The Handicap Saga Continues

On May 24th SMAF announced the following.  “For years, we have been handling our handicapping “in-house”.  While it has worked, after a fashion, our current system is less than satisfactory for a number of reasons.  First, our scores and handicaps are not available for peer review. Second, it is a burden for the person designated as the Fairness Specialist to gather scores, calculate handicaps, and disseminate the handicaps to SMAF participants.  Most importantly, there are readily available alternatives that make our current system pale in comparison.  One online handicap provider in particular, Birdie is very easy to use, is in use by many other golf associations in Thailand,….”

In the beginning my biggest objection to Birdie was that their calculation was different to the “in-house” calculation.   They corrected their mistake and now both calculations are identical.  Recently I announced that I had entered the scores from the SMAF blog into Birdie to get everyone’s handicaps.   The 2 reasons listed in the announcement have been satisfied.   That is, the scores and handicaps are available for peer review and I don’t find it a burden to take 5 minutes to enter the scores 3 times a week.   Members now have a choice of  1) maintaining their own handicaps 2) going to this blog and looking it up or 3) going to Birdie and looking it up.   What can be simpler than that?   What could possibly be wrong with that?

This past week I was locked out of 4 of the handicaps.   It appears that 4 members objected to me maintaining the group’s handicaps in a fair and impartial way.   I was advised by Birdie that if I were to continue to maintain these handicaps I would have to use completely fake names on the Birdie entries.   That has now been done and all the handicaps are once again up to date.   At no time did anyone from SMAF advise me of there being a problem with my work.   Why wouldn’t you want the scores entered correctly?  Why wouldn’t you want to give the members the choice of having me do it or doing it themselves?   Why would you get Birdie involved before even discussing it with me?   Are you really that thoughtless to involve them in a petty dispute?   Are you capable of coming up with any answers?

All scores are entered in less than 24 hours of them going on the SMAF blog.   You can see yours or anyone else’s handicaps by clicking on the “Current Handicap” tab at the top of this blog.   Scores can be found by clicking on the names.  If you have a problem with your fake name on Birdie I would be happy to change it to anything you prefer.

The handicaps I provide are completely safe from any manipulation.  This ensures all members of a fair result.   For some reason there are members that have a problem with that and they can’t even tell me why.



Results — Sept 17th – Oct 1st, 2018

Please note that current handicaps are now on the tab at the top.

Not much to report in the way of results.  (12 scores in 15 days)

Results – Monday, October 1, 2018; 

stb score Players hcap Skins Money
32 106 Les 30 5.00 -90
35 103 5Points 30 6.00 -60
33 81 Bruce G 6 13.00 150

Results – Monday, September 24, 2018

No scores recorded.

Results – Saturday, September 22, 2018

Player       H’Cap    Gross Score   Stableford   Adjusted Score

  • 5Points        30            112                    28                  110
  • Les               30            116                    23                  115

Results – Thursday, September 20, 2018

Player       H’Cap    Gross Score   Stableford   Adjusted Score

  • 5Points        30            100                    39                  99
  • Jim S            30            105                    33                 105
  • Les               30            115                    24                  114

Results – Monday, September 17, 2018

stb score Players hcap Skins Money
28 110 Jim S 30 2.00 -160
34 86 Peter 12 4.00 -80
39 75 Bruce G 6 7.00 40
32 106 5Points 30 11.00 200


Announcement / Peer Review — Sept 17, 2018

From the start I had 4 objections to Birdie handicaps.

  1. The Santiburi course ratings were incorrect.
  2. There is no way you can get 16 members to record their scores accurately and in a timely manner.   In addition, corrections can’t be made after a short period of time.
  3. Happy City and Waterford course ratings have been manufactured out of thin air by Birdie.   There is absolutely no way of knowing if they are even close to correct.
  4. To be peer reviewable you need all scores published on the blog.   Therefore only scores from SMAF competitions should be recorded.

