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Equitable Stroke Control. What are your thoughts?

HighTopFade

Well-Known Member
Sep 1, 2006
520
12
Personally, I think it makes players like me seem better than I actually am. I do get a few 8s 9s or even a 10 in a round. Below is an explanation stolen from NCGA.org.

Equitable Stroke Control (ESC) is a procedure whereby abnormally high individual hole scores are adjusted downward prior to the score being posted. ESC sets a maximum number that a golfer can post on any hole, depending on the golfer's Course Handicap (not his Handicap Index). Effective Feb. 1, 1998, individual hole scores will be adjusted for handicap purposes per the following table:


Handicap Maximum score per hole
9 or less Double bogey
10 through 19 7
20 through 29 8
30 through 39 9
40 or more 10
 

ezra76

Well-Known Member
Feb 5, 2006
12,412
16
Makes sense to me, sort of. I mean, a poor round is not going to affect my handicap anyway so it's kind of mute. Once I put an 8 or more on the card it usually means that round is shot. I don't think any of the scores used towards mine were adjusted. I've obviously had some adjusted but those are all high 80's to low 90's rounds. I'm not the type to have one or two blowups, I'm either on or I'm not.
 

Fourputt

Littleton, Colorado
Sep 5, 2006
973
0
Actually ESC allows more high hole scores than the previous USGA handicap calculation method. When I first started posting scores for handicap in 1989, the highest I could take on any hole was a double bogey, which meant that I could only take a max of 5 on a par 3 hole, or 6 on a par 4, and I was even limited to how many doubles I could post. If I remember correctly, a 12 handicap could only post a max of 12 doubles? It's been a while since they changed, and I never got to the limit when the calculation was being done that way so my memory is a bit fuzzy on it.

With ESC, I can post as high as 7 on any hole, which is a quadruple bogey on a par 3 or a triple on a par 4. I think the current method is actually more fair than that earlier one.
 
OP
HighTopFade

HighTopFade

Well-Known Member
Sep 1, 2006
520
12
  • Thread Starter
  • Thread starter
  • #4
Wow! Sounds like the previous ESC was pretty strict. That's a lot of math on the 19th hole.
 

Sandpiper3

Golf Course Designer
Aug 9, 2006
5,058
2
I nvr really use it, only time i have is in little skins games and such ive played in they use all that. Tourneys i enter real scores, even the really sad ones, and normal rounds I dont usually post (good or not) because theyre just practise-y rounds.

Where im at now, i only post "real" rounds, when im being competitive (like have bets or tourney rounds and such), bad or not obv:p. Those rounds where im just out to have fun are great practise and such, but theyre not real rounds that should count for me anymore, those are just rounds when your having fun and dropping an extra ball now and then. Plus it gives me a more accurate "tourney" cap, because all the rounds that are counting have pressure and I really have to play to get those good scores.
 

Pa Jayhawk

Well-Known Member
Nov 15, 2005
7,200
64
Country
United States United States
Here is the actual link for anyone interested.
http://www.usga.org/questions/faqs/handicap_system.html#3

Personally I use my own form of ESC, I will only take a double par on a hole. I always thought the ESC was lacking in that sense. It makes sense a Single digit handicap can only take a Double Bogie, why not continue in that sense. For me, my index is 16.9, my home course handicap is 20. So with that criteria, I can take an 8. If they want to serve the purpose they indicate, how is allowing someone to post an 8 on a par 3, and only a triple bogie on a par 5 really going to show ones true potential. I also see that it really prevents a golfers index from going up to its true potential if they are in a slump or stop playing as much. I have Played with guys that used to be very good, and just don't play to that level now, and probably post scores in the 80's when they are likely really in the 100's. Kind of like an unintential vanity handicap.

I also keep my handicap at home and ignore the Oct. 15th cutoff. I track it until I no longer play weekly. Had I observed that, my handicap was 4~5 strokes higher on Oct 15th, and being that I do play for small wagers during the week, I would just feel as though I was stealing friends money.
 

Bravo

Well-Known Member
Aug 27, 2004
5,822
15
I use it every round and have no issue with it...with a 7.3 index all I can record is a double bogey and that pretty much sums it up for me...
 

