Bowling needs a new handicap system

Posted by: Ron A.

Bowling needs a new handicap system - 01/22/09 01:47 PM

The handicap system that is currently used, abused and locally modified within the current system of bowling is broken and worthless.

With that said the USBC need to put some serious though in to fixing this problem. Other sports (most notably golf) have a centralized and uniform system for handicapping and the USBC would do well to emulate that type of system.

The current USGA system takes into account several factors in determining a handicap and some of these are:

Score in relation to par
Difficulty of the course as identified as a slope rating
What teeing ground you play from which effects the slope rating
And several other mathematical calcualtions
Based upon you best 10 scores of the last 20.

You post you scores in a computer which then uses a mathematical calculation to determine your handicap. There is also a chart for adjusting you handicap if you where to go play a different course.

So what you say! All of the above can easily be converted over to bowling.

Score in relation to par – USBC would determine what “par” would be in relation to a specific pattern. Since the majority of houses today have computerized scoring your sanctioned league score would automatically be entered into the system.

Next would be the difficulty of the pattern. The pattern difficulty number would be provided by the surface machine company after the USBC has tested it with their new bowling robot. This (these) numbers would be entered into the computer by the house and would include the time the pattern was put down.

The lane type would be a constant and can be confirmed during annual lane certification. For all intensive purposes the lane itself are pretty close and if you wanted to you can even add another variable of wood or the various synthetic lanes.

With this scenario (which I will freely admit needs to be refined) a calculation can be developed that could put together a realistic handicap that can equitably be used house to house. This would also help in setting up flight leagues because a handicap would be based upon the 10 best games you have bowled out of the last 30. This would help eliminate some of the sandbagging because 10 of the last 30 would not be one house dependant.

What do you think?
Posted by: sk8shorty01

Re: Bowling needs a new handicap system - 01/22/09 03:27 PM

The problem with this idea is that the lane surfaces play such a huge role in how the lanes play. Not only that but what type of oil is being used? How is the oil machine applying this oil? What are the average weather conditions in the area during that time? What type of pins does the center have?

I understand where you are going, I just think that coming up with a system that would take into account the variences in difficulty from center to center would be virtually impossible.
Posted by: General Pounder

Re: Bowling needs a new handicap system - 01/22/09 03:35 PM

On top of that, you would need buy in from the cost cutting USBC and bowling alleys. Even with a uniform handicapping system, there would still be people who would find a way to cheat the system.
Posted by: cgeorg

Re: Bowling needs a new handicap system - 01/22/09 03:39 PM

Joe Slowinski came up with a way of measuring slope/difficulty. It was in a BTM a couple years back. I don't see the article on his site. It took into account things like pin material and age, lane material and age, oil pattern ratio, etc.
Posted by: sk8shorty01

Re: Bowling needs a new handicap system - 01/22/09 03:49 PM

Wow really? I had no idea. I just think people who look to abuse the system will always find a way to do it, no matter how hard you try to stop it. I am sure that their are plenty of golfers that sandbag as well. I would think taking a book average for a whole year would prevent sandbagging much better than the 10 best of last 20 thing as it would be easy to go in a screw up 20 games to get a low average, then bowl in a tourny and win. Bowl 20 games bad in league again, and so on.
Posted by: Ron A.

Re: Bowling needs a new handicap system - 01/22/09 03:54 PM

I think that you put to much into the multiple variables on the oil. In golf the course is in a constant state of change from the wind, weather, grass growing or just cut, location of the pin, and the location of tees. I aggree that the oil patterns can be a little differnt due to the factors that you list, but if you base it on the known pattern and a time variable that it has been on the lanes the other factors will have a minimal impact over the 10 of 30 games you will need bowl.

IF, and I know it is a big if, the USBC was to take the time to do this it would be totally voluntary for the centers to join the system. But if the only way you could get a recognized average was to use this system a lot of leagues would push the local houses to adopt this system.

You cannot play in a USGA Open event without a USGA handicap that meets a certian level AND has been certified by the local pro and as a result most courses have a USGA handicap system in the proshop. Local courses also use this sytem to set up flight level tournaments and league.

If a reasonable and equitable system could be put in to place I think that in the long run it will help the league system and improve the particiapation and competiton at local tournaments because you can set up true handicap type tournaments.

