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Posted by: user106709 | Tue 11th Nov 2008 13:59 | Last Reply


My handicap is 28 but Ive been in Portugal played Penina / San Lorenzo / Villamoura and Vale de Lobo and shot between 102-106 over the four courses.

The question I have is, are the courses harder than they are here and by how much ?




re: Handicap
Reply : Tue 11th Nov 2008 14:41

In Europe you may have found they had adopted the US style slope and course rating system.  This in part identifies the difficulty of a course and thus allows handicap adjustments based on the course you play.

Unfortunately in the UK we do not have such a system for Uk courses.


re: Handicap
Reply : Wed 12th Nov 2008 21:44

Darren writes...Unfortunately in the UK we do not have such a system for Uk courses.


 It's really funny that the home of golf has such a messed up system of determining handicaps, a messed up system where single golfers have no standing and so many golfers who are snobish enough to subscribe to this moronic concept, where women golfers are scorned, but at least have some of the greatest courses around to save the day.


re: Handicap
Reply : Wed 12th Nov 2008 22:06

Look on the bright side Michael, it's much, much better than it was 20 years ago.

re: Handicap
Reply : Wed 12th Nov 2008 22:08

Michael, that comment was for courses what about UK golf handicaps !

re: Handicap
Reply : Wed 12th Nov 2008 22:37


Single golfers have standing under the latest R&A rules

re: Handicap
Reply : Wed 12th Nov 2008 22:56


 Nice courses to play I must say. That must have been some trip!

Don't want to state the obvious but...

Make sure you weren't playing the yardages to the centre of the greens, most are to the front in Europe. Also take into account the distances are in meters so you need an extra club to UK yards.

This cost me a few strokes when I first played in Portugal.

re: Handicap
Reply : Wed 12th Nov 2008 23:49

Chris, the R & A  might have given standing to single players in the rules, but every private club will not adhere to that ruling and rightly so in my opinion.

re: Handicap
Reply : Thu 13th Nov 2008 17:50

As a high handicapper I have tended to score better on away courses this year than the course where I am a member.  I particularly do well on courses I haven't played before.  I've tried three this year and on each occasion have broke a hundred whereas on my home course less than 20% of my rounds are under a hundred.

I think the main two reasons for this are, I concentrate better on a new course and I am more inclined to play within myself.  Anyone else experienced anything similar?

re: Handicap
Reply : Thu 13th Nov 2008 18:23

As a lowish Hcp i do the same Jon and for the same reasons,I try to play to what i can see even if it leaves me along shot.

I play more adventurous if its a team or pairs format and your playing parntners are in good positions.

Last edit : Thu 13th Nov 2008 21:27
re: Handicap
Reply : Fri 14th Nov 2008 08:13



Thanks for your replies.


I will continue on my quest for mediocrity



re: Handicap
Reply : Fri 14th Nov 2008 18:31

Dave B, I have just lost a long response to your question so I will now be brief, single players are more trouble than they are worth. You may be faster but why should I have to keep on letting single players through, thus spoiling my game.

If we all turned up to play as singles then we would never get a game as the course would be full at all times.

All private clubs will still have the no standing rules for single players, after all it is supposed to be a social game.

re: Handicap
Reply : Fri 14th Nov 2008 18:34

Michael is talking rubbish, just ask him if he would be allowed to play as a single player at Augusta, I mean he is an American so should be allowed to.

re: Handicap
Reply : Fri 14th Nov 2008 19:25


I think there is a difference between a single player being given no standing and not allowing single players onto a course.  When I ring up a course to play as a single player I always make it clear I am booking the tee time for just me.  I have no problem with a course that refuses my request on the basis that the course is too busy to allow me to tee off on my own or if they say they will fit me in with another group. 

If I am allowed to go off as a single player and the course is busy i would not expect to play through if the group in front is keeping pace with the group in front of them.

However if I am allowed to tee off as a single player and get behind a four ball who have clear holes in front of them I would be extremely annoyed not to be asked through at a resonable opportunity. 

re: Handicap
Reply : Fri 14th Nov 2008 19:33

I must have not explained myself very well, Jon W, I don't know of a club that does not allow single players to play, just that all private clubs will not give them standing, for the reasons I stated.

