Tournerby Golf 'TROGS' & 'TROLLS'


It is common knowledge that the TROGS enjoy a great deal of banter on the first tee, whether it be shots into the range, mishit shots to left, discussion on whether an iron or driver, how far big hitting Joe reaches down fairway but the biggest talking point is always, will “Bandit 28 Bob” outhit everybody, which I must say happens quite often, bringing with it the major talking point HANDICAPS. 

Recently a variation of this theme has arisen, should we have a TROGS society handicap committee to set and monitor all of our handicaps. Having tried to install such a system in the days of the previous professional regime I am no longer in favour of it especially as Kevin Flynn has an approved system of calculating handicaps in operation and I know has a desire to see more members with officially approved handicaps.

I also know that many TROGS do not play in the official Tournerbury 18 hole competitions, which automatically monitor the handicaps and also very few record their scores on a club score card.

The question really is whose handicap is wrong, Bob who submits competition cards on a regular basis or others who do not hand in cards? Remember a handicap becomes invalid if 3 cards are not submitted in any year.

So is there a solution to get all of us with CURRENT and APPROVED handicaps, I believe there is and having spoken with Kevin, who agrees that it would work, put forward the following

1) TROG members record 2 consecutive 9 hole rounds on a single card getting the playing partner to initial the relevant score of the 9 holes, i.e. can be different people for each 9 holes

2) Kevin will create a “weekly competition” on his system and enter all cards handed in to him each Friday as the competitors.

3) Handicaps will be calculated in accordance with CONGU regulations

4) This TROGS competition will not be included in the club Order of Merit tables

5) A regular update of ALL handicaps will need to be published on the notice board.

This will only work if we all try to hand in cards on a regular basis.

Please let Joe, Bob or myself know if you have any comments.

Dan Robinson

07 June 2011.

From The Average Golfer Web Site

"On a regular basis I peruse the site monitoring features I have set up for Average Golfer. Many people that find my site are looking for amateur golfer averages, be it score, handicap, club distances and the like. I compiled and averaged some information from a lot of different sources to boil it down into something useful. Everyone wants to know how their stats compare to the "norm". Keep in mind there is no norm, especially in regard to how far you hit a particular club. The only thing that matters is that YOU know far YOU hit each club. I'll take a hole in one with a 6 iron over a playing partner's errant 9 iron any day. There's too many variables that can't be accounted for between individuals. Age, height, weight, athletic ability, how long you've been playing, all make up your swing and affinity for the game, and as a result, your scores. It's almost worthless to compare your game to anyone's. The shape of your game is determined by how well you score and what course you're playing. It really is you against the course and it's condition when you played it. Nevertheless, here's some "rough" numbers because so many of you have been asking.

The average handicap for men and women is coincidentally 15.2 for both.**(Please see comments for a correction to this statistic). Weird irony I suppose. The average score for all amateur golfers is over 100. Why the difference? People that maintain a legitimate handicap are much more avid golfers, hence they play more and are more successful at the game. Keep in mind that your handicap is not an indicator of what you usually score. It's an indication of what you're CAPABLE of scoring. Think of it as what you may score on one of your better days.

Average distances for amateur golfers that maintain handicaps.........

Average driver distance, men......200-260 yards.
Average driver distance, women......150-200 yards.

Average 6 iron, men......130-160 yards.
Average 6-iron, women......70-130 yards.

Average pitching wedge, men......80-120 yards.
Average pitching wedge, women......50-80 yards.

I know everyone plays with or knows someone that doesn't fall into these numbers. They're averages, properly measured and reported. When asked on the tee box how far our drive went, most of us overestimate by 20-40 yards. Yes, it's true!

Some useful playing stats....................

A scratch golfer hits an average of 12 greens in regulation, 81% of the fairways, has 29.0 putts, 3.2 birdies per round and 11.8 pars per round.

A golfer that averages a score of 85 hits 5 greens in regulation, 46% of fairways, has 33.7 total putts, 0.8 birdies per round, and 6.6 pars.

A golfer that averages a score of 100 hits 0 greens in regulation, 11% of fairways, has 38.3 putts, 0 birdies, and 1.3 pars.

So the biggest differences are greens in regulation, fairways and putts. In other words, everything! The easiest shots to shave off your score are found in the short game. Chipping, pitching, and putting don't require tremendous swing speed or physical ability. Plus, they can be practiced in your back yard or living room. Having a reliable tee shot that lands in the fairway is important as well. Finding the short grass off the tee is much more important than distance, especially for high handicappers.

I hope this satisfies the average golfer's need for numbers. Hit the range or the course and improve yours!

