Playing from Different Tees

 

  Tee Rule Vote       

A previous vote from the membership resulted in the following:  61% of the membership are in favor of keeping the White Tee rule as it stands today.  

White Tee Rule:  The MGA has endorsed the recommendation by the USGA (United States Golf Association) regarding the ‘Player Competing from Different Tees.’ In short – Players have the option to play from the White Tees in any MGA event providing that the preponderance of their rounds (51%) have been played from said tees; if a player plays from the White Tees while the majority of the field plays from the designated tournament tees (Blue Tees), the White Tee player will have two strokes (the difference in the course rating between the Blue and the White tees) subtracted from their handicap for that event.

Because the MGA is all about its membership, we will retain the above rule for the 2005 golf season.  The MGA will make every effort to "mix up" tournament formats and has the right to alter the above rule at any time.  Thanks again to everyone that voted.

Over the last several months there have been many rumblings and inquiries having to do with the subject of golfers competing against each other from different sets of tees. The focus of the conversations dealt with men playing from the Blue tees and competing with players playing from the White tees. The MGA researched the issue and reinstated what the USGA has determined to be the most equitable method for fair competition. However, the lack of understanding and the immense unpopularity of the MGA enforcing the rule (USGA Handicap System™ - See Section 9-3c.) has forced the MGA to retract the implementation of this.

In many instances, those asking the questions did not like the answers I gave. They had preconceived, popular notions about handicapping and thought they had the solution all figured out. I had to inform them that they were wrong. The perception that this is a USGA "recommendation", is wrong.  It is clearly stated in the USGA Handicap System™ manual and is enforced by clubs all over the country:

c. Players Competing From Different Tees or Men and Women From Same Tees

  1. Different Tees: Men vs. Men; Women vs. Women; Women vs. Men
    Different tees usually have different USGA Course Ratings. Since Course Ratings reflect the probable scores of scratch golfers, the higher-rated course is more difficult, and the player playing from the set of tees with the higher USGA Course Rating receives additional strokes equal to the difference between the Course Ratings, with .5 or more rounded upward.

    Example 1: If men playing from the middle tees where the men’s USGA Course Rating is 70.3 compete against men playing from the back tees where the men’s USGA Course Rating is 72.6, the men playing from the back tees will add two strokes (72.6 - 70.3 = 2.3 rounded to 2 strokes) to their Course Handicaps.

In addition, one of the most common frequently asked questions is whether or not a club can "Ignore" this section of the USGA Handicap System manual.

(copied from http://www.usga.org/handicap/faq/8.html) 

8. If a club has players competing against one another from tees with different ratings, can it choose to ignore Section 3-5/9-3 of the USGA Handicap System?

No. Please see the following letter that is now sent out regarding this subject:

In regard to your inquiry, we want to clearly note the USGA's position regarding handicap competitions in which players are competing from tees where there are different USGA Course Ratings. Sections 3-5 of the USGA Handicap System® and Rule 6-2 of the Rules of Golf ® both apply in this situation.......

.......The USGA Handicap System has been developed so that competitions from different tees utilizing the differences in Course Ratings can result in equitable competition. We encourage golf clubs to offer competitive opportunities following this philosophy. This letter emphasizes that attempting to ignore this is a violation the Rules of Golf and the USGA Handicap System. If a golf club is issuing Handicap Indexes® to its members, it is expected that the club will follow the Rules of Golf and the USGA Handicap System. A club is subject to loss of the ability to utilize the USGA Handicap System as summarized in Handicap Decision 1-2/1:

If you would like to read the entire article, please click here.

http://www.g0negolfing.com/diff-tees2.htm

Let me explain what is "recommended" from the USGA as there seems to be a misguided conception that the tee rule is only a recommendationHandicap allowances have no effect in determining USGA Handicap Indexes, however, their use is "recommended" to produce fair and equitable competition. The allowances are designed to make all forms of play fair. In forms of competition, it is equitable for players to use either their full Course Handicaps or a percentage thereof. To make proper use of Handicap allowances, players must determine their Course Handicaps from the tees that they play from. First, players should apply the handicap allowances for the appropriate format and then, second, should apply the adjustment for the difference in Course Ratings if players are competing from different tees or men and women are competing from the same tees. (See Section 9-3c.) The adjustment for the difference in Course Ratings is applied after the appropriate handicap allowance has been determined so that the percentage reduction in Course Handicaps does not affect the adjustment for difference in Course Ratings. The amount of the adjustment is added to the players’ Course Handicaps, even if it causes a Course Handicap to exceed the maximum possible for the Slope Rating of the set of tees being played.

Honestly, the MGA has incorrectly calculated tournament handicaps in the past.  All handicaps were taken using our "Blue Tee" handicap irregardless of the set of tees you were playing from.  Players who played from the White Tees never "deducted" the difference of the course ratings from the Blue Tees or tournament tees.  On the flip side, anyone playing from the Gold Tees never "added" the difference in the course rating between the two sets of tees.  The can of worms has now been opened and, since Eagle Watch is sanctioned by the USGA, we decided to play by USGA standards.