If you came up on a fourball that was not holding its place then you have every right to ask to go through as they are not holding their place on the course.

I myself  do not like being pressed by faster players so I am the first to offer letting them through. It really is a question of give and take and when the course is busy then a single player really should not be attempting to barge his way through, thus spoiling the game for everyone else.

Last edit : Fri 14th Nov 2008 19:40
re: Handicap
Reply : Fri 14th Nov 2008 20:06


The clubs I was referring to do not ban single players but won't let them out at certain busy times.  I have no problem with this as a single player on a course full of three and four balls is a menance.  However I suspect the motives of these clubs is not to make the game more enjoyable for the members/patrons but greed to squeeze as much money out of tee times as they can.

I entirely agree with your last point.  Whilst I will defend the right of a single player to play through if there is space ahead I would condemn any golfer who presses the group in front as it is not only discourteous but often dangerous.  I am fairly mild mannered on the course but what really gets me is hearing a ball drop on the green as I am just stepping off it or hearing a ball drop behind me as I am playing a shot.

re: Handicap
Reply : Fri 14th Nov 2008 23:45

Unless you have been a member of a private members club then I doubt you would understand, George and I am not even going to attempt to explain it all to you.

re: Handicap
Reply : Sun 16th Nov 2008 08:56

Then you really are not so bright as you claim if you are still needing it explained to you. Just think about it for a while and see if it comes to you. Read up about the etiquette of this game and its traditions and then you may understand where I am coming from.

I am fed up with being questioned by newcomers to this game who expect everyone else to do all the explaiing about everything that is involved in this wonderful game when all the information they require is available through many different sources. I am not one of those sources.

I will indulge you on this occasion only, we have a situation which has arisen in this country because of the many new courses which are primarily pay and play, where the only concern is money over the counter. I suspect you play at one of these.

You will have noticed that they send out 2, 3 4 balls all intermingled with one another, this causes hold ups on some parts of the course and gaps in other parts. The gaps are then seen as a group losing their place and then we get the old arguments that they are slow and refuse to let others through. Throw single players into this mix and then you have a recipe for disaster.

Private clubs however, operate a civilised method of keeping all these different groups apart by usually allotting certain start times for 2 balls and different times for 3/4 balls, from either the first or the tenth tees, with no single player having any standing whatsoever. This is a system that works well in the main and why it was adopted in the first place.

In fact, if you wish to know, in the old days, all clubs, apart from local municipal courses, were private members clubs and one would not get into one as a member until they were of a 24 handicap standard(which was the highest ever allocated at that time) and had also been interviewed by a committee as to suitability.

Now this may sound snobbish to you, but in actual fact the system worked well, as all members of any club do not wish to have their enjoyment at that club, spoiled by members who are not prepared to abide by the rules of the said club.

My club in Somerset never had tee time sheets other than main board competitions where a draw was made. We just turned up at the first or tenth tee, depending on the size of our group and the time of day, and played. If there were more groups at the tee then a ball was placed in a shute and one waited their turn.

I was a member at that club for sixteen years and never came across anyone playing on their own. Does that mean we were friendlier than people are now. I ask this, because in later years, when I have been on my own waiting at a public ourse to try and join others, how difficult it was, as the modern breed seem different in their attitudes to playing with strangers, whereas I have never been like that.

Richmond Park in London had a great system. You turned up, put your name or names down if you were a two and they made up the fourballs. This ensured that every group was a fourball and every tee time was producing the most revenue. Sound business sense and a routine that everyone became used to.

I may come across as pretty blunt on the forum but that is never intended, just that my keyboard just does not have any manners at all, but in real life you will find that I am fairly personable and would help anyone requiring advice to play this game better.

