Getting a 1/2 stroke in match play?!

Follow Thread

By Speedy

  • 3 Likes
  • 19 Replies
  1. Speedy

    Speedy
    Newmarket, NH

    Last week my partner and I played in my annual Summer Classic (3 day member guest) at my home course, always a lot of fun to play and meet new members and guests. Anyways, a few of our matches my guest was getting a 1/2 stroke on one hole. So it did prompt a discussion and I do agree with him it's stupid. Either a full stroke or nothing. I can't imagine winning a hole with a 3.5 or 4.5 or whatever. Just doesn't seem right.

    Anyone have thoughts on this? I don't agree with it but it is what it is.

  2. Rob_Roth1

    Rob_Roth1
    San Diego, CA

    Speedy said:

    Last week my partner and I played in my annual Summer Classic (3 day member guest) at my home course, always a lot of fun to play and meet new members and guests. Anyways, a few of our matches my guest was getting a 1/2 stroke on one hole. So it did prompt a discussion and I do agree with him it's stupid. Either a full stroke or nothing. I can't imagine winning a hole with a 3.5 or 4.5 or whatever. Just doesn't seem right.

    Anyone have thoughts on this? I don't agree with it but it is what it is.

    Yeah it happens with cutting down of handicaps and I am not a fan either. I have seen it when a full stroke beats a .5 stroke and its nuts.

    They are trying to keep it fair with strokes but like you I am not a fan either. Heck I wish everyone played by the Philly GAP section in their GAP matches where there is no strokes.
  3. Dale V

    Dale V
    Escondido, CA

    Agree Speedy. I can't understand the logic since there is no way to perform a 1/2 stroke (although I have occasionally hit it half-a**ed). When using my current 11.6 handicap it rounds to 12. When it drops to 11.4 I will play it as an 11. I either get a stroke on a hole or I don't. I guess as crazy as it sounds it still better than playing in one of those scrambles where you get a string for free putts, buy unlimited mulligans, shoot 12 under and loose by 10. Hit'm straight and stay safe!
  4. Abdon M

    Abdon M
    Northern California

    I definitely agree with the idea that .5 stroke is odd especially when you're on the losing end of it. I've played a few tournaments where .5 strokes are taken into account. For the group I regularly play with, we just take the whole number.
  5. Don O

    Don O
    Madison, WI

    When I can get half a stroke for a lip-out coming to rest within the diameter of the cup, maybe. But rounding to the nearest integer is good enough. On a semi-serious round, adjusting for handicap is hard enough with whole numbers after a couple of Bloody Mary’s.
  6. No'l

    No'l
    Palmdale, CA

    Oh, this just came up a month or so again from the past between our guys. I don't mean to go against the grain, guys, but I'm okay with a half stroke on stroke holes.

    We weren't in a tournament, and I was the higher handicap in a three group with an 8 handicap, and everyone else were 5s and below.

    First, I have to say that I'm always excited to play with better players- I just know that I will learn something, and if not, it'll just be fun to compete with them.

    The argument came when I could also par a stroke hole and everyone else too with the lower handicap guys just as easy/difficult for all and I'll be winning that hole with a half stroke which is down right as it should be. So in the same example, when I parred a difficult par three or any stroke hole, I'd score a 2.5 on a par three, and if the lower handicap player birdied it, the "natural birdie", a 2 beats my half stroke rightfully. The last caveat is when the low handicap birdies a stroke hole and I also make birdie (gulp) - the pendulum swings my way again. That is gamesmanship or competitiveness or anything it can be called from every individual in the game that I agreed with. I think it's fair because a given whole stroke is tough to beat whereas a half stroke it could go either way. Oh, and yes, I've been on the other end also and I stand the same ground.
  7. Chuck Z

    Chuck Z
    Mt Pleasant, SC

    It appears that handicaps were taken into effect, even in match play, as most member/guest events do. Or at least the ones I have played in. Some even allow mixed tees based on age. GHIN is used to even the field. Sometimes you are on the winning side and sometimes on the loosing side. I personally do not see an issue, this is golf and we are dealing with handicaps. In life .5 numbers would be rounded up to a whole number. The guys I play with on a weekly basis, we use a modified stapleford scoring system and our board keeps up with the points. Dale has made some valid points about some these events. Golf is about for the love of the game.
  8. Andrew A