Now the good news.   It appears that a while back (exact date unknown) Birdie corrected the Santiburi course ratings.   Therefore all scores entered since that unknown date are correct in the handicap calculation.

After looking at all the mistakes as well as laxness in what is acceptable and what isn’t I decided to enter everyone’s scores in Birdie as I see it should be done.  For those that want it done properly it is there for you to use and you don’t have to do anything further.   Peer reviews like the one below will no longer be necessary.   Anyone can now see the difference between what is correct and the rubbish members have entered.   For those that prefer inputting rubbish they can continue to do so as long as the other members are OK with it.

To see what has been entered at this point you can log into Birdie, click on Golfers and search SMAF as the name.  Please note that to get the correct blue tee handicap you need to multiply the index by 1.08 .   I will be simplifying this in the near future after I get all member’s scores input.

Peer Review

Waterford, Happy City and non-SMAF scores are not verifiable — They certainly may be correct.   I have made note of everything that would cause the member’s Birdie handicaps to differ from mine.


Missing score Aug 9th.  He has only played with SMAF for 4 of his last 20 rounds.   Hence the huge discrepancy in his handicap between his last 20 rounds played with SMAF and his last 20 recorded on Birdie.


No BS-hcp

Bruce G:

Aug 11 (recorded 79 – blog says 80.  Aug 12 – non SMAF event, Aug 14 + 16 not Santiburi, missing Aug 23rd score, Sept 15th – front 9 twice.


No BS-hcp


Feb 17th white tee – not blue,  Feb 10th after being informed of the error entered the correct score – couldn’t delete the wrong score.


Missing Sept 6th (113), Aug 25th recorded 94 not 93, Aug 16 not Santiburi, Aug 12th non-SMAF, Aug 6th recorded 103 not 100, Aug 4th recorded 104 not 106,   July 28th recorded 93 not 95, July 23rd recorded 97 not 96,

5 Points:

Sept 15th played front nine twice, Sept 1st recorded 111 not 112, Aug 29th non SMAF, Aug 25th adjusted a 107 to 105, Aug 16th Happy city, Aug 12th non SMAF,


Missing June 23rd (109)


Uses TGA not Birdie – Aug 27th recorded 84 not 83, Aug 26th Waterford, Aug 11th recorded 92 not 91, also includes several non-SMAF rounds.

Peter R:

Aug 30th recorded 85 not 86, Aug 27th recorded twice, Aug 25th missing (95), missing March 10th (86), Feb 12th 90 not 81.


Missing Aug 11th (111), Missing Aug 6th (108), Missing Mar 10th (109w),


Missing scores – Jan 18th,  has a couple non-SMAF scores


Missing scores – Jan 18th, has a couple non-SMAF scores

John Park:

Missing Sept 10 (89), Sept 6th recorded 86 not 88, Aug 27th recorded 85 not 84, Aug 20th recorded two scores 81 & 82 correct score 80,  Aug 11th missing score 86, June 30th recorded 88 not 89, missing score June 16th (83), missing score June 11th (78), missing scores June 9th (84), missing score June 7th(80), a few non-SMAF scores


Missing scores Sept 13th (106), Aug 27th (112), Aug 18th (108), July 30th (110), July 12th (103), July 9th (107), May 17th (112), May 14th (104), May 12th (104)

Bruce K:

Missing 2 scores from September 2017 which would get him over the 20 scores.

Updated Handicaps — Results Sept 1 -15

If you play the same 9 holes twice on the same day on an 18 hole course is your score valid for handicap purposes?   I am not certain but I don’t believe it is valid.   Can any of my many blog followers prove me wrong?

In the next day or so I will be doing another complete peer review.   I will also have some good news regarding Birdie handicaps.

Handicaps for all the members and recent friends are published twice a month.   All handicaps are peer reviewable.  All scores are recorded on this blog.  If anyone wants a listing of theirs or anyone else’s last 20 scores I will send it to them.  Only SMAF rounds played at Santiburi are included in the handicap calculation.

