Handicap Tracker Revised

Earlier this week we received a forum post requesting an update to the formulas we use for the handicap tracker (Read the post here). TheLocalGolfer.com strives to be as accurate as possible with the information we provide on our website. As such, we have updated the handicap tracker to reflect the official USGA handicap formula.

For those who do not know the exact science behind the calculation of your handicap, this is how it works:
1] An accurate handicap calculation requires a minimum 20 eligible scores entered in your handicap tracker. An eligible score includes an entry with a score, course rating and course slope.
2] Your handicap differential for each score is calculated as (Score – Course Rating) x (113 / Course Slope).
3] The Average of your lowest 10 handicap differentials are multiplied by 96%. This value is then truncated to the nearest 10th to formulate your handicap index.

Although you need at least 20 eligible scores for your “true” handicap to be calculated, the Handicap Tracker on TheLocalGolfer.com will still generate your handicap even if you have less than 20 scores, but please note the following:

1] If you have less than 20 eligible scores entered into the handicap tracker, your calculated handicap will be based on the last 10 eligible entries.
2] If you have less than 10 entries the handicap tracker will still calculate your handicap index, but it will not be very accurate.

If you are not using the handicap tracker already please try it out and tell us what you think.

Tiger Tracker

Tiger Woods surprised the golf world on Thursday by announcing that he will be playing in The Buick Open next week. A move that potentially will have him playing in three consecutive PGA Tour events. The WGC-Bridgestone follows the Buick Open and the PGA Championship follows the WGC-Bridgestone.

This years’ Buick Open will be held at Warwick Hills Golf Club in Grand Blanc, Michigan, a place very familiar to Woods. He has played there eight times in his career and won twice.

Woods is looking to rebound from last weeks Open Championship, where he missed the cut for the first time in over three years. He has played in ten events since returning from knee surgery and has only played in back to back events once and finished in the top ten in both events. You have to go back to 2007 for the last time he played in three consecutive events, where he finished second in one and won the other two.

Tango with the Amish at Tanglewood Manor

The first things that come to mind when I hear the word “Amish” are Pennsylvania Dutch farmers markets and wood furniture.  However, after driving past numerous horse-drawn carriages and farms en route to Tanglewood Manor Golf Club, I will forever associate excellent course conditions and a great golf experience with the Amish.

Tucked away in the heart of Amish Country in South Central, PA is Tanglewood Manor Golf Club.  It’s just a little more than an hour ride heading north from Baltimore and even closer to the southern parts of Delaware & New Jersey.  Last winter I was driving through Lancaster County and had stopped by to check out the course; one look from the road at the beautiful green fairways was all the motivation I needed to make plans to revisit, and I sure am glad that I did!

For better or for worse, Tanglewood’s practice facility is located a short distance from the clubhouse and course.  Personally I appreciate this type of layout, especially when you consider that the facilities have capacity to accommodate 50 golfers on the tees and 30 golfers in the grass chipping & putting areas.  It’s also important to note that the range is appropriately covered and open 7 days a week, so it’s open even for the dedicated golfers who don’t mind practicing in the rain.

Tanglewood Manor is not an extremely long course, playing 6,400+ yards from the tips.  However, it makes up for the shorter distance with pristine conditions, an extremely friendly staff with an “aim to please” approach, and an excellent pace of play clocking 4 hours and 15 minutes.  On this particular Saturday, my group was able to finish in just over 4 hours, which included a 10 minute lunch break at the Gallery Grille.

The best word to describe this course is “consistent”.  From tee to green through all 18 holes, it was rare to find an issue with anything condition-related.  Designed by George Fazio, the course awards players for staying on the fairway, but is nice not to punish players too badly for being erratic off the tee.  In fact, I was able to play with the same ball the entire round, and trust me, the fairway and I were not friends on this particular day!

Two holes that I really enjoyed playing were the Par 3 13th and the Par 5 17th.

Hole #13, Par 3
Hole #13, Par 3

Number 13 is an elevated green that is 220 yards from the tips, but plays more like 235 with the wind and an uphill climb factored in.  From a purely visual perspective, this hole is fantastic with a rock-face anchoring the back of the hole.  Golfers benefit from a large putting surface, but need to be wary of the minor undulations which will influence the path of your putts.

Hole #17, Par 4
Hole #17, Par 4

Number 17 is Tanglewood’s signature hole.  From the tips you are 386 yards to the green, but the hole plays a little shorter as the tee boxes are elevated a good 40+ feet above the very narrow fairway.  Starting from the far left is a large stream that gets smaller as it stretches the length of the fairway.  A solid 3-wood or Driver will keep you clear of it, but going too far brings the forestation in the deep right-center into play.  After wandering down the steep slope to get ready for your approach shot, you stare at a deceptively large green.  Be careful not to put too much distance on your approach as balls will run off the back portion of the green, turning your hopeful birdie opportunity into a tough par save.

Overall, my round at Tanglewood Manor was one of the best golfing experiences of the 2009 season.  The course is consistently in excellent condition and provides an outstanding value for any public golfer.