    Andrew A
    Charlotte, NC

    It's the worst idea in competive golf and I absolutley despise it!
  9. Chuck Z

    Chuck Z
    Mt Pleasant, SC

    With most member/member, member/guests that I am familiar with, having played in them and having been there passing out swag, they are far from being within the rules of the USGA. I have never failed to see a game not being played that is named after a city in India and everyone wants to get as many strokes as they can and ringers come in from various other clubs far and wide. The rules committee of the club do their best to set up the teams by established handicaps by adding the two numbers and if they do not have a handicap, as we all know they play scratch. Some even allow mixed tees based on age. If you get .5 and par the hole and your opponent pars the hole you win. If you bogie you loose. I played in a event (match play) where I had to give 27 strokes to my opponent in the championship match. Talking about not fair. They breezed thru the field. I won in playoff hole, one up. Played some of the best golf of my life. That's two strokes on 9 holes. If you want to get into good amateur tournaments you have to have a single digit handicap and then they do not use handicaps. Stroke play. May the best score win and you have to have a GHIN to get in. I think this is a mute point when it comes to these club events. Go enjoy the event, meet some new people, it is about the event, not half a point. You might actually win.
  10. No'l

    No'l
    Palmdale, CA

    Handicap tournament is tough. Most especially when there's a big price involve.

    I've never been a scratch player, but I have always tried and worked on it, but not a chance with all other things I juggle with daily. The lowest I've been was a six. I thought I would be at least a 5, but never happened. Not a big deal- I still go out and practice and play anyway. The good part about it is that, I'm always invited by friends who are a much lower handicap than me- I guess they feel safe. (lol) The bad part is that I cannot compete with guys in a group where they keep two books (if you know what I mean.)

    My handicap is who I am. I use it to gage whether I am improving or regressing. That's all it does for me and that's all I use it for.

    In the half stroke games that we play, yes, of course it is tougher for me, but I cannot find a better game out there than the lower handicap guys I play with. They are good and they are proud to show me and everybody else how good they are. Birdies come around more than it goes, i only have a couple of them.. sometimes more in a round, but I will do my best to bring it out. That's been the game that's so enjoyable and not always the ha ha fun and drinks (I like those too, don't get me wrong). We all respect the "natural birdies" but like I mentioned before when I birdie, they'll have to do the same, and I swear, nothing is better than that game. I look at it as if I have to pay them with a half stroke to be in their game, but I know I won't be bagged, it's just a price I have to work for and earn. Sometimes, that's better than a competition anyone could sign up for. The experiences in that situation is golden to me. Like a Titleist social media hashtag #AlwaysBringYourBest . It has a special meaning to me that inspires me. I am playing with good players not a handicap. With them, I have a chance. I don't have a chance with a handicap. I mean I would rather have to play a tough but a good golfer game than play a guy who plays 6-8 stokes better than their handicap.

    Off I go now... I need to practice. Maybe next year when I'm 65, I may have a chance :-)
  11. Don O

    Don O
    Madison, WI

    The WSGA plays a modified Stableford scoring for their senior events. Top prize is for natural and a second category for handicapped score. When everyone is honest with their scores, the reality is a higher handicap, i.e. 15, will need an exceptional score to get close to a 2 handicap shooting 74. More weight is given to lower scores in calculating a handicap, so a 15 will more often hit 90 than 85. A 2 handicap will more consistently break 75. So for stroke or stableford scoring, the half stroke is not useful. In a match play, I might be convinced that it makes a difference, but only in relatively evenly matched players.
  12. Tom B

    Tom B
    Northborough, MA

    We call it the dreaded half stroke. Mostly because it's usually being given rather than received in my case. I agree with the rest that it is odd, but usually it is in a 9 hole match. All and all it is better to receive than to give the dreaded half stroke.
  13. Thomas Y

    Thomas Y
    Wenham, MA

    There is a private club in my area. Their Invitational is on Labor Day weekend, and with a large field size and the possibility of two matches per day for some flights (after a qualifying round for seeding), there simply isn't enough time for the possibility of extra hole matches. The format stipulates that the team with the highest combined handicap will lose one stroke (off the higher handicap player) but start the match 1/2 hole ahead. It is a bit weird to win (or lose) a match say, 1 1/2 and 1, but it works.