Updated Handicaps

Name Handicap Index Blue Handicap
Andrew 15.5 17 BS 18.1  (20)
Brian J 22.6 24
Bruce G 6.3 7 up 1 BS  5.7  (6)
Egbert 23.4 25 BS 23.9  (26)
Graham T 19.9 21 down 1 BS 20.0 (22)
Jim 31.4 34 BS  31.6  (34)
5Points 30.8 33 up 1 BS 30.9   (33)
John P 9.9 11 BS 11.7  (13)
Les 29.6 32
Marc 17.7 19 TGA 16.7 (18)
Paul P 17.8 19 BS 18.7  (20)
Peter R 12 13 BS 11.4  (12)
Young 29.9 30 red BS 30.0 (30)
Steve 30.8 33 b 31w (29) BS 31.3  (34b)
Bruce K 31.7 32w (30) BS 31.0  (31w)
Darryl 15.6 16w (13)
Woody 5.4 6 BS  3.8 (4)
Merv 28.5 31 29w  (26) BS 28.4  (31b)

For white tee competitions use your index rounded to the nearest whole number.

Darryl, Steve, Merv and Bruce K’s white handicaps are 16 / 32 / 29 / 32.   When competing against those on the blue tees they should use the number in brackets.


Results – Saturday, September 15, 2018

Played the front 9 twice.

stb score Players hcap Skins Money
28 110 Jim S 30 2 -160
34 86 Peter 12 4 -80
39 75 Bruce G 6 7 40
32 106 5Points 30 11 200

Results – Thursday, September 13, 2018

stb score Players hcap Skins Money
27 93 Peter 12 1 -130
28 110 5Points 30 2.5 -55
27 112 Merv 31 3 -30
32 106 Jim S 30 4.5 45
30 84 Bruce G 6 7 170

Results – Monday, September 10, 2018

stb score Players hcap Skins Money
19 119 5Points 30 1 -200
32 89 John P 13 4 -50
29 85 Bruce G 6 5 0
30 90 Peter 12 6 50
39 91 Graham 22 9 200

Results – Saturday, September 8, 2018

No skins game.

Player      H’cap    Gross    Net   Stableford   Winnings

  • Peter         12           92         80            28          (-230baht)
  • Jim S         31         108         77            31          (-230baht)
  • Bruce G      6           82         76            32          (-230baht)
  • 5Points     30         104         74            34            170baht
  • Graham    22          92          70            38            230baht
  • John P       13          82          69            39            290baht

Results – Thursday, September 6, 2018

Player       H’Cap     Gross    Net    Stableford   Skins  Money

  • Graham 22          113        91            17             0        (-250 baht)
  • 5Points 30           112       82            26              4        (-50 baht)
  • Bruce G 6             81       75            33              5     175 baht
  • Peter 12             91       79            26              2        (-150 baht)
  • John P 13             88       75            33             5   275 baht

Results – Monday, September 3, 2018

No skins game

Bruce G scored 37 points, (gross 77 with a 6 handicap).  5Points scored 24 points (gross 114 with a 30 handicap).

Results – Saturday, September 1, 2018

stb score Players hcap Skins Money
26 112 5Points 30 1 -180
26 113 Jim S 31 1.5 -145
34 92 Marc 18 2 -110
36 84 Peter 12 3 -40
41 81 John P 14 4 30
35 95 Graham 22 5.5 135
38 76 Bruce G 6 8 310


An Abundance of Fun

Before heading out to Waterford I took the time to read thefake newsfrom SMAF.  I found yesterday’s SMAF posting to be particularly amusing.  Three members (out of 16)  showed up to play golf in the rain.   Due to the wetness one left after 9 holes.