And for comparision I am a 9 handicap golfer, but if I were to play a scratch golfer I would have a hard time beating them unless I shot lights out. It would be very close and I might win in match play, but heads up stroke play I would lose a majority of the time. The differnce between bowling and golf handicaps is that most people trust a golf handicap, most people are very wary of a bowling average/handicap.
Posted by: Ron A.

Re: Bowling needs a new handicap system - 01/22/09 04:02 PM

Originally Posted By: sk8shorty01
Wow really? I had no idea. I just think people who look to abuse the system will always find a way to do it, no matter how hard you try to stop it. I am sure that their are plenty of golfers that sandbag as well. I would think taking a book average for a whole year would prevent sandbagging much better than the 10 best of last 20 thing as it would be easy to go in a screw up 20 games to get a low average, then bowl in a tourny and win. Bowl 20 games bad in league again, and so on.



I think that the number of games can be worked out during the development process.

As for sandbagging in golf, yes we have them but those people do not normally play in tournaments because they would be noticed right away.
Posted by: leftykev

Re: Bowling needs a new handicap system - 01/22/09 05:13 PM

This is a good idea in principal, but could not be applied to bowling since you would have to change the way you score a bowling game.

There is not a positive/negative scoring system in bowling, like there is with golf, thus trying to apply golf type handicapping, based upon a positive or negative score, will not work. And, you could never come up with a handicapping system that makes it fair for every bowler, since you would end up penalizing the higher average bowler, by subtracting from his score, so the lower average bowling would have a higher score.

I think you understand what i'm saying. USBC admits there is no way to use handicapping to make it 100% fair.
Posted by: Ron A.

Re: Bowling needs a new handicap system - 01/22/09 05:37 PM

Yes you can use a positive and negative system. It works fine in golf. In golf if I am a 9 handicap and I am playing Tiger Woods who is approximately a +10 handicap our scores would be something like:

Me at 83-9= 72 and on the same course TW 62+10 and we would effectively tie ( I know. It only and example I would shoot like 92 if I had to play a round with him)

In bowling I bowl a 185 with a +20 handicap = 205
Walter Ray Williams JR bowls a 290 on the house shot with a -30 handcap and he scores a 260 and still wins.

All handicap systems will never be perfect and regardless of whether you just add pins to the lower score or subtract the pins from the higher score you are still making a mathematical change to a final score. I doesn't change what you actual shot just adjusts it. WRW still shot a 260.

Also, if you can make adjustments to lane conditions (which the USBC was able to put an number to) like we do for the sport patterns then they are admitting that it can be done

If the USBC says it cannot be done they are just lazy and as for fair there will never be a perfect system I am just interested in an equitable system.
Posted by: leftykev

Re: Bowling needs a new handicap system - 01/22/09 06:15 PM

Actually, USBC has tons of bowling league sheet data, which shows, that no matter what you make the handicap percentage, the higher average "teams" in a league almost always win the league over the lower average teams. The percentage is like 70% or higher.

This holds true for the leagues that apply negative handicapping as well.
Posted by: Ron A.

Re: Bowling needs a new handicap system - 01/22/09 09:25 PM

I do not think that the reason behind a handicap system is to make it such that lower average bowlers would win all the time, but just to make scoring more equitable so that the lower average bowlers can bowl in a format in which they can either play against others at the same level or have a slight chance of winning from time to time. You want to beat the higher average bowlers you need to practice.

Considering the comments I've seen in several forums that I visit everyone complains about the multiple handicap systems that leagues use, but when it comes down to actually looking at ways to improve the system all I here is "it won't work because the better bowlers will win in the long run"

Well DUH! That happens in most sports including golf that have a handicap system and if you didn't know they also have a handicap system in billards/pool. In pool the better players usually win also. Why? because they practice and are better!

If the USBC can put as much effort into the handicap system as it put in to the ball research and they actually formulated a system that uses research and actual statistical input the USBC might actually be able to put together a system that everyone will actually use. They might actually be able to design a system that is fair to the high average bowlers and equitable to the low average bowlers.

