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DGman
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PostSubject: Average Handicap in last few decades   Mon Jan 16, 2012 9:34 am

have you wondered if all the advancement in golf equipment technologies have helped lowered the average handicap in the last few decades?

what are your thoughts?

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PostSubject: Re: Average Handicap in last few decades   Mon Jan 16, 2012 9:36 am

I think it should. Technology made the club more forgiving (somewhat) and easier to hit. it also makes some club hit further.
for pro this might not mean anything as the golf course evolve to match the distance, but for regular joe, I do think people these days have it easier (maybe not by far), compared to ppl in says the 70's or 80's.

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PostSubject: Re: Average Handicap in last few decades   Mon Jan 16, 2012 9:36 am

I think otherwise because majority will be changing equipment more than working on the mechanism that will impact their game which is their swing. Hence i believe the average hcp might have increase!
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PostSubject: Re: Average Handicap in last few decades   Mon Jan 16, 2012 9:37 am

Nope, the average handicap remains relatively unchanged even from the persimmon woods era.

The improvement in technology did make the long game easier, but I believe its in the short game where a lot of practice, creativity and experience counts and that's whats lacking in most social golfers.

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PostSubject: Re: Average Handicap in last few decades   Mon Jan 16, 2012 9:44 am

so are talent getting worst here or the pool had gotten so big that it dillude the quality.

I also think that the presence of club fitter should help the average joe (me and the likes) get better score as well...

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PostSubject: Re: Average Handicap in last few decades   Mon Jan 16, 2012 10:09 am

actually its not so difficult to find out....

we can ask 20 golfers who have played golf for at least 10 years...

1. what your lowest score posted and when?
2. when was your last equipment changed and what was changed?
3. did your driving average improved in the last year? if yes why did you think you improved?
4. have you had golf instructions with a golf coach in the last year?

there are many research done by leading golf magazines that showed some interesting insights about golf scores in the last 50 years.

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PostSubject: Re: Average Handicap in last few decades   Mon Jan 16, 2012 10:27 am

I think Golf Digest ran an article on this; even with the big advancement with golf ball and metal wood technology, the average handicap remains stagnant.

Just goes to show there is a large untapped demographic who
1. do not change gear to improve their game
2. upgrade their gear to reduce time spent on the practice tee

The average golfer back then and now have found their comfort zone in terms of being able to advance the ball and play a reasonable round of golf. Golfers back then had to have more skill to do so (try hitting a persimmon wood 200m) but there were less golfers 50 years ago than now. There are probably a lot more social golfers now who enjoy the game as a gathering to knock a few balls at the range and go for a drink, probably just how the game has developed? Basketball
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PostSubject: Re: Average Handicap in last few decades   Mon Jan 16, 2012 10:32 am

if we rephrase the question and say...

has football scores changed in last few decades?

even after we have all the new balls and super grass, multi-millionaire footballers, has the scores changed?

have we seen radically different types of football being played?


i think we have our answer.
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PostSubject: Re: Average Handicap in last few decades   Mon Jan 16, 2012 10:33 am

it has been often mentioned, avg handicaps have stayed about the same

Are there less dedicated golfers (more weekend warriors then hardcore golfers?), do we spent less hours on the game?. Dun practice, dun play often then how to reduce hcap?

Are we busier with modern life than the golfers from decades ago? I remember my dad and my neighbours' dad all arrived home before sunset every day. They played golf every weekends, while my mom took care of me and my siblings. These days wifes also work, so dads are supposed to help out at home too Laughing

are the old school ah pek golfers who shoot straight and putt sharp now all too old/retired from game, and replaced by BOMB & GOUGE distance-obsessed golfers?

Handicap is about scoring, and the avg joes dont play from black tee, so scoring is mostly abt. short game. But the range is often full while the practice greens are often empty.

