The USGA and R&A show some heart with changes to the Rules of Golf

The USGA and R&A have revised some golf rules commencing 1st January 2016 …. the key ones being :

  1. Ban on the anchored putting stroke
  2. Withdrawl of Rule on Ball Moving After Address (Rule 18-2b)
  3. Limited Exception to Disqualification Penalty for Submission of Incorrect Score Card (Rule 6-6d)
  4. Modification of Penalty for Single Impermissible use of Artificial Devices or Equipment (Rule 14-3)

Full details can be read here.

Results of Poll

The results for the recent poll regarding the use of USGA handicaps are summarised below. The majority of players (81%) have voted for the use of USGA handicaps for ALL games. So starting 1st January 2014 Loose Cannons will be adopting the use of players’ official USGA handicaps for all Loose Cannons games. So no more cuts for the winner and runner up as a win should be reflected in a cut in the handicap via the online USGA system we now use.,+Geneva,+sans-serif;&hideq=true&purl=

Most Improved Golfer at Loose Cannons

The new USGA online software system we are currently testing to calculate our group’s handicaps on a regular basis is going very well and I believe that this is now reflecting the true handicap of each player and results in a fairer and more accurate system for our weekly games. Over and above the handicap calculation the system provides a large number of reports which are useful for tabulating results or statistics.

Below, for example, is an interesting table showing the Most Improved Golfer … in this case calculated over the last 6 months. Congratulations to Allan McNicoll for achieving this honour reflected again yesterday with his win at Bukit Kemuning.

I will be posting a summary of the new online handicap system in the next few days so we can make a collective decision to go ahead and purchase the system to use on a regular basis.

Revised USGA Handicapping System

After much previous debate it was decided to try and implement the successful handicap system that Mike Smith ran by calculating a USGA handicap then basing the Loose Cannons playing handicap capped on 3 above this USGA handicap.

I looked at Mike Smith’s existing software as well as the spreadsheets containing all the data. I also started to test a new online web based handicap system which my be a better option going forward. The  results and review so far are as below.

After a few weeks of testing this system we can decide if we wish to proceed with this annual paid system – so far the results are very good with realistic handicaps now for everyone and from the results of the first game using this system at Tropicana on 30th July 2013 the spread of scores look better with no 50 point wins …. this should make it a fairer opportunity for all players at all levels to compete and stand a chance of winning.