Until that day comes we will not even take ourselves serious unless we are bowling scratch. To do otherwise is foolish because handicaps today mean very little.
Posted by: leftykev

Re: Bowling needs a new handicap system - 01/22/09 11:46 PM

Handicapping is about leveling the playing field between the lower average bowler versus the higher average bowler. Bowlers with the same or near the same aveage don't need the same handicapping system.

I agree with you! But, this game (not sport) is a game of chance, like pool or darts or horse shoes, that requires a level of luck, that practice can eliviate.

But, what you are talking about is leveling the bowling playing field between the lower average bowlers and the higher average bowlers. The only way to level the playing field is to penalize the higher average bowler by taking pins away and giving to the lower average bowlers, meaning you are penalizing the higher average bowlers for having a better bowling game, no matter why they have a better game.

It won't work. It's about being realistic, not pesimestic. The reality is a national tour golfer will NEVER be able to complete, no matter what handicap you give him, against the top tourinng golf professfionals, simple because the touring exempt pros are several levels above national tour golfers.

What you keep saying is you want a bowling negative handicap option with bowling, and that will never fly with the higher average bowlers because they have earned their higher averages, be it with a better understanding of equipment, better understanding of lane conditions, or just plain old hard work and practice. I will not and no one else will stand for having my score reduced just so a lower average bowler can have a chance. If he/she puts the time in and and learns how to earn a higher average, then they deservce the privledge to complete against higher average bowlers. No one gets a free ride!
Posted by: Smooth23

Re: Bowling needs a new handicap system - 01/23/09 01:39 AM

Haha yeah pool does have a handicapping system, except in league pool play serious players are always sandbagging to avoid being bumped up a level and to keep themselves in amateur tournys, etc.
Posted by: Atochabsh

Re: Bowling needs a new handicap system - 01/23/09 02:02 AM

The fact is that I have NEVER seen a bowler that could NOT get better. That being said, those that want handicap to make them equal or better without the benefit of hard work, should not be in competition no matter how small that competition is.

Its all a matter of how bad you want it. Those that want to improve do. Those that do not, want handicap to pick up the slack. So the two factions are forever apart.

Bowling centers want to fill houses. So they have leagues that "welcome everyone" no matter the skill level. That's really the problem. Not enough bowlers at each level to support the center in their own leagues. If you made everything scratch and just had divisions then you'd have less populated leagues at the top level. And then you'd have higher skilled spouses that wanted to bowl with their lower skilled spouse but couldn't, due to the tier levels.

So that leaves bowlers to join whatever league they can fit into. Some 200+ bowlers cannot compete in the highest scratch leagues. Some 130 avearge bowlers feel intimidated whenever they have to compete against a team with no one under 170. So the handicap system tries to level the playing field. A good example is our Wed league. We were in roll off for 1st and 2nd for the 1/2. We gave over 300 pins handicap per game on the most notoriously bad pair in the house. We lost all 4. So we dropped from 2nd to 5th, but we have over 10,000 more total pins then 1st place. That's handicap.

Erin
Posted by: Dennis Michael

Re: Bowling needs a new handicap system - 01/23/09 05:52 AM

Couple of years ago, there was a discussion at the USBC Convention to have all handicaps based off 300. 300 was used cause there is NO such thing as PAR in bowling, but there was perfection. The only league variable would be the % applied to the average difference.

Guess it stayed in discussion.

Can you imagine a 5 man team with 200 averages having a 500 pin cap?
Posted by: General Pounder

Re: Bowling needs a new handicap system - 01/23/09 09:20 AM

I don't like the idea of negative handicap for higher average bowlers. It encourages them to keep their averages lower.

I like a handicap system where it is based on the difference of the 2 teams averages. Then for the end of the year awards, you have a handicap system in place so people can win awards that aren't scratch.
Posted by: Ron A.

Re: Bowling needs a new handicap system - 01/23/09 09:48 AM

I spent the night think about this a little more and I believe that we need to look at a couple of items a little more closely.

The first is a bowlers average. A 220 avg bowler on you average house shot is good. Put that person on the shark pattern and they would have a very hard time averaging above 200.

So averages mean absolutely nothing in bowling. It is an ego thing. You tell me your a 220 bowler first thing I would ask, Is that a sport pattern average?" If you responded No! I would say nice, and understand that is is good for a house bowler, but in no way am I impressed.

