Handicap Hub: Nerding Out on the 2021 Numbers | Oregon Golf Association

Handicap Hub: Nerding Out on the 2021 Numbers

By Kelly Neely, Sr. Dir., Handicapping & Course Rating
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I seem to recall mentioning in last year’s Nerding Out on the Numbers, perhaps in a weak moment of blind optimism and / or too much holiday cheer, that 2021 was bound to be better. And I wasn’t referring to the numbers, because those of us in the golf business remain delightfully astounded – though frankly exhausted – by how busy we are as reflected by continued increases in memberships, handicaps, tournament field sizes, enthusiasts taking up the game (and coming back to the game), and golf courses so full that even the turf is begging for relief.

What I was actually hoping for was that this weird world we have inhabited over the last two years would experience a return to normal (if someone says “the new normal” one more time I’m going to lower their Handicap Index). While I’m not sure I can even describe what normal truly is, I know it when I feel it. Similarly to how I approach wine tasting, I wouldn’t necessarily articulate if a particular vintage has notes of old tobacco, Grandma’s rose garden or sweaty socks, but if I like it, I’m pouring a second glass.

Since we may never go back to exactly The Way it Was Before, instead of looking at the glass half full, we can take comfort in the fact that it’s refillable. And there’s always golf. We’ll just keep playing and contributing to the numbers, right? With that, here’s a toast to our OGA Members this holiday season – may your birdies be many, your penalties be few, and may you never hear those three ugly words: “Still. Your. Shot.”

Total number of scores (81m) working their way through USGA Centralized Computation this season, half of which were posted via the GHIN mobile app (40.5m). The total includes all Allied Golf Association and GHIN International members. This is an increase of 3 million total scores from 2020 and even better than predicted: a 23% increase in scores posted via the hole-by-hole method! See? We knew you’d get hooked on it.
Percentage that rounds are up, nationally speaking, for the year (entering Q4). According to the National Golf Foundation (NGF), play dipped from 2020 numbers only in the fall in all but one region – ding, ding, ding – the Pacific! In our neck of the woods the biggest year-over-year gains in play have been realized at 23%. The left coast is the best coast.
Number of golf courses, globally. And who knew: Only 7-Eleven and Subway have more physical business locations around the world, although in far fewer countries. A report from the NGF shows the good ole US of A as the leader at 42% with 16,000+ courses. 82% of countries worldwide have golf courses and about 95% of them now have official ratings under the WHS. Maybe it’s time to update your Bucket List.
Total number of scores posted by OGA members and the number that were posted via the GHIN mobile app, respectively. Even those of us who hate to use our phones for actual phone calls (who, me?) apparently love to use the handy-dandy GHIN mobile app, as it has become an overwhelmingly popular way – 71% of the time – to get scores in. Since the launch mid-summer of the shiny new GPS feature, 443 OGA members have purchased the enhanced version to take advantage of the approach heat maps and putt break maps. How tech-y of us!
Largest number of rounds posted in a single day by OGA members this season. This occurred on June 1st, which is a bit surprising considering we don’t presume that summer has even begun in the Pacific Northwest until at least a month later. And not only that, it was a Tuesday! Did everyone play hooky that day?
Average of nine-hole and 18-hole scores carded by OGA members in 2021. The needle has not moved on these numbers very much over time but are hardly anything to be ashamed of. Of course, these are median scores but it’s worth bringing up another stat: many reports show that only 50% of all golfers can break 100. But hope does spring eternal.
Average Handicap Indexes of OGA men and women, respectively. These are also values that do not shift very much over the seasons and are right in line with the national average, which is 14.2 & 27.5. Does this mean that our average is average?
Integer number of the Playing Conditions Calculation adjustment that affected the most scores on courses in our region this year. This value indicates that the course played a little bit more difficult – but not ‘oh heck no’ difficult. Interestingly, last year the top prize went to -1 PCCs which indicated the course played easier. What changed? Was it due to course setup? Was it due to weather? Maybe both. Or just maybe more members are posting right after they play, which makes the wizardry behind the curtain far more accurate.
Largest number of courses in our region experiencing PCC adjustments on a single day – the 13th of April. Nope, not a Friday – a Tuesday. (What’s up with Tuesdays?) Interestingly, 4 out of the 5 Bandon Dunes Resort courses either had a +1 or a +2 PCC adjustment (other courses were spread out all over the state). Weather history shows 30 mph wind gusts for over four hours in Bandon that day! On June 19th, on The Oregon Golf Club’s US Open Day, 146 golfers were affected by a PCC adjustment of +1 – a tip o’ the hat to the Superintendent. This represents the highest number of rounds affected on a single day this year.
The number, in yardage, of the longest set of tees in our territory – Pronghorn, Fazio, the Tips. Though it’s the longest, it’s not the highest rated. That distinction belongs to Crosswater’s Championship tees at 76.8 / 147. Psst! We all know there are some courses – remaining nameless – with “hidden tees” that can be used to Monster it Out, but those tees are not rated per request of the course.

Questions? Contact Kelly or Gretchen in the OGA Handicapping & Course Rating Department at (503) 981-4653 x226 or Click Here to Email Your Question

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