Home Course Bump

A topic that has come up on Twitter today that I think would be great for a longer form discussion here. I posted that I’ve achieved a new personal best handicap of 1.0!!! Right away someone pointed out that I’m doing that on a shorter course (just under 5500 yards), and par is 68. This person stated that I’d probably be a 4 or 5 on a real golf course.

Now, I’ve been on a heater at my home course lately. The last 3 rounds have been 63-65-64. I’ve never, in my life, had a stretch like this. I will be honest, I don’t feel like I’m good enough to be a 1 handicap, but that’s what the data, based on USGA rating and slope, says I am.

I do believe the home course bump is real. I know where to hit it and where to miss, I know the greens better, and I’m just comfortable. I don’t shoot under par very often when I travel to other courses, but I do feel like my game travels fairly well. I looked at my last 20 rounds away from my home course and computed my “away” handicap. It’s a 2.1, so for me the home course bump is real, but not as real as the Twitter troll was speculating.

I don’t really have a point with this post, just musing on the handicap system and how much having a true home course helps, or hurts.


My home course is a tough course(long and some big tricky greens) so I feel like it helps my game travel, but it’s also pretty wide so it can bite me when playing a track with more trouble off the tee.

I typically play the tips (right around 7000 yds and 73.7) but occasionally play the blues at 6500/71.1. My low round from each tee box is 69, but I only average about 1-1.5 better from the blues than the tips.

My cap has gone up a bit this year though since I’ve played 1 course more exclusively, and maybe it’s variance, but I do also think that playing a wider range of courses can make you a better player


I’m certain that familiarity with a home course helps keep scores at that course lower, but I’m not sure how much it matters. My HI is currently 4.9. I took all of my “away” scores for 2021, 17 rounds so far, and averaged the 6 or 7 best differentials, trying to bracket the best 40%. Based on that, my “away” index is 5.6 and 5.9, nominally a stroke higher than my current index. That’s pretty similar to what you’re seeing.


Haha, I’m proud of you for saying “screw it, I’ll make a thread”…

Honestly, I think handicap, slope rating and everything else is a best guess and an imperfect science. Golf, in and of itself, measures a number of different skills across a number of different situations and you get a nice whole number that says how good you did… It’s all kindof meaningless really.

Your 1 handicap is just as legitimate as anyone else’s 1 handicap. It’s done in line with the rules on a rated course. You don’t have much control over what it’s rated or where you play (I mean, you do… but you can’t just pick a random course as your home course and play all your rounds there), so your handicap is what it is.

Congrats on the heater! I think your biggest challenge is going to be getting it below 0 on a track like that, because you will have to be filthy out there.


We have 2 guys that are members that are currently plus handicaps. They both shoot a ton of scores in the 61-64 range, and rarely shoot over par. You just have to get comfortable going super low, which is a huge challenge. Yesterday I was -4 through 7 and I started having thoughts about the course record (59, -9), and that derailed me for 8 holes before I got my mind right again and finished strong.


Here’s what I have to say about this. We were sitting at the 19th hole at a particular course and the subject of a course record came up and we were going back and forth like how on God’s name did an amateur shoot 61. The record was shot in the mid 1970s and this was like 1987. So one guy says, well the course wasn’t as developed as it is today etc. Well, at the end of the bar the guy that shot the record says I’m listening to you talk about me…I’m the record holder and let me tell you this on that day trees, bunkers, missed putts were not in play. So in order to shoot under par you need to have all aspects of the game firing… especially putting. To me congrats are in order. Great job, adding a bit more yardage to a course, I just don’t see it as seriously affecting your handicap like your some 8-9 cap like me unless the course u play is uncle Joe’s miniature golf. I keep an index just to play in association events. I put down that I play from the whites…but I happen to play from different tees during the round like on the Par 3s we play from the tips, the Par 5’s I play from the tips, we have a couple of 90* par 4’s depending if I feel like walking back to the tip…for me the white tee is a 7 iron, the tip is like maybe a 4 iron…to be honest…I post a score and it says what it says. The only time I actually care is when I’m gambling or in a tourney…LOL


So you have a completely fake handicap, you’re telling us. You feel free to play from whichever tees you like, including tees which are significantly longer than the “white tees” that you claim when you post, post the score for handicap, and take that bogus handicap into competition with others who (I hope) actually follow the rules when they post their scores.


Is there a reason you have to be so rude? Much like many courses we have multiple tee boxes. As in a pro tournament, if you have ever attended one, they utilize multiple tee boxes…the courses are rarely played from the true length. We play multiple tee boxes. The tips at my course play 6200, the whites play 5900, I play them somewhere in between. I post my handicap to the white tees because it’s closer to what we play. The tee boxes are moved all the time. No one is cheating, no one is breaking the rules, I don’t think you even know what the hell you are talking about to tell you the truth. If we play a course and a tee box is like 350, and maybe a silver tee is 285, we might play a silver tee to take our chance on a driveable par 4. Who cares where you play from? It’s not the reds, it’s not the gold’s. It’s mostly the whites and some blues…our greenskeepers move the boxes all the time. BTW in our tourneys my handicap doesn’t move and I just have to play wherever the blue tees are set. So it doesn’t really matter

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If you post a score from a different set of tees than you play you are in fact cheating and breaking the rules.

