November 4th 2013,

My Members, Their Handicaps,

Let me start simply with” Fuzzy Math’s” and golf’s handicap system should work but it doesn’t. It depends on personal integrity, dignity, respect, honesty; self-delusion and the ability to perform grade-school arithmetic-qualities that are rare not just in one’s regular group of four playing Saturday at my golf club, but in eastern bloc population at large. A handicap is also what economists call ” a trailing indicator”;You use it to set the terms of today’s match, but your number is based on how you were playing last week, last month, or last year-before your knee operation, short game lesson from Demis Papillon Golf Academy or your divorce. Because handicaps are updated just once a week, and the ability to hit decent shots can materialize or evaporate as quick as it takes you to walk from the 1st green to the second tee, almost everyone’s Handicap Index is out of phase with reality.

Yet you can meet 3 strangers on the first tee of one unfamiliar course, throw balls to choose partners, and know there’s a decent chance that your 50 Lei bet will come down to the final putt on the final hole. How come? The reason, I think, is that golf is almost magically self-adjusting. Players who are getting fewer strokes than they think they need often to compensate by swinging better than they thought they could; players who are getting more strokes than they know they deserve usually manage to throw some of them away. And almost any round includes enough good and bad luck to make its outcome unforeseeable, no matter what. A handicap, under any circumstance, is a crude approximation.But so is golf.Like I always say; “we play golf with approximation of a perfect shot”.

Nevertheless, every golf club has members known to carry inflated handicaps.Often, this is a matter more of temperament than intention; some golfers look at par and see the bogey it ought to have been rather than the birdie it almost was, and sometimes the guys with the most questionable handicaps are the one who are careful about turning in their score cards.
Whatever the cause, for my Saturday morning members I have found the cure. I make up the teams sometimes at random over the course of a season, almost everyone plays with almost everyone else in their categories. That means that the opponent you accuse of protecting his handicap today could well be your partner next week. You don’t want to have to say; “I know we had our little differences in the past- but if you play to your handicap today I will wrap my 9-iron around your neck”

It’s probably better to think of handicaps as the RUB OF THE GREEN, and figure that, one way or another, everything in a golf game will even OUT in the END.
 

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