Are You Baffled by Golf Handicaps?

Thongchai Jaidee tournament winner with golf handicap deducted

Are You Baffled by Golf Handicaps?

Ok the game of golf is known as the Gentlemen’s Sport, which is played in the best possible spirit and of course, we all play by the rules…most of the time.

However, many of us still pretend to understand the complicated scoring system often used at tournaments to factor in our Golf handicaps, although we normally rely on our playing partner to keep the scores.

Stroke Index?
So, what do you know about stroke index??? Probably 60% would say of course I know, while the rest would look very puzzled. So, let us try to simplify things and explain for the 40%….

When you arrive at your favorite Thai golf course, to play in a tournament, you will get your goodie bag full of the sponsor’s polo shirt and some golf balls. Then they will ask you for your golf handicap.
You will notice that there is a column on the scorecard headed, “Stroke Index.” Each hole has a number allocated to it between 1 and 18. So what is it for?
Well if you are playing in a handicap match play competition run by your favorite bar, or one of the popular TAT sponsored tournaments, the chances are you will be either giving or receiving shots.
Where those shots come into play is determined by the stroke indexes allocated to the holes.
So, if you are giving away 3 shots, your opponent will receive them on the holes with stroke indexes 1 to 3. If you are unfortunate enough to be giving away 20 shots then your opponent will receive a shot on every hole, and two shots on the holes with stroke indexes 1 and 2.

Stroke indexes are also important in Stableford competitions, so if you play to a handicap of 10 you’ll receive shots at holes with stroke indexes from 1 to 10. If you make a bogey at stroke index 5, you will receive a shot and will actually make a net par: two points.
CONGU’s Unified Handicapping System 
In addition, clause 19 of CONGU’s Unified Handicapping System relies on stroke indexes. This clause states that, for handicap purposes, you cannot score worse than a net double bogey at any one hole.

If you play off 6 and make a triple bogey at the hole with stroke index 15, clause 19 will reduce your score to a double bogey (for handicap purposes). However, if you had made a triple bogey at the hole with stroke index 1, you would have received a shot: the triple would have already been reduced to a double bogey so a clause 19 alteration wouldn’t have been required.

So there you go, golf handicaps explained. It is confusing but those are the rules. We hope you can follow Thongchai Jaidee and become a winner!

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