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TOPIC: Playing courses for handicap purposes

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roarksown1
Playing courses for handicap purposes
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Monday May 31, 2021 8:02 PM
For all the handicap nerds out there, the ones who are constantly checking their new index after every round and looking to see which scores are about to be bounced and whatnot, are there certain courses out there (speaking here for the SoCal/LA County area) that play better or worse for your handicap that you actively seek out?

There are some courses that even if you have a really solid round, they're simply not going to move the needle very much. I'm looking at you Alhambra. I've shot 79 there and it was only like a 12.5 or something for my index.

Then you've got other places that seem relatively simple and straightforward but you can definitely get a nice handicap bump with a decent round, like Whittier Narrows or Woodley Lakes.

So my question is which courses in SoCal/LA County are the BEST score-handicap ratio to help bring a handicap down. I'm utterly obsessed with reaching a single digit handicap at some point in my lifetime and, while I'm not going to pass up nice or easy courses due to the handicap index factor, I'm very interested if other players enjoy certain courses more than others because they're beneficial to the index.

Did any of that make any sense?
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 Message #99078
Nickesquire
RE: Playing courses for handicap purposes
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Tuesday June 1, 2021 4:57 AM
Perfect sense Robert.

The course ratings/slope are all established by their local golf associations. We could have great discussions about how arbitrary these appear to be, even though they have very specific standards they go by to get these numbers. That some courses are tougher than they are rated, while we may feel others are easier. However, I think which course would fit into the category to bring your handicap up/down depends on the individual. We all play some courses better (or worse) than others.

We also all have off days. And career days. Plus weather can play a huge factor in our scores. I have at least a dozen different courses played multiple times since I have been tracking all my scores that my best to worst score on that course ranges 20 or more shots.

Could a guy who shot a 70 shoot a 90 on the same course? A 72 to a 92 range? A 74 to a 96 range? In my particular case, those could all be a yes.

Courses/tees with a lower rating/slope usually are shorter with less trouble compared to courses/tees with a higher rating/slope. While it may or may not produce a "handicap bump" as you call it, because of the ratings difference. I can tell you that my gross score is likely to be 3-4 shots better on a course in the 70/120 rating/slope range compared to what it will be on a 71.5/135 ratings/slope. So I find that since the "net" is pretty close to the same, that in many more cases than not, the courses are fairly accurately rated.
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The goal has always been long and straight! But since I can no longer hit them long, hopefully straighter could be achieved more than occasionally?
 Message #99085 - This was a reply to message #99078
Deepsea14
RE: Playing courses for handicap purposes
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Tuesday June 1, 2021 8:12 AM
QUOTED  So my question is which courses in SoCal/LA County are the BEST score-handicap ratio to help bring a handicap down. I'm utterly obsessed with reaching a single digit handicap at some point in my lifetime

Can't answer the specifics to which courses....

Can offer this:
If the goal is your index number to 9.9 or less. (I don't know what it is now) But if it's a realistic goal for you then I would offer you play the course where you historically have scored best and play that track over and over again. 95% or more of your post-able rounds.

Most likely a course with low course rating and slope. Your number should drop. You may find that taking that index number to another course of greater difficulty and trying to score a career differential round will prove more difficult.


QUOTED  I'm very interested if other players enjoy certain courses more than others because they're beneficial to the index.


I've never considered playing or not playing one course over another based on the ratings. I just know by experience one will be more challenging than another.

If low score and low index = more enjoyment.
I'm heading in the wrong direction.
Older and turning gray still trying to enjoy the game of a lifetime every-time I play.

QUOTED  Could a guy who shot a 70 shoot a 90 on the same course? A 72 to a 92 range? A 74 to a 96 range? In my particular case, those could all be a yes.

Impressive Nick. Over what time period? Day to Day. Years? more?

Compare to "Uncle" Billy in 9 hole league play (witnessed by peers) 63 / 36 week to week turn around scores.
27 stroke difference in just 7 days. A former club champion returning to form?!
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Itslikeimsayin
RE: Playing courses for handicap purposes
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Tuesday June 1, 2021 8:28 AM
QUOTED  Most likely a course with low course rating and slope.


Not sure I agree with this, precisely because of what Robert mentioned in his original post. When I played Alhambra several weeks ago, I had what I consider to be a great score with (adjusted) 77, but my differential for that day was almost 12! To me, ratings are based on course length far too much.

