Game of Cards
A hole’s handicap ranking tells you how to play it
ver look down an unfamiliar hole and have no idea what to do? Here’s a hint: Go to the scorecard.
The handicap number assigned to a hole represents its di culty relative to the other holes on the course from 1 (hardest) to 18 (easiest). If your own handicap doesn’t cover it – suppose your handicap is 12 and you’re on the fourth handicap hole – that’s a clue to play the hole more conservatively.
According to the statistics, you’re not supposed to reach that green in regulation. Time to guard against making a big number.
Conversely, if your handicap is lower than that of the hole, look at its features with more con dence. Chances are you can execute the shots required for a solid par. Take the 15th at Cherry Creek Country Club in Denver ( illustrated), which my son Jack and I co-designed. This 313-metre double dogleg presents many options, but its handicap of 16 suggests more golfers should play it aggressively. Do you qualify? – WITH MAX ADLER