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Could We Be Playing Match Play All Wrong?

When you've played in a handicapped match play event, how did they deal with playing against a lower handicapped opponent? As the higher handicapped player, did your opponent give you the difference between your handicaps as strokes? If so, you were likely playing at a disadvantage.


On the GOLF.com podcast, Martin Puterman from the Univ. of Britsh Columbia discussed his group's findings on how handicaps affect match play outcomes. Surprisingly, after almost 400 player rounds and over 70,000 simulated rounds, they discovered over 53% of lower handicap players win their matches using the aforementioned format. This results in a 6% edge for the lower handicapped golfer, greater than most casinos' house edges. However, if the matches were played to each player's full handicaps, it was nearly a 50-50 split.


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