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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
There three main settings for your league which matter in how new players get handicaps:
You also have the option of setting Golf League Tracker to the "World Handicap System (Official)" 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 the World Handicap System table.
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.
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.
If you leave a player's starting handicap blank, it will be populated once the player reaches the minimum number of rounds required to establish a handicap. At that point, if Handicap Padding is >0, then the rest of the scores will be filled in with those padding scores based on that starting handicap. If Handicap Padding is set to 0, then the score history will just build up as the player plays more rounds.
By default, returning leagues will use last season's scores at the start of the new season with the "Carry Over Scores" setting, and those scores will roll off the score history just as they normally would. This is the recommended way of running your league, as it mimics the same way the USGA and the World Handicap System works. The USGA has no concept of "season" in this regard, except when it comes to "in season posting" where they prevent you from posting scores in locations which are deemed out of season (e.g. northern US in the winter).
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.