If we had a real handicap system (Plus minus doesn't matter) and you told be you had a 15 handicap and 15 related to a 200 bowler on the PBA tour I would be impressed because I do not need to know where you bowl, what type of shot you bowl on, what type of lanes you bowl on or how big you ego is. I immediately know you are actually good and I would be impressed.

The second point of a handicap system is not to take points away from anyone or give points to someone. It is away to allow those of lesser ablility to play in a format that is equitable and fun for both while at the same time being competitve.

Handicap leagues should be able to provide that type of entertainment. Various players of various ablity having competitive fun together.

If you are a good player and you want a league you will always win in then start your own and set up the handicap system like they do today to favor a specific level of team and go play.

If you want to play against players of differnt levels in a manner that will test your skills and ablities then the USBC will need to develope a new handicap system.

Do I expect the USBC to do anything? NO! Why? They have not show the resolve to do anything to govern the game and improve the sport. Checking the balls is a start. Governing the lane oiling regardless of what the houses want would be next (Do you think the USGA and the R&A actual care about what the course owners or the club manufacturers want when they put together rules) and then putting together a true handicap system would be next.

And they won't do anything unless the membership pushes them to do it.
Posted by: sk8shorty01

Re: Bowling needs a new handicap system - 01/23/09 10:17 AM

I just think that the handicaps as they are set right now do everything you are asking for. You say you don't trust anyone's averages in bowling, but if you took those same numbers that people have right now and made it a USGA type handicapped system, those same sandbaggers are still at a lower level than what they actually should be. Therefore no matter what numbers you add or subtract or whatever you want to do, the sandbaggers will always be at an advantage.

I will say that some times it seems like its tough to cover 300 pins of handicap, but you do have to remember that the lower team has to cover that 300 pin difference just the same. Considering most leagues run a 90% of the difference type handicapped system, if every player shot average the higher average team still wins. As far as individual handicaps go, most handicaps are based on 90% of the difference of average and 220. This of course only in the positive with no negative numbers appliied. This gives a high average bowler an enormous advantage as they are not penalized for having a high average, they just get no handicap. So lets say a 230 average bowler enters a tournament and bowls their average 230 for the game. Now another bowler with a 210 average in the same tournament bowls a 220. They still lose even though they shot 10 over their average and the other bowler shot his or her average exactly. I don't think the handicapped system is all that bad, and I don't think there will ever be a way to eliminate the people that are chasing pins. They will always be there, and I don't see why what we have isn't just as fair as the USGA handicapped system.
Posted by: bdgf06

Re: Bowling needs a new handicap system - 01/23/09 11:07 AM

Shorty, I agree with you that no matter what system you setup, people will find a way to work it to their advantage. The only solution I see is to discourage those abusers from joining your leagues or bowling in your tournaments.

USBC bylaws (Rule 319c) allow for averages to be re-rated for tournaments, and the all encompassing "Management reserves all rights" clause in most tournaments' rules that you agree to when you sign the entry form. You might lose a couple entries but overall the atmosphere might be much better if they were actually read, understood, and used effectively.

As far as leagues go, allegations of sandbagging and abuse falls under misconduct or conduct detrimental to the sport and the league in particular. Rule 114-115 allows for someone to give a written complaint to the League President or other officer, which requires a hearing on the matter and can dismiss the member from the league. It is a little work and may stir the pot a little, but its another procedure that if used effectively it can help that problem as well. I was very close to invoking these rules on more than one individual in the past two weeks.

I'm sorry I am sounding like a rule-thumping idealist but I've been peeved with some antics in one of my leagues and my home center closing I mentioned in another topic. So I apologize if the tone of this post is a little strong.
Posted by: leftykev

Re: Bowling needs a new handicap system - 01/23/09 11:44 AM

Originally Posted By: General Pounder
I like a handicap system where it is based on the difference of the 2 teams averages. Then for the end of the year awards, you have a handicap system in place so people can win awards that aren't scratch.


I bowl in a league that uses this type of handicap system. The handicap is 100% of 235, which is the book average of the highest average bowler in the league. I didn't understand the concept when they first started, but see now it's benefit. As GP states, when 2 teams bowl each other, the team with the lower team average gets that difference in pins, as team handicap.