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Let me get this straight.

You post your scores from the white tees, but you play the back tees (not even the blues, but the gold tees, two steps back) on something like 8 of the 18 holes, nearly half of them. Your scores will reflect the actual yardage played, so they will (almost certainly) be higher than if you actually played ALL of the white tees. And you claim that your handicap, the product of these higher scores, is somehow valid and legitimate, that you’re not cheating.
Here’s my suggestion. Next time you check in for a competition, tell the Committee exactly what you wrote down in this thread, and ask them what THEY think of your Handicap Index. I’m done with this, perhaps some of the other folks have an opinion.

That’s correct we play the course from different tees. And yes everyone is aware and it isn’t an issue at all. Why? First we play to have fun, Second, it does not affect my handicap at all, if I choose to play a par 5 from 535 instead of 515, or a par 3 from 215 instead of 165, I’m not exactly helping myself am I. If you truly think playing a 6 or 7 iron off a 90* par 4 to a distance of 140ish and playing a 4 or 5 iron to the same…you are wrong i can mishit either iron at about the same rate. The yardage of the course each day just depends. It might make a big difference from 7000 to 6500, but not from 6200 to 5900…I’d be more than happy to post my scores from the blues, it doesn’t matter, my scoring average is actually better from the back tees…

So, are you ready, u play from the blues, I know you are a scratch. Suppose for a month the superintendent decides to move the tees up 400 yds for a month…are you moving back anyways? It doesn’t matter…isn’t that messing with u’re handicap or you just don’t post?

You are, IF: you are subsequently benefited by having a higher handicap (because of the slightly tougher holes your tee selection has given you) than the handicap you should actually be posting. I.e., sandbagging. If none of your later competitions consider your handicap index at all, then I don’t see a benefit.

I guess I’m just jaded, having watched the Pebble Beach Pro-Am all those years (and worked a few other tournaments, too), but I just assume everyone in a handicap-utilized competition is shading the truth in one way or another. Maybe I’ve seen too many 9 HDCP guys carding 69 gross? “How did that happen?!”

I’m sure you’re not aware, but if your course were to temporarily increase the yardage by 300 yards, they suggest that you increase the Course Rating by 1.3 strokes, and the Slope by 3 points. If you’d like to check it for yourself, this is in Appendix G to the Rules of Handicapping. So take your scores from your “hybrid” tees, longer than the standard White tees, increase the CR and Slope, and recalculate your Handicap Index. Oddly enough, you’ll find that your Handicap Index really SHOULD be 1.3 strokes lower than what you have now. The system works if you play by the Rules. You’re not. You may not want to accept that you’re doing anything wrong, but you’re simply not following the handicapping rules.

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Quite frankly I don’t care what tees you play or where you post your handicap from. I can agree that the handicap system is not perfect however it does work, IF and only IF people use it honestly.

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Well hot damn, I guess I should be the club champ by now…I’m middle of the pack…Playing from different tee boxes is fun…It’s not fun for me in particular to hit an 8iron from 160 (or less) on a par3, and getting on a green 80% of the time and challenging ourselves to hit for me a 7w that lowers that to 40%, especially in a tournament I have to hit from that tee anyways. Just so you know, my handicap doesn’t move because the pro adjusts 20%. If I wanted to sandbag, there’s alot better and easier ways to do it than adjusting where you play from off the tee boxes. Frankly, once again…you went to Pebble…answer this question honestly…are the tees and teeboxes adjusted daily…simple yes or no. the course is played a variable lengths…so I dont play 6200 and I dont play 5900…I play somewhere in between depending in how the super sets up the course for the day. We play between 6000 and 6100…so where do you post? I mean I’ve seen the blue tees ahead of the white tees because Chris (our super) wanted to mess with the guys…

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Hey bud. My handicap is 8.7. from what I post…in tourneys (and that’s the only reason I post, cuz I don’t care anymore…and I only play in club events) The pro adjusts me 20% that’s 1.7…not 1.3 so I guess he’s ripping me off? Maybe it would help if you asked the question how does that work for you in the tourneys…So I end up having to play as a 6. So you creeps that think we/I cheat… You’re wrong! Put that in your pipe and smoke it! You are all so rude! Anything else to say ???

Does the Pro adjust everyone’s handicap 20% or just yours?

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He adjusted the 4 guys that play in our group, now 2 because the 70 year olds are strictly white…Like I said, we don’t play the full length, it’s closer to the white…so when we enter events we get adjusted 20% to the south…I have to play as a 6 or I might me higher than 50th on the point list out of 120 people…I’m wrong he adjusts probably 20 of the B players that play from the whites 20%

I don’t know what other justification you need to understand you are not using the handicap system correctly if your Pro adjusts your handicap in a tourney.

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