Is it more expensive (inflation/income adjusted) to play a round than say 20 yrs ago?. Who can answer this? 20 yrs ago I was playing basketball, golf was old man's sport Laughing

Interesting note: if we check youtube as a gauge, most videos by golf teachers are about the full swing. We read forum discussions here or golfwrx, discussions abt full swing/distance dominate discussions on chipping/pitching/putting

I'd also put the questions to the teachers of the game. what does it tell us if golfers don't go for lessons or those what who do, dont improve?

I'm saying this because I've been observing my kakis since joined GR in 09.

- Those who play/practice A LOT and go for lessons, improve their scores considerably in a short time

- Those who play quite often but dont spend much time on around greens are still stuck at high 90s/100s (you know who you are Very Happy)

- Those that dont play often are just stuck to the level they are at, depending how long they have played the game. I am one. I cant get much improvement very fast, I can only hope over the years, I can be that ah pek straight shooter with a deadly short game.

But for now, I cant wait to get my hands on the new shiny adjustable drivers on the market Laughing


Last edited by pushslice on Mon Jan 16, 2012 10:39 am; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: Average Handicap in last few decades   Mon Jan 16, 2012 10:38 am

No lah. The real answer is that while people play more an get better and shoot lower scores their handicap will still remain the same or increase as the scores they submit becomes further and further from the actual game they play!!!!

Trying to get someone to tell u what their true handicap is is like trying to suck blood from a stone.
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PostSubject: Re: Average Handicap in last few decades   Mon Jan 16, 2012 1:07 pm

Have Golf courses been getting longer over the same period?

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PostSubject: Re: Average Handicap in last few decades   Mon Jan 16, 2012 1:26 pm

my h'cap getting lower... but my wallet also getting lighter... which means people are also improving around me....

So, Yes... i think average h'cap is getting lower and lower... tongue
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PostSubject: Re: Average Handicap in last few decades   Mon Jan 16, 2012 1:37 pm

alvin7379 wrote:
my h'cap getting lower... but my wallet also getting lighter... which means people are also improving around me....

So, Yes... i think average h'cap is getting lower and lower... tongue
Lighter cuZ u changed all ur winnings to big notes and cheques ma!
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PostSubject: Re: Average Handicap in last few decades   Mon Jan 16, 2012 1:59 pm

If anything, I think my handicap has gone up but that's because:

1. The lack of scorecard submission means a steady drop in your handicap (to prevent buayas) Smile And I wasn't an active golfer for a long while.

2. Now that I'm an active golfer, I realize that I'm no longer as fit or flexible as I used to be so I'm posting more outrageous scores.

3. Equipment only gets me that far (and I've kinda maxed that). Getting better at the game means getting my swing fixed which I haven't done. So, I continue to post outrageous scores.

So, equipment only gets one that far. If my swing is still shaky, no amount of expensive equipment will change that. But that doesn't stop me from believing otherwise.... Wink

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PostSubject: Re: Average Handicap in last few decades   Mon Jan 16, 2012 2:05 pm

I thought there was a video link about a UK guy who accomplish his goal to become a scratch player within a year, wrote a book, and make money out of telling ppl the lessons learnt. I vividly rmb in the beginning of the video, several interesting facts were cited (although I was not sure if those facts could be subjected to scrutiny as to how they were gathered and measured.)

Anyway, it mentioned the average hdcp for average players has stayed the same. It mentioned the amount of money average golfers spent per year etc etc. Go watch it, I think the facts say a lot.
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PostSubject: Re: Average Handicap in last few decades   Mon Jan 16, 2012 2:09 pm

Its John Richardson. The book is called Dream On.

Just finished the book recently, his videos are about the top 10 mistakes golfers make.

His goal was not to become scratch in a year, but go from shooting 100+ to a level par or better round within that year.

He manage to clock 1 under par on the 361st day at Blackwood which is his home course, a par 71 course and he shot 70.


PS. Rory Mcillroy home club is also Blackwood.

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PostSubject: Re: Average Handicap in last few decades   Mon Jan 16, 2012 2:16 pm

Eiji, I didnt manage to enroll or read the book.