Fourputt

Littleton, Colorado
Sep 5, 2006
973
0
Here is the actual link for anyone interested.
http://www.usga.org/questions/faqs/handicap_system.html#3

Personally I use my own form of ESC, I will only take a double par on a hole. I always thought the ESC was lacking in that sense. It makes sense a Single digit handicap can only take a Double Bogie, why not continue in that sense. For me, my index is 16.9, my home course handicap is 20. So with that criteria, I can take an 8. If they want to serve the purpose they indicate, how is allowing someone to post an 8 on a par 3, and only a triple bogie on a par 5 really going to show ones true potential. I also see that it really prevents a golfers index from going up to its true potential if they are in a slump or stop playing as much. I have Played with guys that used to be very good, and just don't play to that level now, and probably post scores in the 80's when they are likely really in the 100's. Kind of like an unintential vanity handicap.

I also keep my handicap at home and ignore the Oct. 15th cutoff. I track it until I no longer play weekly. Had I observed that, my handicap was 4~5 strokes higher on Oct 15th, and being that I do play for small wagers during the week, I would just feel as though I was stealing friends money.

The main reason for using the USGA handicap system as it is intended is to put everone on the same boat, regardless of whether that boat seems headed in the right direction or not.

I won't post scores that don't follow the Rules of stroke play, i.e., a match or a scramble or any sort of game that modifies basic hole by hole stroke play. But when I play a casual round, I very rarely do anything that would invalidate my score. I play by the Rules of Golf even if I'm the only one on the golf course. I might play 2 balls, but both balls are still played by the rules. But that is just how I approach the game. I just can't get any satisfaction from finishing a round with a score that I know doesn't reflect how I really played. I also don't post scores if the course isn't playing to its normal difficulty or rating. In the late fall and winter here, when we can play at all, the course is pretty defensless with the native rough nonexistent and the the normal rough dormant, making for much easier play. I tend to average 3-4 strokes better under these conditions, and entering such scores would be reverse sandbagging and only hurt me in the long run. As the course plays the same for everyone, using my season ending handicap is not unfair, as all my mates are doing the same.

Over the years I feel that the USGA system seems to work fairly well. When I play well in club tournaments, I often finish in the money. When play just to my handicap, I might make one of the last couple of money spots, or just miss it, and when I play poorly, I finish well down the leaderboard. Because of past problems with sandbaggers, the club only uses tournament scores from stroke rounds to calculate tournament handicaps... and they adjust any holes needing such action prior to entering the score in the GHIN system even though the full score applies to the tournament results.

My index has been falling slowly throughout this year as a result of finally being injury free for a full season (for the first time in 5 years), and I currently stand at 14.9. This is the best scenario.... you win more when your game is improving than when it's on the slide. But at some point it balances out, because we all go through the occasional slump and the USGA system is very unforgiving when your game is off.
 

JEFF4i

She lives!
Supporting Member
Jul 3, 2006
13,545
95
It works for some, just not for me. I can't do it, really.

If I get a quad on a hole(it does happen, and I do hate it), then I need to fess up, and darn well pull myself out. If my round shows 4 birdies to counter a quad, in a way, it's even prettier than boring par golf. :biglol: Now only if I can get to where I am averaging par golf.
 

Fourputt

Littleton, Colorado
Sep 5, 2006
973
0
It works for some, just not for me. I can't do it, really.

If I get a quad on a hole(it does happen, and I do hate it), then I need to fess up, and darn well pull myself out. If my round shows 4 birdies to counter a quad, in a way, it's even prettier than boring par golf. :biglol: Now only if I can get to where I am averaging par golf.

Don't get me wrong here... if I make a big number it goes on the scorecard, just not into the computer for posting on the GHIN site. The adjustment is only performed for ESC handicap purposes.... not for the actual round score. All tournament scores are posted to the leaderpoard with the number of strokes actually taken, and the same is true of casual rounds playing skins or such with my friends. They'd string me up from the clubhouse balcony if I tried to claim a 7 on a hole when I actually took a 9.... :hunter:
 

Loop

Well-Known Member
Aug 27, 2004
1,418
3
I don't like ESC.
You get a quad, then you count the quad in the final score for calcuting your handicap.
My philosophy is that in a round, bad things happen and that should reflect on your handicap.

Golf is a game of consistency. Having a handicap index is a measure of how consistent you are, not of a silly reflection of your potential game.
 

