Information on Stroke Index Allocation for 2021 and Beyond
We’ve received the same question several times in the last few weeks, “Will our Stroke Index Allocation (formerly known as Handicapping of holes) change this year?”
The answer is, if the scorecard with the “Lowest Score” framed and posted on the wall since 1972 has the same allocation as today, it should be updated.
But seriously folks: First, a little backstory. The handicapping of holes has always been left up to the golf courses to establish and update. USGA has always recommended using 400-500 scorecards, entering hole by hole scores grouped by Course Handicap. And then comparing the level of relative difficulty between the low and high to assess which holes the higher handicapped golfer needed the stroke the most. It has never been based on the “hardest hole”. (I have another article about that here if you’d like to more info).
At almost every golf course visit to update Course/Slope Rating the Course Rating team is asked if we were updating the allocation. That was never part of the USGA Course Rating System, until last year. Now it is an extra option which works for courses who don’t receive enough play to save up so many scores or don’t use USGA TM.
OGA/USGA/GHIN never kept the Stroke Index Allocation information prior to 2020. Last year we needed to enter that information into the system in order to conform to World Handicap System and allow for hole-by-hole posting. In December of 2019, we sent out email messages to Golf Pros, OGA Directors and quite a few more folks at every golf course in Oregon and SW Washington. We asked them to either submit the SIA they had on their scorecard, or they could use the SIA as provided by the new feature in the Course Rating Program. We did ask that courses look back at the history of when they last updated the SIA, since it should change occasionally. Some accepted the updated info, some switched to what they had previously, and some courses opted to do an update using scores in USGA TM.
On January 6th 2020, when GHIN came online with the new WHS Rules of Handicapping, we found out that golfers could not even look up their Course Handicap without the SIA being entered, so we went ahead and published the Course Rating version that we had on hand, with the knowledge that no one was posting until March 1st. We thought we had all the time in the world to update the info. We made lots of updates to the GHIN before March 1st. Even more updates after that. There are still quite a few courses who have never replied.
Now that almost every rated course in OGA has a Stroke Index Allocation published to GHIN, we will only update the SIA when we hear from someone in charge at the golf course that they want to make a change. We now have a baseline for asking courses to look at their allocation.
Important points about updating your SIA:
- There is no absolute “you must re-allocate every X years” requirement.
- If the allocation has not changed within the memory of anyone active at the course, it should be updated.
- If the Men’s and Women’s allocations are the same, they should be both be updated, since they should never be the same.
- If allocation was assigned when the golf course opened, but never updated, it is time.
- If the golf course has been rated 3 times, on our normal rotation that would be about 21 years, it is time to update.
Has the course gone through major renovations: yardage, trees, bunkers, water, greens and more, that would be another time to look at updating the SIA.
As we go forward with Course Ratings, along with new Rating Certificates, Course Handicap charts and more, we will provide a chart of how the SIA might change in reference to the updated rating information. That info is sent to help inform the course, but will not be added to GHIN unless we are informed by the course to make the change. It is up to the course to make the decision of how and when to make any changes, whether using scores or the Course Rating information. The only way to get the info into GHIN is to let OGA know how you would like to proceed.
If you have any questions about the Stroke Index Allocation of your course, please call Gretchen Yoder at 503-981-4653 ext 228 or email firstname.lastname@example.org