rounding required under Sec. 3-5.  If the Red Tee is the base, the Green Tee player adjustment is rounded down to 4-strokes.  The White Tee player has his adjustment rounded down to 3-strokes. There is a 1-stroke difference in their adjustment.  If the Tournament Tees are used as the base tee, the Green Tee Player has his Course Handicap reduced by 3-strokes, while the White Tee Player is adjusted down by only 1-stroke.   Now the difference in adjustment is 2-strokes.  This puts the Green Tee Player at a disadvantage when the Tournament Tees are used as a base.

While all of this is interesting (to a select few), the use of more than two sets of tees only introduces a small error.  It is another reason, however, for avoiding Sec. 3-5 whenever possible.