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New Player Handicap Options

Setting up new players, or when you're new to the Golf League Tracker system brings up the question of how to create handicaps for those players when they have no score history in the system.  You have many options in Golf League Tracker when setting up a new player, or a new league in which the players don't have a score history.

If you're transferring a league from a previous system, you can:

  1. Enter or import a score history from the previous season
  2. Entering a starting handicap (from last season's ending handicap) and set up "Handicap Padding Score Count" to create a fake score history based on the starting handicap.
  3. Start the player with a blank handicap, and create a handicap from only the scores entered this season

If you're a brand new league:

The vast majority of brand new leagues allow the system to calculate new handicaps for the players after one or two rounds. Those new handicaps are then retroactively applied to past rounds, and points are then computed. While it is possible to estimate a player's handicap, I find it best (and least controversial) to avoid doing that.

Handicaps and Golf League Tracker

If you're a 9 hole league, then the system will calculate a 9-hole handicap, and an 18-hole league will use 18 hole handicaps. If you're entering scores or a starting handicap, you need to make sure the information entered is for the type of league you set up. In other words, if you're a 9 hole league, then you need to make sure you enter 9-hole historical scores, or 9-hole starting handicaps. Golf League Tracker does not combine 9 hole scores in any manner for an 18 hole handicap.

Actual Historical Scores For the Player

For the administrator, you can go into the League Setup and enter Historical Scores for a player, which are actual scores from an earlier time (usually the end of the previous season). For example, if you use the previous 6 scores for your handicap calculation, it would be ideal if you entered each player's previous 6 scores from last season.

Importing Scores from Another System

Instead of manually entering scores, Golf League Tracker has the ability to import historical scores from another system, to alleviate the burden on you entering scores one by one.  Take a look at this article for details on importing data.

Setting a Starting Handicap and Handicap Padding

There three main settings for your league which matter in how new players get handicaps:

  • Number of Rounds to Establish a Handicap (#70) - This is how many scores a player must have in the system before a handicap is established for that player.
  • Number of Most Recent Rounds to Calculate Handicap Handicap (#71) - This is how many of the most recent scores will be used for a player when calculating the handicap.
  • Handicap Padding Score Count (#126) - The number of "Padding Scores" the system will create when calculating the player's handicap.  See this article on an example of how Handicap Padding works.

You also have the option of setting Golf League Tracker to the "2020 Rules (Official Score Count)" calculation type which takes the most recent 20 scores, and uses the best 8. If the player has fewer than 20 scores, the system automatically takes the best "N" number of scores per 2020 Handicap Rules.

If you're a new league and have handicaps for your players, perhaps from an older system from last season, or you have new players to your existing league, the Handicap Padding setting will create this number of "Padding Scores" which act as a real score in the player's score history, which is representative of the Starting Handicap for that player.

If you set a Starting Handicap but do not set handicap padding, that starting handicap won't affect anything once you play one round.

This allows you to give a player a pseudo score history without knowing or entering actual scores into the player's Historical Score list. If you have a lot of players, this is a quick way to give them a score history. The feature is useful because it will prevent a new player's handicap from changing wildly the first few rounds of the season.

As the player plays actual rounds, the Padding Scores will roll off of their score history just as if they were actual scores

Click here to see an example of a handicap calculation with and without padding.

Create the Starting Handicap Based on Actual Rounds Played This Season

If you leave a player's starting handicap blank, then the player's handicap will be reported as "N/A" in the player list. This means the player has NO HANDICAP. This does not mean the player is a "0" handicap. "0" means zero. Blank means "No Handicap". A player will establish a handicap once they reach the required number of scores per your league setting called "Number of Rounds Required to Establish Handicap.

Once a player has the required number of scores, a handicap will be calculated, and retroactively applied to the rounds entered. The handicap will also be applied to the player, and will be used for the NEXT round played.

Returning Leagues and Handicap

By default, returning leagues will use last season's scores at the start of the new season with the "Carry Over Scores" setting turned ON, and those scores will roll off the score history just as they normally would. This is the recommended way of running your league.

Handicaps and Points

If a player does not have a handicap established, you will not be able to "Record Points" until the player gets a handicap, at which time you can go back to previous rounds and Record Points. It is recommended that you keep the number of rounds required to establish a handicap no greater than 2, so that you're not too far into your season before you can record points for your league standings. Remember that if a player misses a round, you could be a month or more into your season before you record points if you require 3 or more rounds to establish a handicap for a new player.

Other Settings

There are many other Handicap settings available in Golf League Tracker that allow you to customize your calculation. Please reach out to support if you have any questions or need help in configuring your handicap settings. It's best to get this configured properly from the start of the season (maybe running some test scores through!) rather than discovering it's not how you want it halfway through your season.