Tournament Handicapping

We hope everyone is excited to be playing in the National Retired Military Golf Classic! This tournament is unique and differs from almost any other golf event that you may have played in before.  The event has golfers playing on a different 4-person scramble team each day, while also competing cumulatively as an individual over all 4 days.

(For more information on the tournament format and rules of play click here! )

We wanted to share with everyone how the handicapping at the event is handled being the format is much different than any other event you may play in.  This will hopefully allow everyone to better understand everything that goes into the handicapping of the tournament.

The United States Golf Association offers recommendations in regards to handicapping for almost every format of play.  This includes a 4-person scramble. The USGA recommends tournament committees utilize 25% of the A player’s handicap, 20% of the B player’s, 15% of the C player’s and 10% of the D player’s handicap to create a handicap for the 4-person team.  

Tournament committees should always review the USGA’s recommendations and guidelines for running and operating their events.  These recommendations are recommendations rather than a set rules as the USGA recognizes that there are variables that take place at events that may alter what may be the best way to compute a team’s handicap.  The National Retired Military Golf Classic is a perfect example of one of these events. 

The NRMGC tournament is not an event that has all perfect foursomes.  We will have close to 70 different daily teams throughout the four days of the event that will be threesomes competing against foursomes.  All of these teams will be missing a different type of player in regards to being an A, B, C or D player.

There are a wide variety of good reasons the event has threesomes and many of these threesomes are not known about by the tournament staff until the last minute on the day of play.  The tournament has to be able to adjust the handicap for these teams so the singles that are still playing on these teams don’t have their scores affected negatively in the overall standings. Keep in mind all players are each being assigned these teammates randomly by the committee, but they are competing as individuals over the four days.

Because of this, the NRMGC tournament needs to be able to make adjustments to the team’s index to make these players remain competitive.  We also need to do this in a way that is equal regardless of whether the golfer missing was an A, B, C, or D player on the team. 

Whenever a threesome then randomly occurs on the morning of play, we are able to adjust the handicap of these teams allowing the other three singles on the team that are missing a player to be able to compete equally with the other foursomes in the competition. 

There is no perfect way or set guideline on how a tournament committee should handle threesomes competing against foursomes.  The committee has to use all the recommendations available to them and find the best way to assign handicaps to every team in the event equally.

Just below is how this adjustment is made to teams missing players: 

  1. Each player on the 3-person team will rotate who hits that “fourth shot” for the team to where each of the remaining players hits an equal number of shots for the team.
  2. We then have to assign a handicap to the “fourth shot” being hit by the team even though it is being hit by three different players with three completely different skill levels. With all three players rotating hitting that shot equally, we are able to use their handicaps to assign a handicap to the “fourth shot” as though it’s a fourth player on the team.
  3. This ensures that these threesomes are able to have a fourth shot as though they have a fourth player on the team. They are still able to compete as a foursome as though they have a fourth player like all the other teams they are competing against.   

As a staff we have to constantly review what is the best way to assign indexes to these teams.  The event has used a variety of different handicap policies over the many years the event has taken place.  As we learn more about this event’s unique format, we will always try to make adjustments where necessary to ensure everyone playing has an equal chance to be a winner.

In the 2023 event the percentage of any players handicap being used to create the team handicap was 10%.  After further review of event scores and handicap information it has been decided to change this percentage of each players handicap being used to 15% per player rather than 10%.  This will give all teams in the event more shots total and result in lower scores overall, but will also allow us to get the number of strokes each team will receive as close as possible to the USGA’s recommendations. 

This change in the percentage being taken per player should help to further create equality for all of the teams in the event.  This event is about so much more than the results on the leaderboard, but we want to create as equal of an environment for team to compete in as possible.

We understand that handicapping at events can be confusing at times, so please do not hesitate to call our tournament staff at any time to discuss all of this in further detail. We are happy to speak with you over the phone or via email to answer any questions that you have about the tournament’s handicapping model.

Phone: (833) 968-1924