The report says :It is rare to get rained out and we did not, technically, get rained out today.  However, it was pretty darn wet out there.  Golf was played, however, and fun was had in abundance!”  My first thought after reading that was that “technically” they did not get rained out.   Two members decided to continue in the rain so they weren’t rained out?   That’s right up there with “technically” the signal to noise ratio allows for incorrect handicaps.  5Points scored a “measly” 24 points.   Does anyone believe that he played in the rain, scored 24 points and he had fun in abundance?

Much to my surprise I saw 5Points in the car park at Waterford.   I asked him if he was there to have an abundance of fun if it rains.   He smiled.

There were 5 of us playing together and 5Points was having a horrible day.  After 9 holes he managed a whopping sum of 7 points.   He left his scorecard with one of the players and walked off.   No handshake or goodbye to anyone and he didn’t leave the 100 baht competition fee.  This is someone who twice in the past few months lectured me on golf etiquette when all I did was walk to the next tee before everyone had finished putting out.  Apparently etiquette doesn’t apply to him when he is having a bad day.   

Many times he wrote on the SMAF blog that they go out to PLAY GOLF AND HAVE FUN.   We were all having an abundance of fun, why wasn’t he?    Perhaps because it wasn’t raining,  perhaps he saw what he calls a douchebag  or perhaps he doesn’t have fun unless he is the Dictator in control.   For whatever reason he once again showed lack of respect for his playing partners.

On a positive note, I started playing better after he left because the pace of play was much quicker.   He is slow to begin with and waiting for him to take 62 shots made it painstakingly slow. 

Can anyone tell me why a golfer that can’t hit a ball straight needs a rangefinder?  If you can’t hit the target why do you need to know how far away it is?

Updated Handicaps — Results Aug 18 – Aug 30

Updated Handicaps

I will be publishing the handicaps for all the members  and friends that have recently played twice a month.   All handicaps are peer reviewable.  All scores are recorded on this blog.  If anyone wants a listing of theirs or anyone else’s last 20 scores I will send it to them.  Only SMAF rounds played at Santiburi are included in the handicap calculation.   The course rating for all tees is as listed on the Santiburi golf course website.

Name Handicap Index Blue Handicap BS-hcp
Members: index (hcp)
Andrew 15.5 17 BS 18.5  (20)
Brian J 22.6 24
Bruce G 5.4 6 BS  5.6  (6)
Egbert 23.4 25 BS 23.9  (26)
Graham T 20.1 22 BS 20.8  (22)
Jim 31.5 34 BS  31.2  (34)
5Points 29.7 32 up 2 BS 30.1   (32)
John P 10.4 11 down 1 BS 12.4  (13)
Les 29.6 32 BS 29.6  (32)
Marc 17.8 19 down 1
Paul P 17.8 19 BS 18.7  (20)
Peter R 12.0 13 BS 11.5  (12)
Young 29.9 30 red BS 30 (30)
Steve 30.8 33 b 31 (29) BS 31.3  (34)
Bruce K 31.7 32 (30) BS 31.0  (31)
Darryl 15.6 16 (13)
Woody 5.4 6 BS  3.8 (4)
Colin 14.2 15 BS 14.0 (15)
Merv 28.5 29  (26) BS 27.9

For white tee competitions use your index rounded to the nearest whole number.

Darryl, Steve, Merv and Bruce K’s white handicaps are 16 / 32 / 29 / 32.   When competing against those on the blue tees they should use the number in brackets.


