Golf Tips Newsletter - Issue 379 - Wed. December 9th, 2015
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In This Issue

Tom's Featured Tip: Handicap Rule Changes
Tour Greens: Tour Quality Synthetic Greens
Tom's Bonus Tip: Q&A: Rolling The Green
Lesson Comments: What Students Have To Say
Sponsors: Plum Creek Driving Range 
Batavia Country Club - Course Open & Taking Tee Times thru This Weekend & Beyond (weather permitting). Discounted Memberships Still Available Until December 20th, 2015. Our Pro Shop Open Daily, 9-4 for Golf, Memberships & Gift Certificates... Pro Shop Merchandise Still Available!
Tour Greens Western New York 
Genesee Community College Golf Management Program 

Click here:  INDOOR GOLF LESSONS  for details on how to improve your game over the winter.

Check out Plum Creek's Simulator Course Play Specials: Call 585-993-0930 or email Mark at to reserve your simulator time!

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Tom's Featured Tip: Handicap Rule Changes

For simplicity, all advice on actual swings or drills is provided from a right handed perspective.

I'm going to say right off the bat that I don't agree with the rule prohibiting posting solo scores for handicap purposes that commences January 1st, 2016 .

I don't ever post a solo round score. Mainly because on the rare occasion when I do play solo, I usually take practice shots when I don't hit it pure.

I do, however, know a couple of guys who play solo most of the time, and I trust them to report their scores honestly.

Sure, there's an opportunity to fudge your scores when you play alone, but that same thing can happen when you play with other players.

Golf Canada has stated that they will not adopt this rule, and I agree with them.

Golf is a game of integrity first and foremost, and this rule seems to challenge that. It flies in the face of the notion that golf is a game of honor, and it implies that that golfers can't be trusted to post true scores when they play alone.

I don't like the implication.

Here are some details that I found online.

The United States Golf Association has announced changes to the USGA Handicap System, which will go into effect Jan. 1, 2016, and anchoring the putter is a no-no among those who are turning in scores for their handicap as well.

The USGA Handicap System is designed to even the playing field between players of different abilities. A handicap index (such as 10.4, for example) is a reflection of player's potential and can be adjusted as the player's game changes. It is also adjusted according to the course rating and slope.

"The USGA Handicap System is constantly evolving to ensure that the system works for the game today and tomorrow," said Steven Edmondson, the USGA's managing director of Handicapping & Course Rating. "As we examine the game domestically and globally, these revisions support the integrity and reliability that millions of players around the world expect of this system. We continue to explore substantive changes as we work toward a World Handicap System in the years ahead."

As a result of the rule change, solo golf is fine for casual play, but not your handicap.

According to the USGA, there are six significant changes that will impact around 10 million golfers who hold a Handicap Index issued throughout the United States and 32 licensed associations, federations and unions around the world. I found two of the changes particularly significant.

The first is that golfers can no longer post scores from rounds in which they have played alone.

In the old days, golfers had to get someone to attest to their scores, and they certainly weren't self-reporting their scores for handicapping purposes like they do now over the Internet. Sure, they could forge a scorecard back then, but it took some effort. Players had to at least turn in a card that was filled out and signed to their handicap committee and pro.

Over the past few years, golfers have been free to self-report their scores. This new rule banning rounds played alone basically questions human integrity.

We all know folks who just don't keep score accurately (often intentionally), especially with nobody watching, and report scores that either give them a vanity handicap or help them sandbag in their scrambles. A better solution might be to have to get signatures on your scorecard.

The other big change addresses golfers who anchor the putter, particularly long putters. Sure, golfers who don't play in individual tournaments are probably thinking, "what's the difference," but if your handicap is reflecting your golf potential as defined by the Rules of Golf, the USGA is saying that there is no such thing as an accurate round if you don't apply the Rules of golf. In other words, if an illegal putting stroke results in rounds that are two or three strokes better than without one, then your handicap index really isn't accurate. The same, of course, can be said for a litany of other rules that golfers routinely violate, most notably out of bounds (where they play them as lateral hazards), liberal drops around hazards, bumping the ball and the often played Mulligan.

