Jake's Journal By Jacob Miller
If you have been plugged into the golf world over the past 12 months you have likely heard that there will be a new handicap system taking effect in January of 2020. As the weather begins to cool off, it is time to get educated on the changes coming next year.
First, it’s important to have a little background on the World Handicap System (WHS). Golf already has a single set of playing Rules, a single set of equipment Rules and a single set of Rules of Amateur Status overseen by the USGA and The R&A. Over the course of the past few years, the six major handicap systems around the world have been collaborating to create a single set of Rules for handicapping. Beginning in January, their work will be on full display with the rollout of a unified handicap system where everyone around the globe will be working within the same parameters when posting scores.
That all sounds nice but what does it mean for you and your handicap? Let’s dive into what you need to know and what you can expect to happen to your handicap when the calendar rolls over.
Will my index change?
It is likely given the changes within the calculation your handicap will change slightly. In WHS, only your best 8 of 20 scores will count towards your handicap versus your best 10 in the current USGA system. However, the old 96% multiplier will no longer exist so determining your handicap just got a bit easier. If you are interested in what your handicap will look like in the new WHS, click on the WHS banner in your e-revision that you receive from the Utah Golf Association and it will tell you what your index will be next year!
You need to know your Course Handicap!
In the new system, Course Handicap will represent the number of strokes a player receives in relation to par of the tees being played. This means you will see course handicap values change more from tee to tee, as they represent the number of strokes to play to par for each given tee. This new calculation will allow players to compete from different sets of tees without an additional adjustment. Players will also use their Course Handicap to determine Net Par and Net Double Bogey for score posting purposes. Don’t like math? Just download the GHIN app and we will calculate everything for you!
Net Double Bogey
The days of equitable stroke control (ESC) are over, but you will still have a maximum score per hole that you are allowed to post for handicap purposes. Regardless of handicap, everyone will calculate their maximum hole score the same way. The calculation is as follows: Par (of the hole) + 2 strokes + any handicap strokes received. Or simply double bogey plus any strokes received. This is why it is so important to know your playing handicap!
How soon should I post after playing?
Scores should be posted in the same day for multiple reasons. The first and most important reason is the Playing Conditions Calculation (PCC). What is that? Not every day is ‘normal’, factors such as weather and course setup can change the way a golf course plays. The PCC compares scores against expected scores for each course, if scores submitted that day match expectations, no adjustment is made. However, if scores are significantly better or worse, the calculation will automatically adjust differentials accordingly. In addition to the mathematical change, your handicap will no longer be revised on the 1st and 15th of each month, they will be revised daily.
Safeguards in the system:
There are multiple safeguards in the new system that will help to ensure a player has an accurate handicap. The WHS will limit extreme upward movement with a soft and a hard cap on a player’s handicap. A soft cap applies and reduces the value of any increase over 3 strokes by 50%. A hard cap applies when a player has reached a maximum of 5 strokes above their low handicap index and no further upward movement will take place. Another safeguard is the exceptional score reduction. If a player shoots an exceptional score their handicap will be adjusted one or two strokes depending on their score.
Am I good enough to have a handicap? How do I get one?
Everyone is good enough to have a handicap! In the new WHS, the maximum handicap for both genders will be 54.0 instead of 40.4 for women and 36.4 for men. Establishing a handicap is faster and easier than ever, head to UGA.org to join and get a GHIN number. Once you have your GHIN number you only need a total of 54 holes to generate a handicap index. Do you only play 9-hole rounds? That isn’t a problem, 9-hole scores will be combined in the system to produce an 18-hole score.
The new World Handicap System is making the game more inclusive and enjoyable for all. If you are interested in learning more, please visit WHS.com or follow the Utah Golf Association on social media for short videos and other resources.
Jacob Miller is the executive director of the Utah Golf Association and a frequent contributor to Fairways.
Lindsey Stucki is in her fourth season as head coach of the Dixie State University Women’s Golf program. Stucki has led the Trailblazers to a runner-up finish at the 2019 RMAC Championships, and to consecutive fifth-place finishes at the Pacific West Conference Championships in 2017 and 2018.
Coach Stucki, who is an apprentice member of the LPGA Teaching and Club Professional program has worked in various aspects of the golf industry including as an assistant golf professional at Sand Hollow Golf Resort in Hurricane, Utah.
She also served as a LPGA Assistant Teaching Professional for the City of St. George, and worked with prominent swing instructors Doug Roberts and Mike Smith. In addition, she served two seasons on the coaching staff of the Hurricane (UT) High School girl’s golf program, including a one-year stint as the Tigers’ head coach in the 2010-11 season.
Stucki played collegiately at the University of Central Arkansas, where she helped lead the Bears to six-consecutive team tournament wins and a Gulf South Conference championship. She also spent time at BYU-Hawai’i, for which she helped develop the Seasiders’ women’s golf program.