This past monday, my team bowled a team with a slightly higher team average 936 versus 896, giving us 40 pins team handicap a game. We happened to win all 4 because we were able to match the other team scratch. But the week before, we had to give opposing team 150 pins, resulting in losing all 4 games, because our 5 bowlers could not bowl over our averages to make up the difference.

In this league, the higher average teams do not have an advantage and the 3 years this has been in effect, the lower average teams end up winning 1st place. The higher average teams end up in the middle of the pack. This is a 32 team league and the bowlers keep coming back because it's about as fair as you can get.

------------------------
As I mentioned in a previous post, I do believe you could come up with a handicapping systems for tournaments, with individual bowlers, and am open to the idea
Posted by: Ron A.

Re: Bowling needs a new handicap system - 01/23/09 12:58 PM

Originally Posted By: leftykev
As I mentioned in a previous post, I do believe you could come up with a handicapping systems for tournaments, with individual bowlers, and am open to the idea


I would love to develope a new system, but that is what the USBC is for. They are the only group that has the information, resources, and back ground to put this together.

If they would like to hire me to manage this process I would love to do it. I would be happy to forward them my salary, team members, equipment and resourse requirements that I think would be nessesary to do this. With the right budget I think I could complete this in approximately 12 to 18 months.
Posted by: bryhardt

Re: Bowling needs a new handicap system - 01/23/09 03:44 PM

I don't have any real problems with the handicap system, be it 80%, 90% or whatever. What I have a problem with is the people that abuse the system. I talked to USBC IT to see about setting up a national tournament database that would be easy for other bowlers and tournament directors to look up bowlers and see past tournament history., Then it falls on the Tournament Directors following through entering in results.

A good start would be if TDs would enter the bowlers in their tournament that make say more than 500 bucks. You would report earnings, average, number of games, PBAX or not. I could setup this system in a day, but I was wanting a way from USBC to validate tournaments by verifying the certification number and tournament directory information to avoid fraudulent items in the database.

The other item that annoys me personally about handicapping is tournaments (state,association for example) that require scratch bowlers to enter the handicap division, then the handicap first place series ends up being over 900. Scratch bowlers are forced to enter when they are completely shut out. Let the scratch bowlers bowl in their own division and make handicap an optional entry.
Posted by: Silent Mike

Re: Bowling needs a new handicap system - 01/23/09 05:04 PM

I wish there was a way to blend scratch and handicap together. I am not a fan of handicap leagues I'll say that right now. I work hard at what I do, I don't feel as though I need to work extra hard to even the playing field. That being said I have bowled and will bowl in both. On my scratch league we had 2 points per team game won (3 games), 1 point total wood and 1 point for each individual game won and 1 point for total pin fall against the person you were lined up against (1st bowler vs 1st bowler and so on down the line).

I'd like to find a way to incorporate both. If I have to give up pins as a team then lets still use that head to head point system. This way you can still win some points on a night where a low average team has a great night because honestly those are the nights you are powerless to do much even if you are on. I've lost all points many a night on ridiculous handicap alone not competition or skill.

On a side note one thing that irks me is no tap tournaments that are handicapped. Isn't the ability to get a strike when you hit 9 pins enough? I suppose it's not. I shot 900 one tournament and came in 3rd place, handicap did me in.
Posted by: asdfg68plus1

Re: Bowling needs a new handicap system - 01/23/09 05:54 PM

I'll add my two cents.

I think that there should be more leagues like my morning youth league I bowled in a few years ago. What they did was had three different divisions, broken up by average, that way you were bowling against people on your skill level and I'm sure there was handicap, but since you were in divisions with relatively the same average, a 200 average bowler couldn't lose to a 120 average bowler, and it was more even within the divisions. Yea, I'm sure if they did this in an adult league, there would be people that sandbag, but since it was a youth league, most of us didn't worry about winning and cheating was the last thing to come to mind unless our parents told us to or something.
Posted by: Atochabsh

Re: Bowling needs a new handicap system - 01/23/09 08:31 PM

The problem with that system is that you cannot bowl with friends unless you are all of similar skill level. In adult leagues this means that most spouses would not be able to bowl together.
Posted by: Calvin Pistorio

Re: Bowling needs a new handicap system - 01/23/09 08:36 PM

Originally Posted By: Silent Mike
I wish there was a way to blend scratch and handicap together. I am not a fan of handicap leagues I'll say that right now. I work hard at what I do, I don't feel as though I need to work extra hard to even the playing field. That being said I have bowled and will bowl in both. On my scratch league we had 2 points per team game won (3 games), 1 point total wood and 1 point for each individual game won and 1 point for total pin fall against the person you were lined up against (1st bowler vs 1st bowler and so on down the line).

