Your ‘One Day’ Golfing Handicap


Corporate, social days and charity events are a popular feature of golfing around the world. It’s a great way of bringing people together in a friendly atmosphere with a competitive edge.

Handicaps are a way for golfers of different abilities to compete. However golfers who only play socially will not have an official handicap or perhaps a handicap that’s out of date. Asking them to guess isn’t good enough. If someone’s response to a question about their handicap is a blank stare or a comment about it being between their ears or a ‘gammy’ leg, chances are they don’t have one. We’ve all seen those outrageous results with a gross score totally out of range for someone who claimed a handicap in the late 20’s or higher. To resolve this problem there are at least two systems which provide a formula for manufacturing a handicap based on performances on the day.

These systems are not perfect with an element of luck involved, but at least there’s an even playing field and no ‘sandbaggers’. Here’s how the ‘System 36’ and ‘Peoria System’ work, two of the most popular ways to calculate a ‘one day handicap’. A prerequisite for using these systems is a way of calculating the results quickly, preferably with a computer-based program. Getting the score cards to the scorer without delay (not after a shower) will also save time and losing golfers tired of waiting. At the recent Springfield Charity and Masters each returning group was greeted as they returned outside the club house by a ‘card collector’, a really good idea!


The basis for this system is that your handicap for the round is calculated using the scores of six predetermined holes, although none of the players know which six holes have been selected. These holes are typically two par 3’s, par 4’s and par 5’s; spread over the eighteen holes. When the card is returned the players score for the six holes is multiplied by six (e.g. 30 strokes x 3 = 90). The course par is then deducted (e.g. 90 – 72 = 18). The last step is to award a handicap of 80% of that number (e.g. 80% of 18 when rounded off = 14). If you are clever: Just score badly on the 6 selected holes and then excel on the rest! But expect accusations of the organisers ‘leaking’; their selections to you …………….


This system uses your score on every hole. Points are accumulated as follows: Double bogey or worse – 0 points Bogey – 1 point Par or better – 2 points Using this formula deduct the points accumulated from 36, this is now your handicap. For example if you score 1 birdie, 6 pars (14 points), 6 bogies (6 points) and the rest double bogie or higher (0 points) 36 less 20 = 16 handicap. If are clever: Score either birdies or double bogies only! For example 3 birdies and 14 double bogies will give you a handicap of 28 and a net score of 64. Good luck ……!

What About A Shotgun Start?

As most golfers know, this means each group (or two) is assigned a different starting hole. Everyone starts at a given signal (perhaps something like a cannon?) and finishes around the same time. The prerequisites are transport to and from the starting and finishing hole and clarity about where and when the start happens. Having score cards with this information provided at registration is the way to go. This means a significant saving of time before the results can be announced, an important part of a social day. Golfers arriving at the course as a group are also accommodated. However are there enough showers for 60 or more golfers wanting to refresh at the same time? The success of every social or even competitive golfing day is not to underestimate the organisation required and always think about fairness and golfer’s convenience.