Stucki graduated with Cum Laude honors in Business Administration from Dixie State in 2007, and completed one year in professional golf management program at Lethbridge (Canada) Community College.
A native of Cranbrook, British Columbia, she and her husband, Ty, are the parents of two children – Rowen and Dash.
By Lindsey Stucki, Dixie State University Head Women’s Golf Coach
There are many things girls can begin doing in high school to better prepare themselves for college golf. To me, three of the most important things are:
1 Get as much tournament and competitive experience as possible. A lot of incoming players aren’t prepared for the increased competition they face, not only in tournaments, but also among their own teammates. We only travel with five players so qualifying for that top five roster spot can be intense. The more tournament experience while in high school, the more skills will develop and players will be more comfortable in competitive situations.
2 Learn how to manage time. Being a college athlete can be challenging. Balancing school and a rigorous practice schedule is often difficult. Being able to manage time and understanding that sacrifices will have to be made will help college athletes thrive in both golf and in school.
3 Developing a mental game and a decision making process is also key to success. This really relates to both attitude and course management. The best players thrive in knowing and learning the variability of the game.
In This Episode:
Carly talks to the assistant pro at Promontory Golf Club in Park City, Sadie Palmer. Palmer qualified for the 2019 Utah Open and is first woman from Utah to qualify for the National Assistant PGA Professional Championship.
By Randy Dodson
Lauren Taylor isn’t your typical incoming Utah Valley University Women’s Golf freshman and that’s just fine with Head Coach Sue Nyhus; and it’s not just her Australian accent that makes her stand out.
Coming from a Lone Peak High Girls Golf team full of talent, Taylor’s first love of sports was basketball. As a tall pre-teen, now standing 5’9”, why wouldn’t it be? Lauren’s father, Peter, an avid sportsman who played Australian-rules football, tennis, cricket, squash and golf, had no problem when at age 12 she traded playing hoops for making putts at The Vines Country Club, located in the Swan Valley region of Western Australia, once home to the European Tour’s Heineken Classic, Johnnie Walker Classic and Lexus Cup.
A native of Perth, Australia, Taylor first fell in love with the social aspect of golf as she played in weekly competitions with golfers of all ages. After moving to Utah she became more competitive and dedicated to improving her swing and her scoring ability.
As a Lone Peak Knight, Taylor was named to Utah’s High School All-State golf teams from 2016 to 2018. She was the 2016 region champion and finished in the top ten individually in the 6A High School Girls State Championship for three consecutive years, including a second place finish in 2018, one stroke behind Tess Blair, with rounds of 69-66 at Meadow Brook golf course.
Of Taylor, recently retired Knight’s Coach Gina Higbee said, “She is a very positive person and a great leader. She likes to know when she really needs to grind because her team needs her and she always comes through. Her positive attitude makes everybody on the team happy and she loves positive surroundings and positive feedback. I absolutely adore her, not just as one of my past teammates, but as a friend.”
The Knights have won three state titles in four years with Taylor playing a role in all of them.
“Lauren is a strong, athletic golfer who is eager to learn,” said Nyhus. “Her ball striking has been improving each year. She brings a bright countenance each day. Lauren also benefited greatly from the high level of competition on her Lone Peak team. She is a great student as well, which fits perfectly with our “Student-Athlete” model. All of these factors and a few more make Lauren Taylor a perfect fit for our Wolverine team.”
Lauren’s path to UVU has followed the junior golf roadmap just as Utah’s allied golf associations have created it. She first teed it up with the U.S. Kids program then progressed to the Utah Section PGA’s junior series, followed by the PGA’s Major series and Utah Junior Golf Association tours while playing high school golf. She also now competes in Utah Golf Association women’s championships.
When interviewed after the UGA’s Utah Women’s Stroke Play Championship at Soldier Hollow Golf Course Taylor said, “I loved playing high school golf. I was lucky enough that I had an awesome team and played pretty well, especially my junior year. That was probably my best year. Last season Berlin Long came in and me and Abbey Porter were seniors so I felt like we had three really solid players. It was a great team with awesome gals to play with.”
Fairways magazine writer Kurt Kragthorpe wrote in his 6A Championship feature, “Beyond the team’s talent, Coach Gina Higbee credited Lone Peak’s camaraderie for its strong performance.” That sentiment is shared by Taylor and she sees Higbee as the instigator saying that she cares about each girl and the team more than any other coach she’s seen, calling her coach a “fireball.”
UVU’s Sue Nyhus fits that mold according to Taylor. While she had thoughts of leaving the state to play college golf, it was Nyhus that made the difference in her final decision to become a Wolverine.
“She was the one coach that made me feel I was wanted on the team as much as I wanted to be there. I grew up with the whole team sport thing and in some ways playing golf you miss out on the that aspect. I think that’s why I really enjoyed playing high school golf and I think I’m really going to enjoy playing college golf, knowing that I’m playing for something more than myself.”
And that’s just what Coach Nyhus wants to hear.