From: Paul Schmitz-Josten on
Crispin Roche schrieb am Tue, 20 Feb 2007 19:54:47 GMT in

>From German players I have played with the system works something like
>A player who has never played before is given a handicap of 54 when
>they join a club (which is pretty much a prerequisite to play golf in

False and true:
True: Joining a club _is_ a prerequisite to play golf (on any course
different than a pay&play course) in Germany.

False: You're not getting 54 only by joining a club. Some test is

>With that handicap they then have to complete a series of
>lessons (can you imagine the outcry here if the EGU or CONGU
>stipulated that!) and pass a basic playing test demonstrating that
>they can hit a fairway from the tee, hit approach shots which at least
>get near the green, hit something like 4 out of 5 chip shots onto the
>green and make some putts. They also have to pass an etiquette and
>rules test before they are unleashed onto the course.

Truth is: You start from nothing, and after passing some test of golfing
skills and rules+etiquette knowledge ("course readiness test") you will be
awarded a 54 handicap regardless of your possibly better skills.

The current normalized German test (unfortunately) doesn't include the
basic playing skills that you describe but only requires the players to
play six out of nine holes within 3 strokes given to them. A demanding
rules and etiquette tests is mandatory, though.

>Their 54 handicap is then used in their own club competitions where
>the players results are then used to adjust their handicap

Almost true: Many other clubs will accept players with 37 to 54
(sometimes only 45) handicaps in their competitions.

> and after 3
>or 4 competitions the players tend to be playing somewhere between 28
>and 36.

BTW: It took me 4 months and 8 tourneys to pass 36 though being quite
competitive. 28 came within one year including intensive winter training.

>Btw 36 is the upper handicap limit for men under the European
>Golf Association handicap scheme.


>Personally I think the system has a lot to commend it. The number of
>player I come across who cannot manage the basics of the German
>playing test is enough to try the patience of Job and as for some
>basic rules knowledge well that would save me having to explain to yet
>another golfer just how one determines the nearest point of releif:-)

This includes that they weren't capable of seriously playing 36 or 28,
doesn't it?

>Also having a handicap from day one reinforces the idea that golf is a
>sport, or game if you will, not just a pleasant stroll in the

You may be right, but most of all: It's just one rule amongst many others,
being as ridiculous as any other propositions.


From: Paul Schmitz-Josten on
Roberto D V schrieb am Tue, 20 Feb 2007 16:13:12 GMT in

(HCP 54)
>> Nobody says that they need it - it is just the first number the
>> players get over here.

>How is that number arrived at?

You pass a test, get 54.

> If its arbitrary, I think a visit is in
>order to relieve you of some silverware!!

I'll be there in April - what do you mean?

>>> If you're that bad that
>>>you need 3 shots per hole then you should stick to the practice range
>>>until you can hit the ball better.
>> I accept this as your personal opinion.
>I would say that being given three shots per hole would indicate a
>disparity in playing ability and the course selected.

I accept this as your personal opinion.

>How many years will it have taken for the junior to get down to 20 from
>"just the first number the players get over here." - 54?

I don't know for sure but I think that a cut to a half every year may be a
good yet optimistic guess.


From: Paul Schmitz-Josten on
The LHC schrieb am Tue, 20 Feb 2007 19:28:38 GMT in

>>>> Then, it's also "ridiculous" to have a general speed limit or not to
>>>> have one.
>>>Your metaphor is wrong,
>> I don't think so, because I'm not comparing the usage of speed limits
>> but rather people's attitude looking at them.
>you'll have to explain it better then as I don't understand the
>metaphor, a handicap isn't trying to limit what you're doing, it's to
>aid you, so it's almost exactly the opposite of a speed limit which is
>there to stop you doing something.

What I'm trying to say is that you call the American driving test
ridiculous though all Americans take it and drive on their streets obiding
their own national laws. Therefore it can't be ridiculous for the Americans
(I'm not going deeper into the safety issues but I'll keep my eyes open
regarding this subject). In the same way you call our habits regarding the
initial handicap ridiculous though German golfers follow them - they can't
possibly all be ridiculous nor is our national body ridiculous which
decided on these items.
These are simply different habits which work well in different countries
- the way people speak of the differences is reflecting more on themselves
than on the habits.

>> In the same way, people in Germany start playing golf off 54. This is
>> to the same extent ridiculous as the American driving beginners are.
>err, yes! My point exactly, it's ridiculous to allow someone to drive
>when they've had no lessons and managed to drive round a car park to get
>their license

This is potentially dangerous yet covered by their laws.

> and it's equally ridiculous for some who *needs* 54 shots
>(and if, as you say, they don't necessarily need all those shots, why
>are they getting them?) to be attempting to play golf on a proper

Agree to disagree.

>I'm still confused as to why, if they've had all those lessons, do they
>all get a 54 handicap which will give them an unfair advantage in the
>first few comps they play in?

Call it a national habit.
I don't know to much about the old times but I suppose that our handicap
system has always been relying on tournaments only and people have always
been given a certain handicap number for their start. It was 36 earlier and
is 54 now. There is no thinking of "putting in some scorecards" to obtain
or change a handicap. OTOH, if you want to compete in a tourney you need a
handicap, thus they stamp "54" on every rookie's forehead.

And yes, these rookies may have an advantage for one or two competitions.
We started this discussion with the guy playing 77 Stableford net points,
and my son played 52 in his first tourney, yet only coming in second behind
a 55. OTOH, the handicaps are cut by one for every point excessing 36,
so my son would start off 38 at the next comp, the "77" guy got some
24 handicap for his next one. Thus the advantage is gone very fast.

The "unfairness" is limited, too, because the net results of our comps are
usually divided in several handicap classes, e.g. 0 to 17, 17 to 30, 30 to
54. By that the better players will receive their prizes unaffected by the
high handicappers.


From: johnty on
On 20 Feb, 07:27, Paul Schmitz-Josten <aloss...(a)> wrote:

> Yet millions of Americans who passed these poor driving tests drive safely
> on American streets - I never heard of an excessive number of casualities.

But there are. Not as bad as Portugal or Greece, though.

From: Thomas Prufer on
On 21 Feb 2007 00:20:53 -0800, "johnty" <johnty1(a)> wrote:

>On 20 Feb, 07:27, Paul Schmitz-Josten <aloss...(a)> wrote:
>> Yet millions of Americans who passed these poor driving tests drive safely
>> on American streets - I never heard of an excessive number of casualities.
>But there are. Not as bad as Portugal or Greece, though.

I looked it up out of interest.

It depends on whether absolute or per-mile casualties... higher number of
casualties, but actually less injuries per mile than the UK per driven mile.

Thomas Prufer