Friday, December 30, 2005

Handicap Systems For Everyone

Some teaching pros have turned to using the new handicap systems to help their students figure out where to spend their practice time. It also shows if practice is effective on the course where it really matters. Once you start to track drives in fairway, putts, up and downs from the sand, and scoring average on par 3's, you quickly find out the truth about your game - like maybe it's time to leave the driver in the bag. Did the new $500 driver really help you hit it longer consistently. Did the switch to a new ball give you better feel around the green. Is the new Two Ball putter reducing your total putts per round.

For the pro shop, there's even a space to advertise on the custom score cards based on an individual golfer's needs. What if you could advertise a special on size 13 Nikes to your golfers with big feet, or maybe a new sand wedge for someone having trouble getting out of traps. How about if you could track play. Why are so many members playing twilight rounds across town. Maybe you should offer a cheaper twilight rate.

The list goes on for what you can do with a computer and a database in the age of the internet. And why should the USGA try to master something that's not their core expertise. They should stick to determining how the handicap is calculated and then let someone else do it. They can still collect a royalty from every handicapped golfer in existence through licensing agreements. And the game of golf might become a little more honest and a lot more fun.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Golf Cheats and Sandbaggers

The USGA implementation of its handicap system makes cheating easy. Enter your own score. Puff, you're done. Who's looking over your shoulder - no one. When is the last time a handicap oversight committee bagged someone. Oh it happens - about once in a blue moon.

The new systems that are available offer some good checks and balances, like having to enter a score for every hole. Hey, you want a handicap you will use to compete against other golfers for money and glory, then what's an extra minute to enter a score for each hole. By entering a score for each hole you can also learn something about your game. Some systems have analysis tools that will let you look at trends and more. It's called game management and can help anyone become a better golfer. These systems also automatically make the adjustments, so your true score remains. Sophisticated algorithms can catch cheats that no oversight committee will ever find.

These systems also allow you to track more information, like number of putts, drives in fairway and more if you so chose. This may seem like a lot of work, but there are even tools to make that easier. At least one product from New Level Golf allows you to print out a custom score card for over 30,000 courses. And it's easy to add a new course. These cards have places to record things like putts and they can even be read by an HP scanner so all the work of entering a score is almost non-existent.

Tomorrow I'll look at what's in it for pros and pro shops.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Fixing the Handicap System

Golfing times have changed; new clubs, balls, training aids and courses to name just a few. The number of courses and golfers has grown dramatically in 40 years. The USGA implementation of the handicap system hasn't changed since who can remember when. Though they have started to use the internet - a little - they are really missing the boat.

I don't blame the USGA, their expertise is not the internet, it's the game of golf. However, they need to know when it's time to get help. There are a number of handicap tracking tools available on the web, and they all offer significant advantages over the USGA system. Make no mistake, they all follow the USGA rules, they've just updated how scores are entered and tracked.

The USGA gets significant revenue from every golf club/group that uses their system. I don't begrudge them that. The game needs them along with the R&A to manage the rules and promote the game. They could still generate revenue by subcontracting the handicap system for someone else to execute. And they could make a significant improvement in the value and integrity of the handicap itself.

Tomorrow I'll talk about some of the advantages of these new systems.

Monday, December 26, 2005

USGA Handicap Tracking System is Broken

There's nothing wrong with the way the USGA calculates handicap, there is everything wrong with the way they've implemented the tracking system. It's old, outdated, and makes it easy for folks to cheat. Yes, cheat. What golf club or league doesn't have a sandbagger - the guy who claims a 12 and plays to an 8?

Most clubs have a computer in the locker room where members post their own scores. Their score means just their total score, one figure. Every golfer is supposed to know the required deductions for their level of play and calculate these in advance. Ask any golfer in your group what these are and 9 times out of 10 I guarantee no one really knows. And there's no oversight. No one really checks the scoring history and if they did, how would they know what's right and what's not.

There's a way out of this mess if the USGA opens its mind and does the right thing. And golf will be better for it. More tomorrow.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Isn't There Anyone Who Knows What Christmas is All About?

Maybe Linus of Charlie Brown did give the most eloquent speech of what the True meaning of Christmas is all about. Happy Christmas and warm wishes from all of us here at GolfDash!

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Protect A Badge

I just received a scorecard protector from Protect A Badge in the UK and was amazingly impressed with the service and the quality. I asked the owner (Nick) what might be a good choice and he recommended the alligator over the lizard (what a nice choice!). Alligator is just very cool to look at and it wears amazingly well where its lustre increases over time. It is also feels a bit special, unique and sophisticated - it was worlds apart from the utterly generic ones I have seen at Target or WalMart, local pro shops, etc. I am going to be a getting a few more to give as gifts. And at $17.50 each (including shipping) it is quite reasonable for the quality (or you, golf shops, companies, can order in bulk) I recommend you take a look and then pick one up for yourself (mandatory) or purchase a few to give to friends or impress clients. Tell Nick that GolfDash sent you!

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

FREE GolfRound Towel!

GolfDash is currently offering a FREE GolfRound towel for new members of GolfDash. Membership is free so you can hardly go wrong with this limited time deal. If you are not familiar with the GolfRound towel it is simply one of the most useable and innovative new golf products on the market today. Here's how it works:

The GolfRound is made with a water repellent material on the outside and an absorbent terrycloth on the inside. Lightly moisten the center, fold it twice and carry it in your pocket. When you get to the green you have a damp towel to clean your ball with. It's that easy!

"I love the GolfRound!! This is one of the most innovative golf products invented! All my golfing buddies want one!" - Kevin O'Banion, CA

Get one for yourself or give it as a holiday gift! They're going fast so sign up now!

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