# Figuring out your Disc Golf Handicap

LMAO at this nonsense! You For proof, look at the PDGA's woefully inadequate SSA system.

I am confused by the meaning of this. SSA for a course is determined each time a course is played, based solely on the scores of the propagators. There are no changes in calculation based on foliage, elevation, water, or other variables. It's not really inadequate, as a 970 rated player I know I am going to lose to a 990 rated player most of the time and beat a 950 rated player most of the time.

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I am confused by the meaning of this. SSA for a course is determined each time a course is played, based solely on the scores of the propagators. There are no changes in calculation based on foliage, elevation, water, or other variables. It's not really inadequate, as a 970 rated player I know I am going to lose to a 990 rated player most of the time and beat a 950 rated player most of the time.

You pretty much need to have an Actuary background or have similar logic as Sheldon Cooper to understand the different rating systems in the sport.

I am confused by the meaning of this. SSA for a course is determined each time a course is played, based solely on the scores of the propagators. There are no changes in calculation based on foliage, elevation, water, or other variables. It's not really inadequate, as a 970 rated player I know I am going to lose to a 990 rated player most of the time and beat a 950 rated player most of the time.

The confusion comes from disc golf and ball golf having two separate focuses for their rating systems. Ball golf measures a player against the course they are playing. Disc golf measures a player against the other players they are playing. Since disc golf doesn't factor in the course itself, there really is no need to have a course SSA for any course.

I've long been for the preference of eliminating other players' scores from my own rating calculation. It shouldn't matter if I'm losing by 10 strokes to a 1050 rated golfer or an 850 rated golfer. If I shoot a 50 on a particular course, in a specific layout, and under certain conditions then that 50 should always have the same rating (or very close to it). And I know what Chuck will say and that is the numbers aren't there to support player A scoring the same as player B if their ratings are far enough apart "it just doesn't happen" and "tournament pressure" is a real, calculable thing when it comes to player ratings.

Every kind of golf is a game and not a sport. Another players actions have no direct correlation to my actual play and should not have a direct correlation to my rating/handicap.

I've long been for the preference of eliminating other players' scores from my own rating calculation. It shouldn't matter if I'm losing by 10 strokes to a 1050 rated golfer or an 850 rated golfer. If I shoot a 50 on a particular course, in a specific layout, and under certain conditions then that 50 should always have the same rating (or very close to it). And I know what Chuck will say and that is the numbers aren't there to support player A scoring the same as player B if their ratings are far enough apart "it just doesn't happen" and "tournament pressure" is a real, calculable thing when it comes to player ratings.

Every kind of golf is a game and not a sport. Another players actions have no direct correlation to my actual play and should not have a direct correlation to my rating/handicap.

But the variation of a course SSA is usually less than one stroke in similar conditions and layouts, so you would essentially get the same rating each time. For example, over the past three years my home course has wavered right around 57, never even a full stroke different. The beauty of the PDGA system is that we just played a rated glow round, and the system adjusts for the different conditions without having to change anything.

Plus, I don't see the advantage of needing a handicap to compare your own scores, only when comparing yourself to others.

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Your assessment of different greens, grass, rough, environment and putting is spot on and what dgers who have no sense of the difficulty in traditional golf will ever understand.

I'm not a golfer---I only tried it a few times---and admit there's a lot I don't know.

But are golf courses really more varied than disc golf courses?

I think of the dozen courses around me and they're vastly different in size, setting, and almost every other aspect. There are 150' holes and 900' holes. There are wide open spaces and tight tunnels, and all manners of twists and turns.

I might average 53 on one course and 75 on another.

I'm sure golf courses vary far more than is readily apparent to me---but are some holes 8 times as long as others, or some courses twice as long, or do scores vary by 50% or more from course to course?

I don't disparage golf at all. In many ways it is superior. But it always seems to me that the sheer variety of courses is one characteristic where disc golf has a leg up.

You're never specifically playing against the course in ball golf nor disc golf. Get used to that and the rating process will make more sense. You're always playing against the course environment where the course is the primary component. The failure of ball golf to account for the environment is its Achilles heel. Everything that impacts your scoring (wind, lighting, rain, trees, snow, foliage season, pressure, money on the line) is accounted for in the propagator scores that produce the round SSA and ratings without needing to know how much each little element matters.

