A New Handicapping System for Golf

Tim Swartz
May 2009
Journal of Quantitative Analysis in Sports;May2009, Vol. 5 Issue 2, p1168
Academic Journal
The official handicapping system of the Royal Canadian Golf Association (RCGA) is very similar to the handicapping system of the United States Golf Association (USGA). Although these handicapping systems are complex and have been carefully studied, the systems do not take statistical theory into account. In 2000, the Handicap Research Committee of the RCGA was formed and challenged with the task of developing a new handicapping system. This paper outlines the proposed system. The proposed system continues to make use of the existing course ratings and slope ratings, but uses statistical theory to drive the methodology. In this paper, we demonstrate that the proposed system has several advantages over existing systems including fairness and improved interpretability. The proposed system is supported by both theory and data analyses. An investigation into the effects of equitable stroke control is also provided.


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