The USGA Handicap system no longer allows solo players to post scores

Kid Rock enjoying a round of golf and a beer while suits at the USGA seethe in anger, probably. Image via USA Today

Yesterday, the United States Golf Association sent out a press release detailing the changes  to the USGA Handicap system for 2016. It’s a mish mosh of understandable updates regarding the anchored stroke rule and if you can when you have reasonably changed a score. It’s all pretty innocuous as far as goofy golf rules go, until WAIT, WHAT!?:

• Playing alone and necessary peer review: To further support the key system premise of peer review, scores made while playing alone will no longer be acceptable for handicap purposes. This change underscores the importance of providing full and accurate information regarding a player’s potential scoring ability, and the ability of other players to form a reasonable basis for supporting or disputing a posted score. (Section 5-1: Acceptability of Scores)

You have to be fucking kidding me. The key system premise of peer review? What does that even mean? Since when has peer review been a key premise of the handicapping system? Isn’t that why the tournament handicap exists? Are we assuming that the random guy in cutoff denim that I’m paired with is more knowledgeable to the rules than I am?

The USGA went on explain why they think you’re a lying piece of shit, with these tweets:

In summary, the USGA has said that:

A) Golf is a game built on integrity and honesty

B) That golfers have no integrity or honesty

Beyond the obvious ploy to filter out guys who shoot triple digits in US Open qualifiers, I’m still baffled as to what this does for anybody? Assuming this is somehow enforceable under the current GHIN system, what does it do? Does it eliminate sandbagging? Not as long as people are still allowed to play alone. Does it eliminate vanity handicaps? Sure, I guess. But that’s ignoring the fact that it was never a problem and it hopelessly assumes that the guy attesting is more honorable than the guy posting.

This entire rule change smacks of the elitism and shortsightedness that the USGA has perpetrated for decades. The only people who this rule serves are those who belong to country clubs and regular tournament golfers, both of which are a small minority of the golf landscape.

In full fairness and disclosure, I’m a guy who plays alone, a lot. Despite a very tough year, I still managed 11 solo rounds between April and October. I’ve never been a tournament golfer, or belonged to a country club, so this probably won’t have any huge impact on my life. The point remains, however, that the USGA for all their empty “grow the game” bullshit, still hates that average hacks can sully up their pure little club. Golf is and always has been a game for the connected, and the fact that you can’t be trusted if you play alone only furthers that antiquated fucking nonsense.

Today the USGA has questioned my integrity and yours. It really pisses me off, and it should piss you off, too.