Here are a few of the other changes and the detailed explanation of all of them by the USGA:

Definition of a tournament score

Additional guidance is provided to Committees conducting competitions regarding the definition of a tournament score, placing greater emphasis on "significant events." The definition excludes fundraising events and regular league play, in favor of designated competitions such as a member/guest or club championship, local amateur tournament or national qualifying and competition. (Section 2: Definitions)

Adjusting hole scores

A revised decision provides clarity for acceptable scores in limited situations where the player has not played a hole(s) under the Rules of Golf, but his or her score would be sufficiently accurate for handicap posting purposes. Three areas covered under the examples include: 1) where the Local Rule is not in effect, but a player chooses to use a Distance Measuring Device or preferred lies; 2) where a player does not wish to cause undue delay; or 3) where the situation is outside of the player's control, such as an incorrectly marked golf course. (Section 4: Adjusting Hole Scores)

Posting scores when a player is disqualified

To improve alignment with the Rules of Golf, the revised Handicap System is clearer about what scores are acceptable when a player is disqualified. In general, a score is acceptable for handicap purposes even when a player fails to hole out, or apply a Rule that affects the rights of another player. If the disqualification breach is determined to provide an advantage for the player, the score is deemed unacceptable for handicap purposes. (Section 5-1: Acceptability of Scores)

Anchoring and posting

A new reference concerns a player who anchors the club while making a stroke during a round and fails to apply the appropriate penalty or an adjusted hole score (Section 4-2). Since the score would not be reflected as playing under the Rules of Golf, it would be unacceptable for handicap purposes. (Section 5-1: Acceptability of Scores)

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)

Committee responsibilities

In an effort to assist the Handicap Committee with its responsibilities, this revision addresses a player with a temporary disability or permanent disability who has a Handicap Index that is no longer reflective of his/her current potential ability. In the particular instance cited, the Committee will no longer assign a local handicap (denoted with the letter "L" for local use only), but instead will issue a (temporary) modified Handicap Index (denoted by the letter "M"). This change supports the portability of a disabled player's handicap, so that it can be used outside the player's home club. (Section 8-4c: Handicap Index Adjustment by Handicap Committee)


Love your practice, own your swing, own your health,


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Love your practice, own your swing, own your health,


Tom's Bonus Tip: Q&A: Rolling The Green

For simplicity, all advice on actual swings or drills is provided from a right handed perspective.

Q: Tom, any idea why very few greens in the Rochester area are rolled? Since most of these greens have poana in them they really need it.

I played over in Camillus at Tuscarora CC they were rolling the greens that day and they putted like Oak Hill.

Do you think it is the cost of the equipment and labor I know a lot of courses up here struggle financially?

Norm A.

A: Thanks for your question Norm.

This question went beyond my depth Norm, so I consulted with Nick Pompa, the Superintendent at the Batavia Country Club, whose greens have been superb for several years running.

Nick told me that the reasons for rolling greens are to smooth out bumpy greens, to increase speed, and on occasion to prevent certain diseases.

He also told me that on very hot summer days he may roll the greens with his tow behind roller in lieu of cutting them. This minimizes the chances of green damage due to excessive heat.

Nick said that most of the greens on our area have some poana, and that rolling a green MAY have some small effect on the poana coming up on that day, but overall the effect of rolling on poana growth is negligible.

The cost of a green roller can range from $5,000 to $30,000, and of course labor is involved. So your presumption of cost factors being a reason for not rolling seems logical.

I decided against calling any other courses to ask, because of the risk of offending them if financial considerations trumped the need.

I hope this shed some light on the subject for you Norm.


Love your practice, own your swing, own your health,


Golf Lessons

I conduct lessons at The Plum Creek Driving Range & Practice Facility
there's a link for Plum Creek info here:

Lessons are available for all ages and skill levels, please contact
me - Tom Tucker - at (716) 474 3005 or email me at
for more information.

Outdoor Lessons Details and Rates:

Indoor Lessons Details and Rates:

Driver Fitting Rates:



Plum Creek Driving Range and Simulator  Outdoor range and play indoor golf on any of our 40 Simulator Courses. Call 585-993-0930 or email Mark at to reserve time for simulator play or practice!

Batavia Country Club   Great rates, the best greens in WNY. Golf Digest Four Star rating for public courses to play in New York State. Tee times online or by phone in season. Reduced rates for 2016 Season Pass Memberships available until December 20th, 2015 PLUS pay now and play now on 2016 membership. See website below for rates.  (585) 343-7600

Tour Greens Western New York  Practice with purpose in your own back yard on your own synthetic practice green. Our greens LOVE Western New York weather!

Genesee Community College Golf Management Program   Click on link for more information if you or anyone you know is interested in a dynamic career in the golf industry, or in teaching golf.

All the best,

Tom Tucker
Teaching Pro, Plum Creek Driving Range & Practice Facility
WGTF ' "Top 100 Golf Teacher"
USGTF Class "A" Teaching Professional
Cell: (716) 474-3005

"There are no substitutes in the quest for perfection!"
~ Ben Hogan