Thursday, August 30, 2018

Player           H’Cap    Stableford  Gross

  • 5Points           30              42             96
  • Graham          22              29           101
  • Peter               12              34             86
  • Bruce G            6              37             77

Results – Monday, August 27, 2018

stb score Players hcap Skins Money
27 112 Jim S 31 0.00 -250
27 103 Graham 22 0.50 -210
28 84 Woody 4 1.00 -170
28 110 5Points 30 2.00 -90
29 92 Peter 13 2.00 -90
39 75 Bruce G 6 5.50 190
38 84 John P 14 6.50 270
44 83 Marc 19 7.50 350

Results – Saturday, August 25, 2018

stb score Players hcap Skins Money
31 96 Marc 19 1.00 -190
26 95 Peter 13 3.00 -70
31 107 5Points 30 3.00 -70
32 90 John P 14 3.00 -70
38 77 Bruce G 7 6.50 140
37 93 Graham 22 8.50 260

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Player          HCap      Stableford Score      Gross Score

  • 5Points          30                    22                          116
  • Graham         23                   42                             89
  • Bruce G           7                   32                             83
  • Peter R           13                  32                             89

 Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Player          HCap      Stableford Score      Gross Score

  • 5Points          30                    26                          112
  • Graham         23                   38                             93
  • Bruce G           7                   32                             83
  • Peter R           13                  37                             84

Results – Monday, August 20, 2018

stb score Players hcap Skins Money
27 100 John F 19 0.50 -220
29 94 Colin 15 2.00 -130
31 100 Graham 23 3.00 -70
32 106 5Points 30 4.50 20
36 79 Bruce G 7 5.50 80
43 80 John P 15 9.50 320

Results- Saturday, August 18, 2018

stb score Players hcap Skins Money
32 91 Colin 15 4.50 -60
32 106 5Points 30 4.50 -60
30 108 Jim S 30 6.00 0
35 80 Bruce G 7 9.00 120

Peer Review #2

One of my objections to going to BIRDIE was that the members couldn’t be depended on to enter their scores correctly.   I was told that was OK because it was peer reviewable.

Below are scores that were on the SMAF blog and the scores a member entered into BIRDIE.

SMAF Blog Birdie
2017-09-25 94 94
2017-09-28 89 89
2017-10-12 90 90 gold not gold tee
2017-10-14 94 94
2017-12-28 97 97
2017-12-30 84 84
2018-01-04 89 89
2018-01-06 91 91
2018-01-08 83 83
2018-02-03 94 94
2018-02-05 82 82
2018-02-10 81 81
2018-02-12 90 81 wrong score
2018-03-05 94 94
2018-03-08 85 85
2018-03-10 86 missing missing score
2018-03-12 81 81
2018-03-15 82 82
2018-08-21 84 84
2018-08-23 89 89
2018-08-25 95 missing missing score
2018-08-27 92 92
2018-08-27 92 92 duplicated score

This wasn’t as bad as Peer Review #1 which is here.

My Final Thoughts on Handicaps

From the Santiburi Members blog — it’s been the headline since July 6th.

It’s coming…

…and Santiburi Members and Friends will be ready for the new World Handicap System, set to go live worldwide on 1 Jan 2020.

Here is also the text of an Instant Message chat between a SMAF administrator and Shane from BIRDIE:

  • SMAF Admin:Quick question: How will Birdie handle the changes coming with the World Handicap System coming on 1 Jan 2020?
  • Shane from BIRDIE: We’re already prepared, and have some of the rules already implemented.

Wow, what exciting news!   They will be ready.

My view is the World Handicap System will be great BUT only if the world which in this case includes Thailand accepts it and abides by the rules.  If the courses in Thailand haven’t been properly rated are they going to pay the necessary cost to do it? Why hasn’t the SMAF Admin asked Shane from BIRDIE why the Santiburi ratings are not the same as the published ratings?   Why hasn’t the SMAF Admin asked where the Happy City and Waterford ratings came from?   I’m guessing someone just made them up — maybe somewhat accurate or possibly way way off the mark.   How would we know? Why use BIRDIE?