I don't play golf on my own but if I did, I most certainly would not expect to be charging through everyone elses game, spoiling it for them. Also if I were ever asked if I minded someone joining up with me I would never turn them down, could you say that?


re: Handicap
Reply : Sun 16th Nov 2008 10:21

Don't ever take any notice of what I say on this forum. George, as I am noted for operating keyboard before engaging brain, oh! and not forgetting that I like to be contentious.

re: Handicap
Reply : Sun 16th Nov 2008 13:55

Every course is different and no system of rating them will alter that fact. As you have just pointed out Martin, an 18 handicapper at Royal St.Georges is going to be a far superior player to an 18 handicapper at the majority of other courses.

Perhaps the answer is to rate each individual hole on its difficulty bearing in mind that no everyone can hit the ball a long way. A hole of 400 yds is unreachable for me but for some it is a drive and a mid-iron. Almost all the modern par fives are out of range  to me in three shots.

The problem with any system is that there is no provision to adjust ones handicap when playing a harder or easier course than ones own.

The current SSS system just does not work, as we all know. Every event you play in under handicap always produces a spread from 1st to last that makes a mockery of any attempt to get everyone across the line together, yet with this silly.1 for every time you shoot over ones handicap means that handicaps barely move up at all and do not reflect current play.

Handicaps are there so that players of all abilities can play against one another competitively, but until they return to a maximum 24 handicap with threequarters only allowed we will always see these over 40 point winners. IMO no player should receive more than 1 stroke per hole, it's a joke.

re: Handicap
Reply : Mon 17th Nov 2008 16:13


Interesting last point.  I am afraid I have been tracking all my rounds not to deliberately push my handicap up but because I thought when I started out on the site it would give a truer indication of how I was progressing.  Now I understand the site and handicapping better I see that entering all scores for stats purposes but only tracking the better rounds would give a fairer indication of my handicap but still allow me to see how I am progressing.  I will do something about it before I enter any comps next year.  Thanks

re: Handicap
Reply : Mon 17th Nov 2008 16:27

Jon, don't worry, it's kind of a flaw in the UK handicap system.

A good round you can drop anything, I know people who have dropped over 2 shots.

A bad round you only go up each round by 0.1

Thus one good round could lower your handicap considerably and take you a lot of rounds to get back to your true figure.


Regards, Darren.

re: Handicap
Reply : Mon 17th Nov 2008 16:45


As with you, I track every round to see how I'm doing whether the round is good bad or indifferent.  With the handicap system so heavily loaded to drop quickly and climb slowly, I think the odd bad round is diluted pretty quickly. 

Looking at the graph of my handicap makes bizarre reading.  I tend to drop by around a shot then slowly edge up to about 0.2 below the previous standard before dropping by about a shot again.  A few weeks ago after a good round I dropped 2.8 shots in one go but adjustments over the next five games saw me go up only 0.1 each time, the maximum allowed. 

re: Handicap
Reply : Mon 17th Nov 2008 16:59

The purpose of a handicap system is to try and give everyone of different abilities the chance to compete with each other on a level playing field. The one we have and even the other alternatives do not work, period.

A handicap IMO should be the best you can do under summer conditions, in other words handicaps should be so tight that one does not play to them that often. This would immediately end these silly scores which we see and hear about.

re: Handicap
Reply : Mon 17th Nov 2008 19:03

Thanks Darren, Allan and Chris but i think that John's point about the handicap being close to the best you can play rings true for the position I am in.  Being a house husband I am lucky enough to be able to get out and play 2 rounds a week.  Most of the rounds I play are just on or outside the five shot buffer to the handicap I have.  If I enter all my rounds I will get a lot of 0.1 additions so I think I should limit the amount of rounds I track and will cetainly leave out any rounds over the winter that are played in less than ideal conditions. 

Given that a lot of golfshake competitions use stableford scoring which I think favours high handicappers, those of us with handicaps in the high 20's should make sure they do reflect the best we can play.  Just on that point I was impressed by the scores on the order of merit table this year which I think reflect what an honest bunch golfshakers are.  The spread of scores is exactly what I would expect from correctly handicapped golfers.

re: Handicap
Reply : Mon 17th Nov 2008 20:00

Very honest. 

Quite often at events people will come up during registration and tell you their club handicaps is actually 2 shots lower than their golfshake.com handicap because they haven't put in enough cards on the site to get the accurate level. So play to the lower club handicap in the competition.

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