Why has the longest golf drive record not been broken?

By Alex Hudson
BBC Click

Lee Westwood

World number one Lee Westwood drives the ball an average of 295 yards

The record for the longest golf drive has stood unbeaten for 35 years and was achieved with a wooden club, so have three decades of improving golfing technology failed to make an impression?

On 25 September 1974, a 64-year-old man called Mike Austin is recorded to have driven a golf ball 515 yards from the tee on a Las Vegas golf course.

It was a 450 yard par 4 so he will have ended up more than 50 yards past the green. No-one on record has hit a ball further in a tournament.

The record was established a year before Tiger Woods was even born, and prior to the last three decades of equipment innovation.

Incredibly this man - alleged to have hit a ball over 200 yards with a can of cola strapped to a club face and who never won a professional title - still holds the claim for the longest drive.

It stands somewhere between folklore and reality. The Guinness Book of World Records does not recognise a figure for overall drive, quoting instead distance travelled by the ball in the air.

That record stands at 408 yards (373m) by Karl Woodward in 1999.

Austin's feat was witnessed by former PGA champion Chandler Harper, course officials and the rest of his four-ball grouping. But how has it not been surpassed?

Technology in golf was meant to have changed the game forever. And anyway, golf - at least professionally - is seen as a young man's game.

"Nobody's ever done anything like it," Austin told Travel and Leisure magazine shortly before his death in 2005.

"If regulations allowed us to do whatever we wanted I don't think it would affect the game to the detriment of the average player

Doug Wright, Wilson Golf

"People think they hit a ball 300 yards and it's a goddamned miracle. But I know I did something all the greats couldn't do. That's something to really think about."

He drove the ball with a tailwind of up to 35mph (55kmph) and was at an altitude of well above 2,000m above sea level but the thing is that Austin was using a Persimmon driver - the ones actually made from wood.

Golf is meant to have moved on since then. Clubs are lighter, more forgiving to mis-hits and are more powerful. They have gone from being made of wood then steel to titanium and this has greatly affected how far the ball is being driven.

Tradition and skill

Top players' average driving distances on the PGA Tour jumped up by over 20 yards in the 10 years between 1990 and 2000 and nearly another 20 between 2000 and 2003. At that point there were nine players averaging drives of over 300 yards.

Tiger Woods

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Dan Simmons takes a sideways glance at golfing GPS tech

At that time, when titanium technology was first being utilised, drivers twice the current limit - 460 cubic centimetres (28 cubic inches) in size - were being created and driving averages were at an all-time high.

And that is when golf's governing bodies stepped in to keep what they saw as tradition and a high level of skill in the game.

The efficiency of club faces was capped at 83% and further - even more technical - regulations were placed on the balls. At the start of the 2010 season, even the amount of grooves on a club face was limited.

With these regulations, Bubba Watson , the biggest driver on the PGA Tour for three of the last four years, has actually seen his average drive distance drop.

At the end of the 2009 season, it stood at 312 yards per drive. While not exactly a chip shot, it represents a fall of seven yards in three years.

In fact, the PGA Tour average currently stands at 287 yards - a figure quite easily out of the reach of most amateurs, but one that has remained the same since 2003.

400-yard drives

"Maybe we made drivers too big, too quickly," says Doug Wright, business director for Wilson Golf in Europe.

"If you look at other industries, they tend to limit their technologies, but we pretty much went up to the limit straight away."

In the 2009 season, 47 drives of 400 yards or more were recorded on the PGA Tour . The longest was 467 yards by Charley Hoffman, and while huge, it was still 50 yards short of what Mike Austin achieved with inferior technology and an age disadvantage.

J L C Jenkins competing in the Amateur Golf Championship at Sandwich in 1914

Both golf clubs and golf fashions have come a long way in the last 100 years

"If you were a strong player you could still get some decent distance [with an old-style driver]," says Wright.

"For the normal player you would struggle to get consistency from the tee because the sweet spot was so small and, secondly, the club was quite heavy."

So are the rules getting in the way of new tech coming out to help golfers?

"I'm always guarded about people who want to stifle innovation," says Steve Burnett, coaching department manager at the English Golf Union.

"The normal golfer on the street wants to hit the ball further, he wants the latest gadgets because golf's a hard game to play. It requires a lot of time and a lot of practice so the easier we can make it the better, for the health of the game as a whole."

'Redundant courses'

And he is not the only one who thinks that technology is of great use to the more casual player:

"If regulations allowed us to do whatever we wanted to the golf ball and the club, then I don't think it would affect the game to the detriment of the average player," says Wright.

