Or why is there an 'R' after my index?
Under USGA rule 10-3, a player’s index shall be reduced if scores shot in tournament play are significantly lower than the player’s current index. What is the Tournament Adjust and how is it calculated?
This procedure was instituted in 1992 in an attempt to catch sandbaggers who purposely inflate their indexes so they can shoot low scores in tournaments. The SCGA uses a rolling 12 month period for tournament scores (T-scores). If a player has two exceptional tournament differentials (at least three stokes under his current index) in the last twelve months he gets “Strike 2” and the calculation procedure is triggered. The average of the two “exceptional” differentials is computed and subtracted from the current index. A lookup table which is a function of the average of the best two T-scores below the current handicap index and the total number of tournament scores in the past twelve months is then used to compute the handicap reduction. The more T-scores the player has, the less his index will be reduced. For example, if a player’s best two T-scores average between 4.0 and 4.4 strokes below his current index and he has two T-scores in the past twelve months, his index will be reduced by 1 stroke. If he has three T-scores it takes an average differential between 4.5 and 4.9 to cause a 1 stroke reduction and between 5.0 and 5.4 if he has 4 T-scores. If you’re interested in seeing a complete copy of the Handicap Index Reduction Table, let me know and I’ll send you a copy.
If a player gets three exceptional tournament differentials in a twelve month period the “Three Strikes and You’re OUT” rule comes into effect. Instead of using the Handicap Index Reduction Table, his new index becomes simply the average of his three exceptional tournament differentials.
The club Handicap Committee has the authority to increase, decrease, or even remove the “R” if it feels the reduced Handicap Index does not accurately reflect the player’s potential ability.
The SCGA Handicap Index reduction for exceptional tournament scores is calculated at each handicap revision and will return to normal whenever his two lowest eligible T-score differentials no longer result in an adjustment. That can seem like a long time. The lesson – play well, but not too well, too often.