Pa Jayhawk

Well-Known Member
Nov 15, 2005
7,200
64
Country
United States United States
Because of past problems with sandbaggers, the club only uses tournament scores from stroke rounds to calculate tournament handicaps... and they adjust any holes needing such action prior to entering the score in the GHIN system even though the full score applies to the tournament results.
This is the big key for me, as I do sometimes play for money, or in tournaments. I give my handicap, and the people I play with accept it a face value. I would rather lose money or a tournament than be questioned as a sandbagger. As I said, my game is at it's tops right now. On the flip side, because the USGA only takes handicap through Oct 15th, I would feel like I am stealing my friends money by giving my accepted USGA Handicap. My index has gone down 2 more strokes in just 3 rounds since this last Friday, and I simply could not play with money on the line knowing I was getting an extra 6 strokes since Oct 15th. I much prefer my current 16.3 index over the 20+ I had on Oct. 15th, on the flip side, I earned every bit of that on courses that were in less than optimal shape. In the process, I am not stealing my friends money.

So I agree, the USGA does a good job in trying to figure this out, but in terms of fair play I will step in and override the rules when I see fit. This is usually at my own expense, and I try not to cheat myself or my friends. So I guess I ride the line at being a vanity handicap or a Sandbagger. With money on the line, I would always rather be a vanity handicap, although in most cases I just would rather not be viewed as a sandbagger.

In the end, I think I have a good enough understanding of the game and USGA to find a happy median. Really though, I thing the criteria for a single digit handicap is the right method. Double bogie. Maybe for 10~20 be a triple bogie, and 20+ a quad. IMO, they have set different standards.
 

limpalong

Mental Ward Escapee
Supporting Member
Oct 18, 2006
13,827
13,655
I forgot!
Country
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Please refer to the USGA website, and the on-line handicap guide, and you will find the following. If you want to carry a legitimate USGA handicap you MUST enter scores adjusted to the requirements of the ESC. You don't have the choice! USGA... and I think for good reason... requires application of ESC.

4-3. Equitable Stroke Control

All scores for handicap purposes, including tournament scores, are subject to the application of Equitable Stroke Control (ESC). This mandatory procedure reduces high hole scores for handicap purposes in order to make handicaps more representative of a player's potential ability.
A handicap determined from scores to which ESC has not been applied may not be termed a Handicap Index.
 

Pa Jayhawk

Well-Known Member
Nov 15, 2005
7,200
64
Country
United States United States
Please refer to the USGA website, and the on-line handicap guide, and you will find the following. If you want to carry a legitimate USGA handicap you MUST enter scores adjusted to the requirements of the ESC. You don't have the choice! USGA... and I think for good reason... requires application of ESC.

4-3. Equitable Stroke Control

All scores for handicap purposes, including tournament scores, are subject to the application of Equitable Stroke Control (ESC). This mandatory procedure reduces high hole scores for handicap purposes in order to make handicaps more representative of a player's potential ability.
A handicap determined from scores to which ESC has not been applied may not be termed a Handicap Index.
I think we understand what the USGA says. In fact I quoted that exact link earlier in the thread. I think the debate and the initial question posed is whether or not that is the best method. If you are of the opinion that simply because the USGA says so, then it must be the best way, which seems to be the case, great. Although that leaves very little to discuss on here. Personally I have stated why I don't buy into that, and have stated my reasoning. I have further stated that I feel the Oct 15th deadline may not be the best method. Again, I know that is what the USGA says, I understand. But for me that doesn't mean I will mentally bow to their feet and take their word that it is the best method.

The current club for which I belong automatically adjusts for ESC prior to entering the score, the have to in order to be a USGA recognized club. Great. They also stop taking scores on Oct 15th. My handicap under those guidlines is 21.2. Today under those same guidelines without taking into consideration the drop dead date, my index is 16.3. I understand that I could say, "Well my USGA handicap is 21.2, so you need to give me 5 strokes instead of 0". Just because I followed the guidlines of the USGA does not make me a better person when I question the legitimacy of some of the rules. Although if someone wants to insist that I use my official index, I will gladly take their money. I don't want to subject my friends to that, and I would likely have few bets and even fewer friends. Then again, the USGA doesn't have much criteria on placing wagers, does that mean it should never be done on the golf course?

I know, "It's the same for everyone, and the USGA insists", but for those of us with a conscience, it is not always that easy when playing among friends.

So again, what the USGA says is not what is being debated here, it is whether what they are saying is the best method.
 

Dave Ireland

I'm sizzlin tonite
Aug 31, 2004
1,388
0
I had the mother of all ESC adjustments (also known here as Rule 19.8 adjustment) this year in our President's prize .. I shot 89 which included on the 4 par 5's - two 10's an 8 and a 7 .. +15 for 4 holes and +17 overall. The ESC adj of 7 brought me down to 82, a nett differential of -1 and I lost .2 for my troubles ..talk about kicking you when yer down :D
 

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