 On May 24th SMAF announced the transition.  The stated goal for Santiburi Members and Friends is to “play golf and have fun”.  For years, we have been handling our handicapping “in-house”.  While it has worked, after a fashion, our current system is less than satisfactory for a number of reasons.  First, our scores and handicaps are not available for peer review. Second, it is a burden for the person designated as the Fairness Specialist to gather scores, calculate handicaps, and disseminate the handicaps to SMAF participants.  Most importantly, there are readily available alternatives that make our current system pale in comparison.  
How does BIRDIE help achieve the stated goal of “play golf and have fun”?  Does putting your own scores into a computer make your golf game more fun?   They claim the scores need to be available for peer review.  Over the past 3 months I have on numerous instances pointed out errors — were any corrected?  NO?   How many others have actually taken the time to review other scores or care?   They say it is a burden for the person designated to gather scores, calculate handicaps and disseminate the handicaps.  It takes a minute 3 times a week to enter the scores and possibly as much as 5 minutes every 2 weeks to put them on a blog.   Hardly a burden — and I have been doing it since they stopped.  How does BIRDIE make the handicaps I publish “pale in comparison”? 
Our handicap system is most useful for new SMAF participants (to initially establish their handicap), or for competitions with other golfers outside of SMAF, such as our annual community-wide tournaments (The Bernie, the Tony, the Canada Cup, The Community Cup, and others), and for competitions with other communities such as the Chiang Mai – Chiang Rai Cup.

Most Chiang Rai golfers are now aware that SMAF handicaps are now inflated due to BIRDIE.  How do you think it will go over when a SMAF member wins a competition by one stroke?

I emailed them and informed them that I was going public with the fact that BIRDIE is rubbish.  They responded by publishing my private email followed by a character assassination of me.   They said “Leo has advanced the following argument against transition away from his in-house system — SMAF members won’t/can’t update their scores or can’t be trusted to input them accurately, so their handicap will be wrong, and that will be unfair to other players.”  Have I not demonstrated that to be true?

 “There are over 2,000 subscribers to BIRDIE in Thailand.  That is a major vote of confidence in the BIRDIE system.”  There are over 2,000 subscribers to BIRDIE in Thailand.  After sampling the first 300 names I have found that 14% of them have ONLY the minimum 5 scores to get a handicap and that 58% of them don’t even have the 20 scores needed to get a proper handicap.   Hardly a vote of confidence when over half don’t have 20 rounds to enter.   I found 40% hadn’t entered anything during 2018 — apparently abandoned.  One had entered 129 scores up to Feb 2016 — none since — maybe he found a better way of keeping his handicap then again maybe he died.

 “To use Leo’s phrase, there is no way to know on any given day the “exactly right” handicap for any golfer with the skill level of the average SMAF participant.”  Exactly right is following the rules of the handicap manual, using the correct course ratings and inputting the correct scores. 

“We sincerely believe transitioning to an independent, portable, peer-reviewable system such as BIRDIE is far better than an in-house system that allows no insight into how the handicap is calculated.”   How is BIRDIE which uses incorrect course ratings “far better” than the in-house system that only accepted SMAF scores at Santiburi?   Since BIRDIE doesn’t give the course ratings I have “no insight” as to how the handicaps are calculated.  Do you?

I have demonstrated using actual statistics that several members have had their handicaps go up because of BIRDIE and have done better at skins because of it.   I have shown that a couple members have won fewer skins and done worse because they didn’t use BIRDIE correctly.  Would you say that BIRDIE is more fair?

The Administrators have claimed that BIRDIE is better but none of their claims have turned out to be true.  They have never explained why it was necessary.   It just seemed like a good idea at the time and they went with it.  They never bothered to ask the members if they wanted it and they haven’t asked if they think it is better.   There was the despicable attempt to baffle everyone with BS “When the range of likely scores is that wide, it becomes ridiculous to worry about whether a particular golfer’s handicap is 25.4, 24.8, or 23.4.  In technical terms, the “signal to noise” ratio is too great to fine tune the handicap to that level of detail.”  That statement shows a stunning lack of understanding of handicaps.  Ridiculous to worry about a 2 stroke difference?