Unfortunately, the preconceived notions about handicap usage resulted in a significant handicap advantage tilted toward their favor. They did not want to hear what I (the MGA) had to say, because my answers eliminated their advantage and evened the playing field.

I am finding myself reciting these USGA sections in my sleep so I personally welcome anyone to debate this issue with me and, if need be, I will get a USGA representative involved to clarify any outstanding misconceptions.  If there is another side to this that I am completely missing, please, please bring it to my attention.  Before you contact me, please check out the links below for reference.

http://www.usga.org/handicap/faq/7.html

http://www.usga.org/handicap/faq/8.html

http://www.usga.org/handicap/extras/handicaps_and_rules.html#

http://www.k9care.com/fga/different_tees.htm

http://golf.miningco.com/cs/handicapping/a/hfaq_difftees.htm

http://www.rcga.org/english/Handicapping/manual3.asp

http://www.mgagolf.com/silverpol.pdf

http://www.scrgolf.com/educ_different_tees.htm

http://www.g0negolfing.com/diff-tees3.htm

I can keep adding links but I need to get a cup of coffee.

 

Common thoughts and misconceptions:

My Handicap Index converts to the same Course Handicap from two different sets of tees. This system must be screwed up because I definitely score higher on the longer set of tees and I need more strokes. Example, a player has a Handicap Index of 10.4. The white set of tees has a Course Rating of 70.9 and a Slope Rating of 118. The blue tee has a Course Rating of 73.1 and a Slope Rating of 122. In both cases 10.4 converts to a Course Handicap of 11. As we learned in Example 1, the Slope Rating allows us to receive enough strokes to play to the level of a scratch golfer from a particular set of tees. So, when this player plays the white set of tees, he needs 11 strokes to play down to the Course Rating of 70.9. When he plays the blue set of tees, he needs 11 strokes to play down to the Course Rating of 73.1. So, to play to his Course Handicap, he needs to score 70.9 + 11 = 81.9 or 82 from the white tees and 73.1 + 11 = 84.1 or 84 from the blue tees. The system recognizes the difficulty difference in the two sets of tees, but it doesn't show up until we take into account both the Course Rating and the Slope Rating.
A player develops a Handicap Index from a certain set of tees, so a 10.4 who plays all the time from the blue tees is better than the 10.4 who plays from the white set of tees. Another way to read this is that a player develops a Handicap Index from a specific set of tees. In our last example, we said the white tees had a Course Rating of 70.9 and a Slope Rating of 118. What would a player have to average with his ten best scores/differentials to become a 10.4? Let's skip the 96 percent factor in the formula to make it easier to determine. First, we need to determine how to calculate a handicap differential. It is the adjusted gross score minus the Course Rating multiplied by a 113 STANDARD for Slope Rating, divided by the Slope Rating of the tees played. 81.8 - 70.9 x 113/118 = 10.4. So if a player averaged 81.8 on his ten best differentials, the result would be 10.4. If a blue tee player averaged 81.8, the result would be 8.1 (81.8 - 73.1 x 113/122). Result: Shooting the same score from different sets of tees does not result in the same Handicap Index.
For a player averaging 84.3 from the blue tees, the resulting Handicap Index would be 10.4 (84.3 - 73.1 x 113/122). The combination of the differences in Course Ratings, plus the weighting of the Slope Rating shows that a blue tee player averaging 2.5 strokes higher than the white tee player would result in the same Handicap Index. This is how we determine which ten rounds to count in your Handicap Index, whether played from the blue tee at your course, the white tee at your course or the blue tees at Pebble Beach.

Nowhere in the above information did we mention the word par. Players often try to throw par into the mix when trying to figure if scores are equal. Par is of little relevance in the handicap system and is a terrible indicator of predicting score. For example, one course may be 5500 yards long and have a par of 72 and another may be 7200 yards long and have a par of 72. It is highly unlikely that scores on these two courses would be equal for any level of golfer.

In each of the examples, we have used both Course Rating and Slope Rating. The point is that Slope Rating by itself has little meaning within the Handicap System. There must be a Course Rating standard to connect/attach to the Slope Rating in order for there to be any meaning. If there is one thing to remember from all of this, it is that the Slope Rating is used to convert a Handicap Index to a Course Handicap, which allows the player to receive the number of strokes he needs to play to the level of a scratch golfer for that particular set of tees.

To further clarify this situation, the MGA has adopted this USGA recommendation to make playing from different tees equitable and fair.  This is not an MGA "RULE" nor is it a USGA "RECOMMENDATION" - it is a way to level out the playing field and still let players play from the tees that they normally do.  If you have questions about this or would like to discuss this in more detail, I would be happy to do so.  I also have an email thread between myself and the USGA describing that this is the fairest way to run tournaments.  Call or email me if you like.

Gary Janos

gary.janos@borland.com

770-937-7884


MGA TEE RULES

MGA Tournaments - Rules & Definitions

  • Preponderance of Rounds:  In all MGA scheduled tournaments, a player may play from the White Tees only if at least 50% of the latest posted scores (less than 20) or ten of the last 20 posted scores are from the White Tees and verified from the computer posting.