    If any of you have ever used Golf Genius, there are net, 1/2 stroke, skins formats. Players only receive a half stroke for skins competition instead of full strokes. In this way, as others stated, par with a half stroke beats a gross par but loses to a gross birdie. It's a better way than to have par with a full stroke 'cut' a natural birdie.
  14. Chuck Z

    Chuck Z
    Mt Pleasant, SC

    Even GHIN cannot stop a sandbagger. Honesty in handicapping has been a longtime issue and will most likely never go away. It all about love of the $$ versus love of the game.
  15. Matthew A

    Matthew A
    Sunderland

    Am I not correct in thinking you don’t play your handicap index though, you use this with the slope rating of the course to give you your handicap for that particular course, this won’t then come out as a decimal handicap?
  16. Mike M

    Mike M
    Salem MA

    We play 9 hole matches in our league, and it works great for us.We play a team 2.5 point system; 1 point for the match 1/2 point for individual quota (2 man team) and 1/2 point team quota.

    I'm at 15-1.5 Yesterday my opponent was 12-3, so I gave a full shot on the #1 stroke hole and .5 on the #2 stroke hole. My partner and I took 2.25 out of a possible 2.5 points. Here's how it broke down; we won the match (1 point); we won team quota (.5 point) I beat my opponent (.5 point) and my partner tied his opponent(.25 point).

    The half stroke works great in a 9 hole format.
  17. Speedy

    Speedy
    Newmarket, NH

    Thanks everyone for the responses, really enjoyed reading everyone's opinion on this. If I have to give my opponent a 1/2 stroke, that means I just gotta play better, period. Life goes on!

    Cheers!
  18. Scott C.

    Scott C.
    Irvine, CA

    I play in a member-guest that is quite competitive. All of the matches are 9 holes and those 1/2 strokes are valuable and dreaded at the same time. This particular club uses a formula to try and eliminate sand-bagging. They take your index four weeks before the event and combine it with your low index for the past year. Add it together and divide by 2. I've seen people as low as a 5, but 4 weeks out they are playing to a 9. It helps to smooth out some of the issues. Two years ago, we won our flight because of the 1/2 stroke I got in the last match on the final hole.....my 3.5 bested the two 4's from other group.
  19. Felipe P

    Felipe P
    Melbourne, VIC

    Scott C. said:

    I play in a member-guest that is quite competitive. All of the matches are 9 holes and those 1/2 strokes are valuable and dreaded at the same time. This particular club uses a formula to try and eliminate sand-bagging. They take your index four weeks before the event and combine it with your low index for the past year. Add it together and divide by 2. I've seen people as low as a 5, but 4 weeks out they are playing to a 9. It helps to smooth out some of the issues. Two years ago, we won our flight because of the 1/2 stroke I got in the last match on the final hole.....my 3.5 bested the two 4's from other group.

    The beauty of this game is to be able to compete against players with different levels. This translates to inclusion and equity. There are not that many sports that have envisioned such a magnificent scoring & handicap system which is evolving and always 'improving' (WHS).

    I mostly look at my handicap as a point of reference to assess my performance; whether my game has improved or worsen, however, I understand my fellow Team Titleist members who may find the 1/2 stroke in match play somehow unfair.

    Although it may sound like a categorical statement, Australians are not as obsessed with their handicaps as Americans.

    NB, back in Colombia in my home country golf club, we had the same issues :)
  20. ToddL

    ToddL
    Attleboro, MA

    The .5 is frankly stupid. It's a whole shot no matter which way you look at it.

Please login to post a comment.

Sign In

Haven't registered for Team Titleist yet?

Sign Up