The USGA Solo Rounds fiasco continues. The tone-deaf Lords of Far Hills posted a clarification of their new handicap rules which say that singles golfers can’t be trusted to post accurate scores:
What constitutes not playing alone?
As long as someone accompanies the player during the round (e.g., fellow competitor, opponent, caddie, marker for a tournament, friend riding along in a cart) the player is not playing alone.
How many holes can a player play alone to post the score?
The player must be accompanied for at least seven holes for a nine-hole score or 13 holes for 18-hole score.
This is consistent with Section 5-1 and the minimum number of holes played under the Rules of Golf.
For the holes played alone (not accompanied), the player would treat these as not played under the Rules of Golf and post according to “par plus” any handicap strokes the player is entitled to receive.
They’re still calling me a liar (read my rant from yesterday). If you’re a peasant who plays and record solo rounds (and that is a great many of us), the Golf Lords are calling you a liar, too.
Golf Canada, on the other hand, doesn’t think its members are liars and villeins (a medieval term for peasant, from whence villain, a character with evil motives)
In a pair of tweets, Golf Canada wrote:
Thankfully, I live close enough to Canada that I can drive over the Ambassador Bridge to play solo.
I agree with GolfBlogger’s Loyal Reader Martin who, in a comment on another post wrote:
Now this rule … would appear that it is an attempt to address one guy at one club who is going out and posting inflated scores. But here’s the thing, handicap committees have tools to address abuse, but the bigger challenge is getting folks to post enough scores to make a valid handicap.
I have long thought that the USGA was out of touch with a large segment of its audience. The Aristocrats who hold sway over the USGA have no appreciation for the game the peasants play at our public access munis, putting on our shoes in the parking lots, and hitting balls out of rocky bunkers with decade old clubs. The stoke-and-distance rule, for example, is wonderful in tournaments and upscale clubs with widely spaced tee times and leisurely conditions. If you try to go back to re-hit on a muni, you’re taking your life into your hands. The three groups behind you are likely to put your body in a sand trap where you’ll never be seen again. Then there’s the ruling that you get a free drop from fire ants, but not from poison ivy. The Lords of Golf have fire ants on their courses, but never poison ivy.
Notice the USGA’s suggestions for who can attest to a score: fellow competitor, opponent, caddie, marker for a tournament, friend riding along in a cart.
Caddie? Seriously? I’ve been to exactly two courses that had caddies, and one of them was Colonial Country Club in Texas. The other charges $190 a round, plus another $50 and gratuities for the caddie. Most peasant muni golfers can’t afford that sort of luxury. That’s why we play at munis (aside from the fact that I like the honest, down-to-earth people there)
Marker in a tournament? That assumes high end golfers. Nothing for the peasant golfer there.
“Friend riding along in a cart”? I’ve seen guys riding with their non-golfer wives, and players with a couple of kids in the shotgun seat (the deal with the wife was that if you’re playing golf, you’re getting the kids out of my hair) Neither of those situations are going to make a score more truthful. (And riding along in a cart? What about walkers? Who walks with a non-playing friend?)
Singles need not apply. They’re liars and villeins. In fact, the USGA must think that all its members are — at their core — liars and villeins. It is just that under supervision and peer pressure, some will behave. Just as medieval lords thought their peasants / villeins would behave only under threat of the sword.
The USGA is not “for the good of the game,” but “for the good of high revenue tournaments and high-end clubs.”