Did he mention how many rounds of games played and hours of practice (range/green) he took in his 360 days journey from 100 to even par?
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PostSubject: Re: Average Handicap in last few decades   Mon Jan 16, 2012 2:19 pm

pushslice wrote:
Eiji, I didnt manage to enroll or read the book.

Did he mention how many rounds of games played and hours of practice (range/green) he took in his 360 days journey from 100 to even par?

Yes, I oso want to know.
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PostSubject: Re: Average Handicap in last few decades   Mon Jan 16, 2012 2:26 pm

pushslice wrote:
Eiji, I didnt manage to enroll or read the book.

Did he mention how many rounds of games played and hours of practice (range/green) he took in his 360 days journey from 100 to even par?

something u cannot do. he goes to range everyday, spends about 35hours a week practicing.

The conditions are that he was married with a kid, and has a job.

He had to keep both his marriage and job intact while facing this challenge. He would come home have dinner with family, play with daughter, put her to bed at about 8:30pm and head out to range and come back at 11.

He spent a lot of time practicing and played 9holes every 2-3days and 18holes every weekend.

He went through a lot of mistakes, basically if u sign up with his course, its will probably try to get you to improve without making the same mistakes he made.

He had free lessons from the club coach, and the club supported him with some perks.

still the achievement was not easy.

some takeaways.

50% physical 50% mental. you need to be proficient physically before mental training has effects. he neglected putting at first by thinking that he could get by. in the end he had an all round game. But he was a very good driver of the ball, hitting distances of 300yards drives. so a few of holes for him in blackwood played just with driver and wedge.



I hope to break 80 in 2 years time, and I think its still gonna be damn tough given the amount of time I can commit as compared to him, but the books and his revelations are pretty insightful.

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PostSubject: Re: Average Handicap in last few decades   Mon Jan 16, 2012 2:49 pm

Equipment is better
Course conditions are better
Leaves only one thing....the coaching!

Most other sports have evolved with new coaching methods and techniques but unfortunately golf being the traditional game it is, is has remained stagnant. Sure there is video and software but the basic concepts are not evolving as in other sports.

By that I mean the weight transfer, the hips clearing, the arms extending down and out and the hands releasing.

Maybe what I am teaching is right or wrong, time will tell but one thing I will not do is regurgitate what every other coach on the planet is teaching. It is clear to me as a coach who has taught and used both swing concepts which one is going to change this stagnation in improvement.

Unfortunately it is hard to convince the masses that this is why golfers are not getting better. I believe in the concept and what I teach is the way forward. There are coaches such as Sean Foley that are paving the way with the same idea and once Tiger starts to dominate again, we may see a switch from the traditionalist movement.

And it is not just with the swing, I also think the methods taught with putting (the pendulum), chipping (the hands too far in front), bunker play (the open stance, open club face) are also flawed. It wasn't until trackman disproved the old ball flight laws that the traditional teaching philosophy of how to hit fades and draws was clearly wrong. Maybe the rest of the things taught are also wrong.

I know someone will reply with the usual about how Nicklaus and some of the past greats played the game, yes they were the best of the rest that were also doing the same things. I really hope Tiger comes out and dominates with his new swing and we see a shift away from the old school teaching.

Peace RSC


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PostSubject: Re: Average Handicap in last few decades   Mon Jan 16, 2012 2:49 pm

Sounds like a youth development squad member's schedule to me.

I wonder how many golfers can put in at least HALF the amount of hours he put in to the sport.

Then we can talk about improving average handicaps of the golfers population.
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PostSubject: Re: Average Handicap in last few decades   Mon Jan 16, 2012 3:10 pm

Actually my thought on why most of us are not getting our handicaps lower is because we are focussing on the wrong areas to improve first. At least that was how I saw it and what I work towards and approximate where my game is at now.

You must be able to drive the ball relatively well and be in play off the tee; that means not in hazards or OB, not under trees. Distance is a plus but as long as its about 170m+ you can play in the 90s.