  • White Tee Player:  someone who’s “preponderance of their rounds” are played from the White Tees.

  • Blue Tee Player:  someone who’s “preponderance of their rounds”
    are played from the Blue Tees.

  • Gold Tee Player:  someone who’s “preponderance of their rounds”
    are played from the Gold Tees.

  • The MGA can change and/or declare which tees will be used at anytime based on weather and/or playing conditions.

  • Any player may play from the Gold Tees for any scheduled tournament. 

  • For multi-day events, the player must play from the same tees for the entire event.

  • It is the intent of the MGA to have separate flights for the
    Gold
    , Blue and White Tee players in MGA tournaments
    whenever practicable and possible (depending on player participation).

 Players Playing From Different Tees

NOTE:  Unless stated otherwise, the ‘standard’ set of tees from which all MGA tournaments are played from are the Blue Tees.

Per the MGA and in alignment with the USGA Handicap System, section 3-5,
we are implementing the following:

Playing the White Tees

White Tee Player (preponderance of rounds played from the White Tees)

  • Players playing from the White Tees and competing with players playing from the Blue Tees must use the White Tee computer handicap. Additionally, the White Tee player must subtract the difference in course rating between the White Tees and the ‘standard’ or Blue Tees (2.1) in order to compete against players playing from different tees.

Blue Tee Player (preponderance of rounds played from the Blue Tees)

  • Not an option.

Gold Tee Player (preponderance of rounds played from the Gold Tees)

  • Not an option.

Playing the Blue Tees

White Tee Player (preponderance of rounds played from the White Tees)

  • Player’s option.

Blue Tee Player (preponderance of rounds played from the Blue Tees)

  • Standard.  Players playing from the Blue Tees must use the Blue Tee computer handicap.

Gold Tee Player (preponderance of rounds played from the Gold Tees)

  • Players playing from the Blue Tees and competing with players playing from either the White or Blue Tees must use the Blue Tee computer handicap. Additionally, the Gold Tee player must subtract the difference in course rating between the ‘standard’ or Blue Tees and the Gold Tees (2.2) in order to compete against players playing from different tees.

 Playing the Gold Tees

White Tee Player (preponderance of rounds played from the White Tees)

  • Player’s option.

Blue Tee Player (preponderance of rounds played from the Blue Tees)

  • Player’s Option.

Gold Tee Player (preponderance of rounds played from the Gold Tees)

  • Players playing from the Gold Tees and competing with players playing from either the White or Blue Tees must use the Gold Tee computer handicap.  If at least 50% of the latest posted scores (preponderance of your rounds) are from the Gold Tees, the player must add the difference in course rating between the Blue Tees and the Gold Tees (2.2) in order to compete against players playing from different tees.

Difference in Course Rating


 

Eagle Watch Slope Rating Tee Differential Stroke Adjustment (rounded)
White Tees 128 68.4 2.1 -2 Strokes

Blue Tees  -

Tournament Tees

133 70.5 - None
Gold Tees 139 72.7 2.2 +2 Strokes

 Summary

 

But the Preponderance of Your Rounds are Played From:

In a Tournament, you play from the:

WHITE TEES BLUE TEES GOLD TEES

WHITE TEES

Players playing from the White Tees and competing with players playing from the Blue Tees must use the White Tee computer handicap. Additionally, the White Tee player must subtract the difference in course rating between the White Tees and the ‘standard’ or Blue Tees (2.1) in order to compete against players playing from different tees.

ACTION:   Subtract 2 strokes.

Not an option. Not an option.
BLUE TEES

Player’s option.

Standard tournament tees.  Players playing from the Blue Tees must use the Blue Tee computer handicap.  No equitable stroke adjustment needed.

Players playing from the Blue Tees and competing with players playing from either the White or Blue Tees must use the Blue Tee computer handicap. Additionally, the Gold Tee player must subtract the difference in course rating between the ‘standard’ or Blue Tees and the Gold Tees (2.2) in order to compete against players playing from different tees.

ACTION:   Subtract 2 strokes.

 

GOLD TEES Player’s option. Player’s option.

Players playing from the Gold Tees and competing with players playing from either the White or Blue Tees must use the Gold Tee computer handicap.  If at least 50% of the latest posted scores (preponderance of your rounds) are from the Gold Tees, the player must add the difference in course rating between the Blue Tees and the Gold Tees (2.2) in order to compete against players playing from different tees.

ACTION:   Add 2 strokes.

For reference purposes only, the following chart depicts the difference in the overall length of the courses between the Gold, Blue and White Tees:

Course

Gold Tees

Blue Tees

White Tees

Difference

EAGLE WATCH

6896 yards

6458 yards

 

438 yards

 

6458 yards

6044 yards

414 yards

6896 yards

 

5526 yards

1370 yards



If you have any questions about the above analysis or would like to add some comments, please click on the Green Triangle below and give us your honest feedback.  The MGA will follow the USGA format going forward for all tournaments.  In all actuality. remember that these are not just MGA rules, these are USGA rules. Thanks.


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