"I think the professional game - which a lot of the concern is around - and the risk of courses becoming redundant, is a different argument all together. I can see both sides."

There is increasing debate about whether there should be two sets of rules, one set for amateurs and one for professionals. The argument is that purity should be kept for elite players but amateurs should be offered all the help they can get.

English Open Golf Champion John H Taylor

Older courses are being extended because of drive length increases

It is a similar idea to Formula 1 in which drivers are forced to prove their skill by driving without navigation and braking devices available to regular drivers .

Despite the advances in technology, there is one fact you cannot escape - the faster you swing the club, all things being equal, the further the ball will go. Austin is rumoured to have a swing that approached 150mph. A number of top pros are now swinging the club at upwards of 120mph.

But the simple answer could be that golfers are not always trying to hit it as hard as they can as position is often more important than yardage - a prime position on the fairway is far better than careering off another 100 yards into the woods.

The manufacturers however, with annual product cycles, are trying to eke out every inch of extra distance.

"It's something we always ask them," says Jonathan Greathead, equipment editor at Today's Golfer magazine.

"A year ago, manufacturers said their driver was the greatest, longest, best ever and now, 12 months later, they're launching something even more impressive - so how does this technology work?"

The real innovations are not actually in enhancing distance but in accuracy, consistency and personalised clubs.

"Customisation is a massive part of the game now," says Greathead.

"Even a guy playing off a 20 or 21 handicap can drop maybe five or six shots in just a few weeks, which obviously is a massive difference, whereas the pros need every edge they can get."

Accuracy, or at least consistency, of modern golf equipment is still seen by many as the key to low scoring, with regulations making it more difficult to play from the rough .

But even in Mike Austin's day, distance was not everything. After hitting his record-breaking drive, he pitched back onto the green and three-putted for a bogey.




 During the winter of 2007/2008 the EGU toured the country hosting a number of Handicapping Seminars to launch the new CONGU Unified Handicapping System (UHS). One issue that was discussed was that Clubs, although not in favour of lapsing handicaps, wanted to have more control of their members’ handicaps and players competing in Open competitions.  

 The EGU and EWGA are to launch a system that will identify the competitive nature of an individual. Approved and supported by CONGU, the "Active/Inactive Handicap" will identify (by the use of an indicator) whether an individual has competed in qualifying competitions and as a result returned information on their playing ability. We have all heard of the so-called ‘Bandit’ who wins competitions with very low scores. These people generally avoid playing in qualifying competitions in order to keep their handicap artificially high. As an alternative to Clause 25 of the CONGU UHS, currently adopted by the Scottish Golf Union, the Active/Inactive system will be able to identify whether these people have returned scores without the need to lapse a handicap. 

 The system will be launched in January 2010 and will require all members with CONGU handicaps to have returned at least three qualifying scores each year to ensure they have an active handicap. It follows therefore that three qualifying scores will be required in 2009 to avoid becoming inactive at the start of 2010. Scores returned in 9 hole qualifying competitions and Supplementary Scores will be accepted as part of the player’s qualifying competitions. 

 Those members not meeting the minimum number of scores will be identified with an "i" (inactive) that will appear on their CONGU certificate and handicap lists published by CONGU approved handicapping software. Qualifying scores of less than 3 will not be carried forward to the next year. The "i" will be removed from the player’s handicap as soon as three qualifying scores have been returned. An inactive handicap may still be used for social golf and the like and in competitions not stipulating an active handicap as entry criteria. 

 So what is the benefit of such a system?  Well firstly and perhaps most importantly it will enable event organizers to run competitions, both Club and Opens, without the fear of players taking part who have ‘false’ handicaps. This can be achieved by adopting a condition of the competition that requires an entrant to have an active handicap.  Clubs may adopt this condition providing it does not cover all events and that opportunity is given to players with inactive handicaps being permitted to return the three qualifying scores needed to ensure an active handicap. The system should also encourage more individuals to submit qualifying scores and this in turn will help to improve the accuracy of members’ handicaps throughout England.  

 The EGU and EWGA will monitor the situation and review the number of scores required to maintain an active handicap at the end of 2010. The EGU and EWGA hope that this initiative will lead to a review of Clause 25 for the next edition of the CONGU UHS in 2012. 

From A Varied Collection Of Web SItes

"A handicap is calculated with a specific arithmetic formula that approximates how many strokes above or below par a player should be able to play. The R&A (now a separate organization from the Royal and Ancient Golf Club), based in St Andrews, Scotland, is responsible for the authorization of handicap systems in all golf playing countries except the United States and Mexico (where United States Golf Association rules apply) and Canada, where the Royal Canadian Golf Association rules apply. The administration of handicapping systems in countries affiliated to the R&A is the responsibility of the national golf associations, which are affiliated to the R&A. The two governing bodies specify slightly different ways to perform this calculation for players. The details of these calculations are presented below.