I'm not sure I have any solid advice about gaming the system, but I definitely wouldn't play executive courses or courses with short length relative to par. I'd probably recommend playing courses where you typically putt well and can get the ball in the hole.
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zachary
RE: Playing courses for handicap purposes

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Tuesday June 1, 2021 10:02 AM
The Key to this exercise is to identify courses that play easier than the course rating? If you want to be a single digit handicap, maybe get there by scoring on the hard courses? Anyway, you could come down to San Diego and play Encinitas Ranch 20 times and that will lower your handicap by a lot, course is rated way harder than it plays. Stay away from the crossings and the golf club of california in Fallbrook, they should be rated higher than they play.
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 Message #99093 - This was a reply to message #99078
Nickesquire
RE: Playing courses for handicap purposes
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Tuesday June 1, 2021 10:28 AM
QUOTED  Impressive Nick. Over what time period? Day to Day. Years? more?


Actually, not that impressive Peter. Because the 90/92/96 high scores were unfortunately closer to my averages on those courses that the 70/72/74 low scores were.

All those scores were within no more than a few years of each other when my overall handicap remained in the same general range. Say +/- 3. But almost did the 20 stroke differential in a week. Followed up the 70 with an 88 a week later on the same course, same general conditions. Just happened to play by far my best round there followed up by one of my worst scores on the same course.

That was at Buenaventura, where my average score is around an 81. 70/88 = 79 average for those 2 rounds. About what I could reasonably expect based on my history and skill level @ that course.



QUOTED  When I played Alhambra several weeks ago, I had what I consider to be a great score with (adjusted) 77, but my differential for that day was almost 12! To me, ratings are based on course length far too much.


I would agree Mark. Some courses I have to shoot scores lower than I am likely to attain very often for them to actually take my handicap down. I am talking to you Morro Bay!

An 86 @ Hunter Ranch from the Blues will likely move my handicap down. An 82 @ Morro Bay from the Blues likely will not because of the rating/slope differences of the two courses.
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The goal has always been long and straight! But since I can no longer hit them long, hopefully straighter could be achieved more than occasionally?
 Message #99094 - This was a reply to message #99088
bnr1986
RE: Playing courses for handicap purposes
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Tuesday June 1, 2021 10:32 AM
meant as a reply to the origingal poster:

since course rating matters more than slope in determining the differential and length is the single biggest variable in course rating, find courses that play shorter than the yardage and go from there. i think 1 example would be to play brookside #1 from the tips (blacks, where the course rating is 74.5 on a p72 and is near 7k yards) since it often is burnt out and plays firm & fast. you also have to know your game: highly rated / high slope courses that are that way because of lots of penal hazards are worth skipping if you're inaccurate off the tee.

another tip: find a course that's listed as a par 72 but where say 1 or 2 of the par 5s are gettable in two & maybe 1 of the par 4s is drivable. so now the course in your head is a par 70.

in short (pun intended) - play longer courses because the slope & CR are higher.

[[Edited by bnr1986 on Wednesday June 2, 2021 1:02 PM]]
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1PLUS1
RE: Playing courses for handicap purposes

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Tuesday June 1, 2021 10:19 PM
Would never consider 'manipulating' my index by playing selective courses. What's the point? If that's the only way you feel you can attain a single-digit index then you're creating a false narrative and only fooling yourself. Establishing an index based upon playing a wide range of courses...long/short, easy/difficult...will more accurately reflect exactly where you 'belong'. Whether or not your ego accepts that fact is another story.

If I were to spend the next year playing nowhere else but Mt. Woodson on a weekly basis...where dipping into the 60s always seems within reach...I might be able to lower my index to, say, a ‘+2' or '+3'...but I would hardly consider that a ‘true’ number. Might be my index at that particular course but the discussion would end right there as far as I’m concerned. To me, it would be no different than shooting foul shots from a distance of 10' in your back yard (due to space constraints) and labeling yourself a 95% free-throw shooter vs. the 80% you might normally make from the regulation 15'.

