The Random Comic Strip

The Random Comic Strip

Words to live by...

"How beautiful it is to do nothing, and to rest afterward."

[Spanish Proverb]

Ius luxuriae publice datum est

(The right to looseness has been officially given)

"Everyone carries a part of society on his shoulders," wrote Ludwig von Mises, "no one is relieved of his share of responsibility by others. And no one can find a safe way for himself if society is sweeping towards destruction. Therefore everyone, in his own interest, must thrust himself vigorously into the intellectual battle."

Apparently, the crossword puzzle that disappeared from the blog, came back.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

First Saturday of October

Today was not a normal Saturday. You see, I played in a scramble today. Now, for those of who do not know much about golf, a scramble is a game where all players in a team play their next shot on each hole from the position of the best previous shot made by a member of their team. Teams are usually foursomes, or 4 people (or whatever it is one calls golfers).

The occasion was the grand re-opening of the local municipal golf course. This is my home course. It underwent an overhaul of all the greens and many of the tee boxes, a project which took many months. And had mixed results. This is a municipal course, after all, and that means it is run by the city. So it is not going to be country club quality. Still, it was in pretty good shape overall.

Now these events involve a bit of honesty. Teams are divided into groups, called flights, based upon the ability level of the teams. Teams with better players (based usually on a total of the team's handicap) are placed in the "A" flight and there is usually a "B" flight and sometimes a "C" flight. And here is where the honesty comes in. The players tell the match's organizers what their handicaps are. No one checks, no one confirms. This can lead to some "fudging" of the handicaps.

A handicap represents the number of strokes a player, on average, records over par. Par being 72, a player with a handicap of 15 averages 87 strokes a round. There is some calculation of other factors (most notably the severity ranking of the course) that goes into it but, in general, that's what it means. Most handicaps are liquid. That is, they change over time. You get better, you get worse, you get into slumps, you have streaks of great play, etc.

Theoretically, however, handicaps allow the poorest player to compete with the best. In reality, that's just theory. A good player will beat a poor player way more often than theory suggests.

Most golfers claim handicaps in casual conversation that are lower than their actual ability might merit. It's a bragging rights thing. However, the reverse happens when it comes to reporting said handicap when entering a tournament. A practice often referred to as sandbagging. I have no idea how that term came about.

That wasn't a big issue today. We had only two flights and I never did find out the criteria for each. And our team was remarkably honest in reporting our handicaps. With two flights, and a wide range of ability levels, things tend to even out overall. We ended up in the "A" flight.

We did not win, however. We did not even place third. Still, our score was 10 under par or 6, only 4 shots worse than the winning team's score of 58. And that was good enough to tie for 4th which got us exactly nothing in prizes. We felt we had done as well as we could.

That, in the end, is all that matters. Well, and having a good time with friends.

Which we did.



Anonymous said...


Brighid said...

Being a top flight worm burner I'm better at hunting sand traps than sandbagging.

The Jules said...

I thought you were supposed to aim for the sandy bunker things to stop your ball rolling off into the distance, never to be seen again.

Can't stand it when I lose the ball down those little holes. It's a good job they put warning flags there so I never go near 'em.

Douglas said...

Sand traps are significantly smaller than the greens yet we seem to hit them more often.

Douglas said...

Sand traps are significantly smaller than the greens yet we seem to hit them more often.