I have chosen to accept the so-called “burden” of diligently and meticulously maintaining SMAF handicaps.  I have even offered to use any online service that SMAF prefers as long as only (correctly) rated courses are included in the calculations.   If they prefer I would set it up for them and they can do it (as long as it is done by only one person and done accurately).   Until then I will continue to be assiduous (which doesn’t mean I’m an asshole).

I was told in confidence by a member that this is extremely personal to the Administrators.   They would rather continue with rubbish handicaps than to admit they made a mistake.    Perhaps one day the members will realize that the Administrators are unable to put aside their personal differences for the good of the group.   Once they do their competitions will again be as fair as possible.

My Final Thoughts on Skins

A quick note:  I checked to see if playing in a small group (4 or 5) as opposed to a large group (10 to 13) made any difference.   Even though there is more money involved with the larger group it appears that group size doesn’t matter.

Assuming the handicaps are correct, all have an equal chance to win the 3 Stableford skins where the money goes to the two who had the best day.   For the other 22 skins you have an idea who is more likely to win the skin(s) because you do know who has a stroke (or 2) and who is more likely to get it closest to the pin on par 3’s.   If someone is “more likely” to win a skin then it isn’t random.

Luck is random and averages out in the long run.  You have no way of knowing at the start of a hole that you are going to beat the others by sinking a 40 foot birdie putt.   It is the randomness of luck that makes the Skins game fun.

The big question — Is the Skins game fair?    I have defined fair as having an expectation that all the golfers will neither win nor lose a significant amount over a period of time.   I was determined to show that Skins is grossly unfair.   To my surprise even though Skins has it’s flaws it is not grossly unfair.    It is most fair if all in the group have similar handicaps — not possible with SMAF.    It is reasonably fair if the group has a balance of good, average and poor golfers.   The more golfers there are with a similar handicap the more unfair it gets.  As shown in the last post with the numbers for Bruce and Woody that if another one or two excellent golfers showed up they would be competing for the same money and they would lose significantly in the long run.

Golfers with 30+ handicaps will get a few 3-pt holes and maybe a 4-pt hole or two.  One or two such golfers isn’t a problem.   If there are 3 or 4 of them you would probably find that it would seem like they were taking turns with their 4-pt pars and 3-pt bogeys and splitting up most of the money among themselves.

I was successful during my last month because the number of those with 19 – 24 handicaps is small.   Marc very rarely showed up and Graham wasn’t playing particularly well.   Had there been 2 or 3 more with similar handicaps I would have had more competition on the holes where I had the slight advantage and thus not done as well.   For exactly the same reason Marc did very well during the 2 months that I was away.

Our recent visitors did poorly because they all had similar handicaps.   Also, the transition to Birdie inflated SMAF handicaps by a stroke and sometimes two.   The visitors had little chance of breaking even.   For them IT WASN’T FAIR AT ALL.

My recommendations:

—  Handicaps have to be “exactly correct”.  Having an extra stroke does make a difference in a Skins game.

— Visitors and returning regulars should be given a 2 stroke bonus until they win.   Winning is fun.   Losing and feeling cheated is not.  You want them to return — not go elsewhere.

— Skins games should not be more than once a week.   As I previously ranted on Aug 9th Skins makes it easy to manipulate your handicap higher.  Balance that out with rounds where every stroke matters especially team games.


Skin Stats #2

Skins are fair, they don’t favour the high handicapper.”    Bruce has won 2136 baht over 68 rounds (average 31 baht/round).   One would then come to the conclusion that it isn’t a lie — low handicappers can win.   Analyzing Bruce’s totals he won 4600 baht on the par 3’s.   He is the by far the best golfer here and it is no surprise that he dominates the par 3’s.    New to the scene is Woody with a slightly lower handicap than Bruce.  How does that affect Bruce’s winnings?