A golfer's net score is determined by subtracting the player's handicap from the gross score (the number of strokes actually taken). The net scores of all the competing golfers are compared and (generally) the person with the lowest score wins.

A player's handicap is intended to show a player's potential, not his average score, as is the common belief. The frequency by which a player will play to their handicap is a function of that golfer's handicap, as low handicappers are statistically more consistent than higher handicappers. The USGA refers to this as the "average best" method. So in a large, handicapped competition, the golfer who shoots the best with respect to his abilities and the normal variations of the score should win.

While there are many variations in detail, handicap systems are generally based on calculating an individual player's playing ability from his recent history of rounds. Therefore, a handicap is not fixed but is regularly adjusted to increases or decreases in a player's scoring.

For a long time the use of handicaps has been controversial in golf and other sports. Perceived rewarding of mediocrity and the arbitrary leveling of playing fields have fueled many debates with respect to the legitimacy of the continued use of handicaps.

In the United States, handicaps are calculated using several variables: The player's scores from his most recent rounds, and the course rating and slope from those rounds. A "handicap differential" is calculated from the scores, using the course slope and rating, and the player's handicap differentials are used to calculate the player's handicap.

Handicapping in the United Kingdom and Ireland

In the UK and Republic of Ireland, a "scratch score" system was previously in place in order to rate courses and be fair to golfers of varying ability, and to make allowances that courses may play "easier" or "harder" than par, overall, to the amateur field. For this reason, a "standard scratch score" (SSS) is used as a baseline for how the course plays in practice (e.g. an SSS lower than par indicates a course which golfers find slightly easier, and vice versa).

Akin to the SSS is the Competition Scratch Score (CSS). The principle is the same, only this describes how easy or difficult the course played during a given competition. It is against this CSS score that a player's handicap is adjusted by the club. Golfers with a handicap of 5 or lower are said to be Category 1 players. Higher handicap players are categorised as Category 2, 3, or 4. For every stroke the Category 1 golfer's net score is below the CSS, his handicap is reduced by 0.1. For Category 2 golfers, this figure is 0.2, for Category 3 golfers it is a 0.3 reduction, and 0.4 for Category 4 golfers.

Similarly, amateur golfers are allowed a buffer zone to protect their handicap on "off-days". For Cat 1 this is 1 stroke, for Cat 2 this is 2 strokes, etc. This means that if a Category 1 golfer's net score is one stroke higher than the CSS, his handicap will not increase. If a golfer's net score is higher than the CSS plus buffer zone combined, his handicap will increase by 0.1. This 0.1 increase covers all golfers and does not vary by category.

The Home Unions of England English Golf Union & English Ladies' Golf Association, Scotland, Wales and Ireland are members of the Council Of National Golf Unions (CONGU), who publish the handicapping rules for both men and women.

Although they can be done manually, computer software now must be used to calculate the CSS and in Ireland and England handicaps are now published to a Centralised Database of Handicaps (CDH). CDHs are also being introduced in Scotland and Wales in 2011. The vast majority of clubs in the UK and Ireland use one of two software companies applications to calculate their handicaps; Club Systems International's CLUB2000 and Handicapmaster's product of the same name.
CONGU Unified Handicapping System 2008 - 2011

A golf handicap allows players of all levels of golfing ability to compete against each other on a fair and equal basis. Thus a handicap system is effectively essential to the popularity and prosperity of the game of Amateur Golf. The System developed and refined by the Council of National Golf Unions (CONGU) provides a player with a golf handicap that reflects their playing ability relative to that of all other players handicapped by the CONGU® Handicapping System. In 2004 CONGU® incorporated Ladies’ golf handicaps within the system and this effectively completed the objective of providing a golf handicap that allowed players of all levels of ability to compete on an equal basis at Club, District, Provincial, National and International levels.

CONGU® handicaps are ONLY allocated to players who are members of clubs or organisations affiliated to a National Union/Association or CONGU® and authorised by CONGU® to utilise the Unified Handicapping System (UHS). Such clubs/organisations are obligated to administer the UHS in a tightly controlled and uniform way thus ensuring that the members’ golf handicaps are maintained with consistency and uniformity.

A CONGU® Golf Handicap is a unique guarantee that its possessor has a golf handicap that reflects his ability and has the standards expected of a recognised golf club, thus it provides a universally accepted passport to the pleasures that golf has to offer the world over.


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