Playing Conditions Calculation: Were There Outstanding Conditions The Day You Played?
In late 2022 and early 2023 a fair number of Score Differentials™ were impacted by the automated playing conditions calculation (PCC) as part of the World Handicap System™ formula. While this procedure was originally targeted to impact approximately five percent of possible daily course/rounds, it was modified via a rounding procedure on Jan. 1, 2023, to target approximately 10 percent of daily rounds. The abnormal weather that our region recently went through combined with the change in rounding procedure resulted in an increase in PCC being applied versus prior years.
PCC determines whether playing conditions on the day differ from normal conditions to the extent that an adjustment is needed to compensate. The daily statistical procedure compares the scores submitted by players on the day against expected scoring patterns.
Course Rating™ and Slope Rating™ are essential in the determination of Score Differentials, but they’re based on normal playing conditions, while the difficulty of a golf course can vary substantially from day to day due to course conditions, weather conditions and/or course setup.
Thus, the need for a PCC check and balance exists.
If the PCC calculation procedure determines that acceptable scores submitted are in line with expected scoring patterns, then no adjustment is made.
The calculated adjustment is dependent upon:
▪ Whether significantly fewer players than anticipated attained their expected score and, consequently, conditions are determined to be harder than normal.
▪ Whether significantly more players than anticipated attained their expected score and, consequently, conditions are determined to be easier than normal.
The playing conditions calculation (PCC):
▪ Is generally performed only once for a day.
▪ Considers acceptable scores submitted on a golf course each day and requires at least eight acceptable scores to determine if an adjustment is required.
▪ Includes only acceptable scores submitted by players with a Handicap Index of 36.0 or below.
▪ Equals zero if fewer than eight acceptable scores are submitted.
▪ Can determine an adjustment of -1.0, 0.0, +1.0, +2.0 or +3.0 and is applied to the calculation of Score Differentials for all players.
It is important to note the determination of PCC is based upon scores posted the day they were played, as the analysis is done just after the stroke of midnight. If an individual or a club waits until another day and backdates scores to reflect the correct date of play, it is not considered in the determination of whether PCC applies. However, a score listed with the date of a day where PCC does exist will have the Score Differential adjusted by the PCC, regardless of when the score was posted.
A player can see if PCC has been applied to any of their Score Differentials by looking at their scoring record. On GHIN.com there is a PCC column, while on the GHIN Mobile App there is a PCC reference for each score right after the Course Rating and Slope Rating. Both golfer products include an “i” with a circle info icon that one can hover over to get a brief explanation of PCC.
For those inclined to learn more, Rule 5.6 in the Rules of Handicapping is entitled, “Playing Conditions Calculation.” The SCGA.org WHS Hub, which can be accessed through the learn tab, Handicap sub-section, includes the Rules of Handicapping and a Table of Contents of topics, including items specific to PCC.