Bruce (without Woody) :  37 rounds and a profit of 1986 baht (54 baht/round)

Bruce (with Woody) :  15 rounds and a profit of 150 baht  (10 baht/round)

Woody (with Bruce) :  15 rounds and a loss of 25 baht.

Woody (without Bruce) :  1 round and a profit of 210 baht.

Suppose another very low handicapper were to be added to the mix.   Would you not expect all 3 to struggle to win money at skins?

Moving to the high handicappers — My expectation is that they would break close to even on the Stableford and possibly make some money on the 18 holes.   I had to do a bit of work because things weren’t exactly as I expected and I needed to know why.    From the beginning I said that allowing scores from other golf courses is the equivalent of allowing urinating in the swimming pool.  Different courses which may or may not be rated correctly  mixing with Santiburi’s incorrect course rating in Birdie is a recipe for error.

rounds date money pins stable holes
52 5Points – pre July 20 -583 -1370 -422 1209
per round -5 -25 -7 27
9 5Points – after July 20 -725 -130 -250 -345
per round -81 -14 -28 -38
61 5Points – Combined -1308 -1500 -672 864
per round -21 -25 -11 14

What happened?   Before July 20th,  5Points as expected was making money winning skins on the 18 holes as well as nearly winning his share of the Stableford money.  He left Chiang Rai and played 6 rounds elsewhere and put the scores into Birdie.  Five of the six rounds he played elsewhere counted toward lowering his handicap.   It is possible that his game improved while he was away but judging from his scores since he has been back I would think not.  My guess is that the courses he played are rated properly where I know that Santiburi is not.    Unknowingly he manipulated his handicap lower and ended up losing more than his fair share.

rounds date money pins stable holes
10 Jim — before Birdie -175 -330 -200 355
per round -18 -33 -20 36
11 Jim — after Birdie -430 -420 -330 320
per round -39 -38 -30 29
21 Jim — combined -605 -750 -530 675
per round -29 -36 -25 32

Jim has not won any Stableford money since his conversion to Birdie.   Why?   He has made 2 mistakes which have him playing off 30 instead of 34 .   First, he has not entered his last 20 scores.  He has entered only 9 even though he has recently played 11.   If one of his first 9 rounds is better than the rest it will be the major influence on his handicap.  Second, I don’t think he is aware that his index is not his handicap and that he has to look up his blue tee handicap for Santiburi.   Playing about 4 strokes off your handicap will almost always take you out of the Stableford as well as killing your chances of winning 4 of the 18 holes.

rounds date money pins stable holes
19 Steve White tees -342 -630 -105 393
per round -18 -33 -6 21
6 Steve Blue Tees 590 -150 0 740
per round 98 -25 0 123
25 Steve all rounds 248 -780 -105 1133
per round 10 -31 -4 45

Exactly what I would have predicted.   A high handicapper playing off the correct handicap breaking about even in the Stableford and winning skins on the 18 holes.  From personal experience I have learned that it is best to play from the blue tees rather than giving up strokes to play the whites.   It worked for Steve as well.

Those in the middle:

rounds date money pins stable holes
51 Graham pre Birdie -3095 -1320 -105 -1670
per round -61 -26 -2 -33
19 Graham with Birdie -653 -580 -268 195
per round -34 -31 -14 10
70 Graham all rounds -3748 -1900 -373 -1475
per round -54 -27 -5 -21


rounds date money pins stable holes
14 Leo – pre Birdie -105 -420 -100 415
per round -8 -30 -7 30
7 Leo with Birdie 2868 350 610 1908
per round 410 50 87 273
21 Leo all rounds 2763 -70 510 2323
per round 132 -3 24 111

Since the adoption of Birdie, Graham hasn’t been doing near as badly.   My earnings increased substantially.   Marc hasn’t got a Birdie handicap and he has only played with SMAF 3 times since the group’s transition so there isn’t any way of knowing if Birdie has affected him.

Tomorrow I will answer the question.   Are skins fair?