It's a fallacy to think your round rating is influenced by the specific players playing that round. You would expect to earn the same round rating with any other random group of propagators playing that day within the narrow statistical limits based only on the number of props playing, not their specific ratings. You're never playing against the other props but playing with them in the same environment. All the props are doing no matter who they are is producing an SSA value that measures the course environment that round. Each prop is essentially a yardstick roughly measuring the course environment via their rating and the score they throw. The more props playing the more precise the measurement.

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Plus, I don't see the advantage of needing a handicap to compare your own scores, only when comparing yourself to others.

Maybe it's more my mentality. When I'm playing a game like golf where I'm the only one controlling what I do then I would rather be able to determine how I'm progressing in skill compared to myself as I move around to different courses rather than the group of people that happen to show up that day for a tournament.

I'm not a golfer---I only tried it a few times---and admit there's a lot I don't know.

But are golf courses really more varied than disc golf courses?

I think of the dozen courses around me and they're vastly different in size, setting, and almost every other aspect. There are 150' holes and 900' holes. There are wide open spaces and tight tunnels, and all manners of twists and turns.

I might average 53 on one course and 75 on another.

I'm sure golf courses vary far more than is readily apparent to me---but are some holes 8 times as long as others, or some courses twice as long, or do scores vary by 50% or more from course to course?

I don't disparage golf at all. In many ways it is superior. But it always seems to me that the sheer variety of courses is one characteristic where disc golf has a leg up.

Depending on the ball golf courses that you go to a par 5 might be 600+ yards and a few holes later only a 110 yard par 3. So while not usually 8x as long but 6x is definitely something I've seen.

I think that disc golf courses HAVE to have so much more variety in shots simply because where your disc comes to rest is not actually where you have to play it. You pick it up and throw it again. That's what makes ball golf much more precise and difficult - having the grass just off of the fairway be 1" thick is much different than 2" thick. Imagine having your disc land a foot off of the fairway with no obstructions only beautiful green grass; but instead of being able to rip a 500' second shot you could physically only throw the next shot 150'. The other huge factor is the greens. You can't putt a ball into the hole past a certain speed or it will fly over it and keep going. In disc golf you can almost throw as hard as you want at a basket from 30' and still have a fair chance of the disc being caught.

As far as scores varying you won't have too much variation in ball golf since courses are more regularly laid out (4 par 5's, 4 par 3's, and 10 par 4's). While in disc golf you can have a pitch n' putt next to a 12,000' golf level course. disc golf course designers are more inclined to design a course however they want (which is fine with me and leads to some great courses)

It's a fallacy to think your round rating is influenced by the specific players playing that round.

That's precisely how the PDGA rating system apparently works (again - people that have asked to see the math behind it have not been allowed to so it's more akin to "take our word for it").

As you mentioned to me a long time ago the IN = OUT when it comes to ratings. Which means take any course and take 10 pros with an average rating of 1000. Their scores on that course will average a 1000 rating. Take the same course under similar conditions with 10 am that have an average 900 rating. Their average round rating will be 900. EVEN IF THEY ALL SHOOT THE SAME SCORE. I know what you're going to say, "in the real world it won't happen" but it doesn't have to happen. The fact that the math used to determine a round rating would LET it happen is evidence that there is a flaw in the way ratings are formulated.

Maybe it's more my mentality. When I'm playing a game like golf where I'm the only one controlling what I do then I would rather be able to determine how I'm progressing in skill compared to myself as I move around to different courses rather than the group of people that happen to show up that day for a tournament.

Depending on the ball golf courses that you go to a par 5 might be 600+ yards and a few holes later only a 110 yard par 3. So while not usually 8x as long but 6x is definitely something I've seen.

I think that disc golf courses HAVE to have so much more variety in shots simply because where your disc comes to rest is not actually where you have to play it. You pick it up and throw it again. That's what makes ball golf much more precise and difficult - having the grass just off of the fairway be 1" thick is much different than 2" thick. Imagine having your disc land a foot off of the fairway with no obstructions only beautiful green grass; but instead of being able to rip a 500' second shot you could physically only throw the next shot 150'. The other huge factor is the greens. You can't putt a ball into the hole past a certain speed or it will fly over it and keep going. In disc golf you can almost throw as hard as you want at a basket from 30' and still have a fair chance of the disc being caught.

As far as scores varying you won't have too much variation in ball golf since courses are more regularly laid out (4 par 5's, 4 par 3's, and 10 par 4's). While in disc golf you can have a pitch n' putt next to a 12,000' golf level course. disc golf course designers are more inclined to design a course however they want (which is fine with me and leads to some great courses)

Thanks.