Assuming your GK Profile is accurate...where you currently register as a '15'...there's too much of a gap to close by taking that route. You’d be better served by identifying and working on the areas of your game where you struggle. Where are you losing shots? Lack of solid contact, accuracy issues, or both? Somewhat loose on and around the greens? Spend more time on the practice tee and with an accomplished instructor to correct those issues that need attention. But keep this in mind: No matter how strong the desire to get that index under '10' might be, you'll only be able to go as far as your talent/ability allows.

[[Edited by 1PLUS1 on Wednesday June 2, 2021 12:56 AM]]
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 Message #99098 - This was a reply to message #99078
roarksown1
RE: Playing courses for handicap purposes
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Wednesday June 2, 2021 3:38 PM
QUOTED  Could a guy who shot a 70 shoot a 90 on the same course? A 72 to a 92 range? A 74 to a 96 range? In my particular case, those could all be a yes.


I do this all the time, Nick! ;-p

QUOTED  If the goal is your index number to 9.9 or less. (I don't know what it is now) But if it's a realistic goal for you then I would offer you play the course where you historically have scored best and play that track over and over again. 95% or more of your post-able rounds.

Most likely a course with low course rating and slope. Your number should drop. You may find that taking that index number to another course of greater difficulty and trying to score a career differential round will prove more difficult.


Index is currently a 14.2 but been down as far as a 12.0 ... and yes, there are some straightforward courses like Encino and Woodley that are long enough to get higher course ratings, but the ones with the low ratings and slopes mean you have to have a ridiculously low score to come close to pushing the index down.

QUOTED  Not sure I agree with this, precisely because of what Robert mentioned in his original post. When I played Alhambra several weeks ago, I had what I consider to be a great score with (adjusted) 77, but my differential for that day was almost 12! To me, ratings are based on course length far too much.


Exactly, Mark! And it's not like you can just mail it in - even at Alhambra you have to hit the shots or you're shooting 86 (like I did recently) and it's definitely then a throwaway round.

QUOTED  The Key to this exercise is to identify courses that play easier than the course rating? If you want to be a single digit handicap, maybe get there by scoring on the hard courses? Anyway, you could come down to San Diego and play Encinitas Ranch 20 times and that will lower your handicap by a lot, course is rated way harder than it plays. Stay away from the crossings and the golf club of california in Fallbrook, they should be rated higher than they play.


Encinitas Ranch - putting it on the list! Thanks!

QUOTED  another tip: find a course that's listed as a par 72 but where say 1 or 2 of the par 5s are gettable in two & maybe 1 of the par 4s is drivable. so now the course in your head is a par 70.


Great advice!

QUOTED  Would never consider 'manipulating' my index by playing selective courses. What's the point? If that's the only way you feel you can attain a single-digit index then you're creating a false narrative and only fooling yourself. Establishing an index based upon playing a wide range of courses...long/short, easy/difficult...will more accurately reflect exactly where you 'belong'. Whether or not your ego accepts that fact is another story.


I'm not manipulating anything as I still have to shoot good scores even on 'easier' but longer courses. I don't have that luxury. And again, I'm not simply going to spend every weekend at one of these courses to get my handicap down - if you read my reviews, you'll know that I play everywhere I can. I'm more curious what others think and if they sometimes play or avoid particular courses with respect to their handicaps. I look at the handicap as an honest assessment of where my game is, and I post every round - good or bad. But it's sometimes nice to know when you shoot a really good round on a course with a high rating that it's going to drop that number and make it feel like it's all more worth it.
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roarksown1
RE: Playing courses for handicap purposes
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Wednesday June 2, 2021 3:40 PM
QUOTED  Assuming your GK Profile is accurate...where you currently register as a '15'...there's too much of a gap to close by taking that route. You’d be better served by identifying and working on the areas of your game where you struggle. Where are you losing shots? Lack of solid contact, accuracy issues, or both? Somewhat loose on and around the greens? Spend more time on the practice tee and with an accomplished instructor to correct those issues that need attention. But keep this in mind: No matter how strong the desire to get that index under '10' might be, you'll only be able to go as far as your talent/ability allows.


This is of course solid advice. My main problem is not being able to avoid the blowup holes each round. My short game, depending on the day, can either be really good or really bad - sounds familiar to many I'm sure. I can play 13-14 really great holes but absolutely lose the plot on 3 or 4 of them and there goes the really good round into an average or poor one. But I certainly do need to be more consistent and spend more time at the range.
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