Thereafter you must be able to advance your 2nd shot to the green or to scoring distances of 100m or less.

From 100m or less, you must pitch it on the green no further than 20feet from the pin.

From 50m or less, you should strive for no further than 15feet.

From 20m or less, 10feet.

Putting, average less than 36strokes per 18.

this should get you comfortable in the low 90s high 80s zone.

and when u can get the short game even sharper with more 1 putts, should be low 80s.

I am working on the last point.





all the above are my own views of how to improve and may only be reflective of my own game.

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PostSubject: Re: Average Handicap in last few decades   Mon Jan 16, 2012 3:20 pm

Technologies should have helped lower the average handicap, as the golf gear out today is as easy to hit as it has ever been (specifically drivers, hybrids, oversize super forgiving irons, putters that you can hit anywhere on the face and not lose distance, etc.) Maybe easy to hit clubs do not allow for proper feedback and inhibit the user to properly correct the fault. Or maybe there are too many options and people change gear to much, instead of getting used to the equipment and learning how to play with it. Not sure would need to research those correlations.

There are also far more people playing today than in the persimmon days, not to mention in areas where golf is relatively new and quality teaching will be hard to come by, thus hampering improvement. Also the flood of under qualified people into the golf industry, as teachers, professionals, and fitters who are there to make a buck, not to make a difference. Part of the reason why I resigned my PGA membership was due to the influx of under qualified people getting jobs when they lacked the experience and tenure to perform those jobs at the level needed. Watching those guys give lessons at $100 per hour was painful.

I would argue that there is not enough focus on the short game and how fast it can actually improve the score. I found when I was teaching that the easiest way to reduce scores was to work on the short game. Yes it might not be a flashy as being a swing guru or whatnot, but the bottom line is that a majority of your strokes will occur from 60 yards and in. Getting better there will clearly improve your results.

While I agree that there needs to work on the full swing in order to reach the green in a reasonable amount of strokes, the largest gains in handicap reductions, over time, will be seen in the short game.

Proper fit equipment is one tool that can aide in making a golf better. Proper instruction is another. Proper practice is yet another. Making sure you have a quality instructor who knows what they are teaching is just as important as practice, or getting properly fit. There are many ways and methods to swing a golf club effectively, many of which have merits. Find what works for you and stick with it.

The bottom line is the average handicap is what it is. There are people that care about the game and have a passion for getting better. There are people who could care less and play it as a hobby and will not dedicate any additional practice time to get better. So I think that we will be stuck in and around the number where it stands today. Some will get better, some won't. Good teachers, professionals, and fitters will help the ones that want it. The other ones will just go on hacking it around with their buddies and enjoying the atmosphere.

Either way a day on the course sounds pretty good.

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PostSubject: Re: Average Handicap in last few decades   Mon Jan 16, 2012 3:26 pm

DRGjr72 wrote:


The bottom line is the average handicap is what it is. There are people that care about the game and have a passion for getting better. There are people who could care less and play it as a hobby and will not dedicate any additional practice time to get better. So I think that we will be stuck in and around the number where it stands today. Some will get better, some won't. Good teachers, professionals, and fitters will help the ones that want it. The other ones will just go on hacking it around with their buddies and enjoying the atmosphere.

Either way a day on the course sounds pretty good.


Great post, fully agree with the last paragraph
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PostSubject: Re: Average Handicap in last few decades   Mon Jan 16, 2012 3:35 pm

when i first got my hcap 2 years ago, i was given 22, and over the pass 2 years, i have diligently submit my scorecards and it had never drop since then...it just went on from 22 to 22.5, then to 24 and now i'm 27...

so base on my own scoring, yes, overall i'm getting from bad to worse, despite the equipment technology had improved...

despite that, i still kena saddam (actually dun really know why we call it saddam) since they can makan me easily even with their eyes close...and yes, 'they'...2 "saddam" me...haha !!!
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