Since some of you won't accept statistical realities, let's try another way. We're starting from scratch with no rating system like we were in 1998. How would you determine a fixed SSA for a course? It's easy to do the first one because you can make up a number as your starting point for that morning. Maybe it's just the course length divided by 100. While you played your morning round, the Park Dept after not being able to mow for three weeks mowed the grass on the holes right after you played. Now five pins are each moved 50 feet from their original positions. It's now afternoon and the clouds have rolled in with the wind picking up from 90 degrees different angle than the morning. It started to rain lightly for your last five holes. What's the SSA for your afternoon layout?

...I've long been for the preference of eliminating other players' scores from my own rating calculation. It shouldn't matter if I'm losing by 10 strokes to a 1050 rated golfer or an 850 rated golfer. If I shoot a 50 on a particular course, in a specific layout, and under certain conditions then that 50 should always have the same rating (or very close to it)....

That's what par is for.

That's what par is for.

That is true but only in ball golf using the USGA handicap system because ball golf courses have a set course rating for all courses. Par doesn't work for setting an SSA in disc golf because the SSA is re-figured each time there is a tournament at a course and only for that particular round of that particular tournament.

That is true but only in ball golf using the USGA handicap system because ball golf courses have a set course rating for all courses. Par doesn't work for setting an SSA in disc golf because the SSA is re-figured each time there is a tournament at a course and only for that particular round of that particular tournament.

I thought you said you were "for the preference of eliminating other players' scores from my own rating calculation". To do that, you need to a number that is tied to the course, not how it plays that day. That's par.

Par has nothing to do with setting SSA. SSA is what the average scratch player scored that round. SSA would usually be near or a throw or two over par (if par is set correctly), but SSA could be much higher than par in bad weather.

Of course, not all courses have correctly set par yet, but that's a different matter.

I thought you said you were "for the preference of eliminating other players' scores from my own rating calculation". To do that, you need to a number that is tied to the course, not how it plays that day. That's par.

Par has nothing to do with setting SSA. SSA is what the average scratch player scored that round. SSA would usually be near or a throw or two over par (if par is set correctly), but SSA could be much higher than par in bad weather.

Of course, not all courses have correctly set par yet, but that's a different matter.

I am for the elimination of other players having any affect on my rating whatsoever. I probably made little actual sense with my last few posts as I was typing them at work while having to listen to web presentations.

Yes, courses need to have assigned "par" or ratings. Those assigned ratings can vary based on conditions and layout just as they do with ball golf. I really, REALLY think tournaments should only be played on approved tournament level courses just like they are in ball golf. But I will say that there are a lot of top pros (past and present) that are getting more involved with designing new courses and a lot of communities are looking into having well designed courses installed and old ones redesigned, so things are looking up in that respect.

The chances of a useful system of par, universally agreed upon and applied, are pretty remote.

The chances of a useful system of par, universally agreed upon and applied, are pretty remote.

For all courses for anytime you want to play - no. But with the data that the PDGA has on tournaments over the years I'm sure it can be done with a certain number of courses and layouts. Maybe 20% of courses (and ones that don't have current SSA of like -13).

My general point is that a better system can be made with the data that the PDGA has, but it really seems like they don't want to do it and they don't want to share it with PDGA member (that fund the PDGA) so that they can do it.

My general point is that a better system can be made with the data that the PDGA has, but it really seems like they don't want to do it and they don't want to share it with PDGA member (that fund the PDGA) so that they can do it.

A better system for what? Can you define the problem that you want to solve?

We have a system for determining an SSA for courses, and a system for rating players. Yes, there are some quirky aspects, but given there is significant variability in courses that is to be expected.

Someone suggested only using data for "approved" courses that met some sort of criteria when compiling data, and while that would reduce the variability what sort of system do you suggest?

The chances of a (1) useful system of par, (2) universally agreed upon and (3) applied, are pretty remote.

Step 1 is complete. Step 2 has begun. Step 3, for all tees signs everywhere.... uh.

Step 1 is complete. Step 2 has begun. Step 3, for all tees signs everywhere.... uh.

Step 1 is complete, in multiple versions. Which is part of what makes Step 2 so difficult. You're more optimistic than I, but if Step 2 were to get done, Step 3 might not be too tough.

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