Your Golf Handicap: Staying Honest

I was playing a round of golf with a couple of women the other day. No one of us was having a particularly good day on the course. It was cool and damp and threatened to rain at any moment. But we kept at it, playing each hole with the intention of doing better with each stroke. I was keeping my own score, but also sharing it with one of the other players who marked a score card with all our names. By the time we finished the ninth hole the rains had begun and we decided to call it a day.

My score was not what I would have wanted, but it was a legitimate nine-hole round I planned on submitting to the GHIN website once we hit the clubhouse. What surprised me was that the other three players determined they had played so badly that they were not going to put in their scores. “My score is so bad, I’m just not going to put it in,” one player declared.

This does not make sense to me—not if you want to keep your golf handicap true to reality. What does it benefit you to skip recording the bad scores and put in only the ones you like? You end up with a handicap that has little to do with reality.

At my club there is a woman’s league that plays every Tuesday morning. Each of the teams has four players (A, B, C, D) determined by handicap scores. Using this method, the teams are roughly even in ability so no one team can run away with top honors each week. But if players don’t submit accurate records of their golf round scores, then the GHIN number is skewed and the system is broken.

Some players like having a high handicap as it allows them to take extra strokes when competing against players with a lower GHIN number. Others prefer to keep their handicap artificially low so they appear to be a better player than they really are.

Playing games with your GHIN number does nothing for your game. If you have a GHIN number, then honor the system. Submit honest scores. Your game and your attitude will improve.

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