Loose Cannons Scoring Spreadsheet
I spent quite a number of days reviewing the Loose Cannons scores in the various spreadsheets from Mike Smith as of 15/11/2012 and the sheets that Ray Funnell has used since that time. I have taken all the score from 2013 for everyone plus the scores from 2012 from August to December and created a new and hopefully clearer spreadsheet. The older spreadsheets appear to have missing score data prior to August 2012 and also have extra columns, added rows for formatting – I have simplified this in the new spreadsheet allowing ease of use and ease of sorting by names or any other column.
The new spreadsheet has all scores input from August 2012 to date. The column titled USGA Handicap is a new calculated handicap based on a new online system I am currently testing (see below). These calculated handicaps are based on all scores from 2013 and if needed some scores from 2012. For those players who have not enough scores I have used the previous USGA handicap as calculated by Mike Smith in 15/11/2102 or they are blank as they have not played sufficient games.
Ray – I would suggest you use these handicaps for the next game at Tropicana. I will update this sheet on a weekly basis as well as generating weekly revised USGA handicaps. Please note they the Loose Cannons Handicap is capped at 3 above the calculated USGA Handicap. In the spreadsheet the capped scores are in bold/red under the KLLC Handicap column.
Handicapping Software
I have tried to get Mike Smith’s handicap application to work – this is essentially an Excel spreadsheet system with Macros to run the various calculations. I have loaded this but unfortunately the various calculations and input routines do not work due to runtime errors which I feel is due to the incompatibility between Excel versions and perhaps the older version of the software that Mike Smith has. I feel this may be a good time to review what we use and perhaps go for a new online system which will not have these problems.
I have looked at many systems that can be used for handicap calculations – we of course need one that can calculate handicaps for a large group – we have around 80 names on the Loose Cannons database list although only about 20-30 are really active. One system I am testing right now and seems to be excellent is from which has both a desktop and a web based system. The desktop version is a Windows only application and would need one Administrator to enter all scores and generate all reports as well as printing handicap cards, etc. I am testing the web based system where all data is input online and all USGA calculations can be done based on the past scores input. There are comprehensive reports that can be generated and you can easily customise your own reports. Handicap cards can be printed by the Admin as well as any individual golfer. All golfers will have access to this online system so they can loo up their scores, print reports and print their own handicap card. We can assign a few key people as admins to input scores and manage the system. I will be sending out details by e-mail to everyone later with how to access this system. I will be passing out handicap cards for everyone next week based on scores from August 2012 to date.
I have this system on a 60 day free trial after which time we can decide to purchase. I would recommend we go for the online versions as this gives us greater flexibility, ease of updated versions and access by al golfers from any computer at anytime. The online web system is pieced based on the no of golfers:
1-25 golfers $96 per year
26-50 golfers $144 per year
51-100 golfers $240 per year
We currently have 80 golfers on our list although there are less than 50 golfers really active.
I would propose we discuss over the coming weeks after you see the system working and decide if we want to commit to this system
I have already input all scores for everyone from Aug 2012 to present and have generated handicaps for everyone (except those without sufficient scores.) 
Below is a sample handicap calculation for myself for reference on the calculations used:
Stuart Taylor – How USGA Index is calculated.
1. Handicap Setup is as follows …
The table below is used to determine the number of handicap differentials to use :
Number of Acceptable Scores Differential(s) to be Used
5 or 6 Lowest 1
7 or 8 Lowest 2
9 or 10 Lowest 3
11 or 12 Lowest 4
13 or 14 Lowest 5
15 or 16 Lowest 6
17 Lowest 7
18 Lowest 8
19 Lowest 9
20 Lowest 10
Stuart has 20 scores so the highlighted parameters are used to determine which scores to use for handicapping
2. The Differentials for these scores are calculated…
Date Adjusted Grs Score Score Type Course Played Tee Course Rating Course Slope Differential Used
7/23/2013 93 KGSAAS White 69.0 128 21.2
7/16/2013 90 Kota Permai Golf & Country Club White 72.0 113 18.0 Used
7/9/2013 89 Bukit Unggul Country Club White 70.5 115 18.2 Used
7/2/2013 95 Rahman Putra White 71.9 129 20.2 Used
5/28/2013 96 Staffield Resort – N&S Course White 70.5 115 25.1
5/21/2013 87 Bukit Kemuning White 70.5 115 16.2 Used
5/14/2013 92 Saujana Impian G. & C.C. White 70.5 115 21.1
4/29/2013 92 IOI Golf Resort White 67.7 112 24.5
4/16/2013 94 KGSAAS White 69.0 128 22.1
4/11/2013 97 Orna – East/West Course White 70.5 115 26.0
4/2/2013 94 Bukit Unggul Country Club White 70.5 115 23.1
3/12/2013 86 KRTU White 71.0 130 13.0 Used
3/5/2013 95 Saujana Impian G. & C.C. White 70.5 115 24.1
2/26/2013 86 Bukit Unggul Country Club White 70.5 115 15.2 Used
2/19/2013 99 Templer Park Country Club White 70.5 115 28.0
2/5/2013 86 Nilai Springs – P&M Course White 70.5 115 15.2 Used
1/29/2013 92 The Club @Bukit Utama White 72.0 120 18.8 Used
1/22/2013 89 Perangsang Templer White 69.6 130 16.9 Used
1/15/2013 95 Tropicana White 72.0 120 21.7
1/8/2013 90 KGSAAS White 69.0 128 18.5 Used
The equation for calculating a differential is …
Diff = (Adjusted Gross Score – Rating) X (113 / Slope)
3. Use the differentials to calculate a USGA Index
Differentials ‘used’ are added together…
170.2 = 18.0 + 18.2 + 20.2 + 16.2 + 13.0 + 15.2 + 15.2 + 18.8 + 16.9 + 18.5
Then divide the total number used
Average differentials = 170.2 / 10  = 17.020
Multiply average by 96%.
USGA Index = 17.020 x 0.96         USGA Index = 16.3 (Digits after tenths place are deleted)
Final USGA Index = 16.3