I'd like to find a way to incorporate both. If I have to give up pins as a team then lets still use that head to head point system. This way you can still win some points on a night where a low average team has a great night because honestly those are the nights you are powerless to do much even if you are on. I've lost all points many a night on ridiculous handicap alone not competition or skill.

On a side note one thing that irks me is no tap tournaments that are handicapped. Isn't the ability to get a strike when you hit 9 pins enough? I suppose it's not. I shot 900 one tournament and came in 3rd place, handicap did me in.


I've heard of some ideas and actual leagues that blend scratch and handicap. They are draft leagues where the bowlers are separated according to averages and then placed on teams to try to keep parity of the teams. Then if the difference of the team averages are over a certain amount handicap is applied. Of course the hard part with getting people involved in a league like this is they want to bowl with their friends, family and so on.

As for handicap in no tap, I agree considering the handicap is usually based off of non-no tap average.
Posted by: wuphat

Re: Bowling needs a new handicap system - 01/27/09 01:23 AM

My daughter and I are in a P/C league (non-sanctioned). She is the highest avg for girls and I am the highest avg for mens. The handicap sys in our league is 90% of the difference between the two teams. We bowl very well against other teams with good bowlers, but we get KILLED by low avg teams. I'm at about 190 and she's about 135 (at 12 years old). The problem is, we have kids that avg in the 50s and some adults with sub 100 avgs.

As many of you probably know, it is way easier for a 50 or 95 avg bowler to get 40 or 50 pins over avg than it is for me or even my daughter.

Two weeks ago, we bowled against a team where their combined avg was 195, so we gave up 117 pins a game. I threw a 620 and my daughter threw a 425 and we lost every game.

I really wish we'd go to a sys that is based off of 210, the 90% of the difference really hurts the better bowling teams in our league.
Posted by: Brian Longo

Re: Bowling needs a new handicap system - 01/27/09 01:49 AM

My dad and I bowled in an Adult/Child 8 week league when I was a senior in HS. We killed the league because it was 90% of 200 and I averaged 206 while my dad averaged 214. Next highest average for youth was 123. For adult was 144. We essentially were getting anywhere from 15-40 sticks because we were above the base. And yes, people were upset, but hey, we worked hard to average over 200. FYI, if you're over the base, technically you're getting sticks. wink

Any handicap system will be imperfect. Someone will get punished. Sometimes it's the lower average bowlers, sometimes it's the higher average bowlers. But usually when the "hotshot high average je rk" starts running his mouth about "I'm tired of getting beat by lower average bowlers", I take pride in pointing out 2 things; one, their average is usually inflated by the ridiculously easy lane conditions and two, they were once a beginner with a ton of handicap themselves. In short: SHUT UP AND BOWL! Quit your whining and do the best you can.

If I have the option of a scratch league, I take it. I just get tired of the whining and sandbagging that generally goes on in handicap leagues. If I'm in a handicap league, I'll assemble a seemingly non-competitive, "just for fun" team and bowl for pure fun, otherwise, I'll flip my lid at the stupid drama and utter b.s. that takes place in those leagues, and it's just not worth it.
Posted by: BisNDbowler

Re: Bowling needs a new handicap system - 01/27/09 01:55 AM

Nice point. This is my first year bowling seriously and my average is mid 140's. The problem is with my fairly rapid progression I'm shooting mainly 170-190. This is a good advantage for my league team, but the unfairness came in tournaments last week. I cleaned house with my huge handicap, and it was unfair. I ended up splitting bracket profits with the 2nd place guy to clear my mind a bit. Even if I'm the beneficiary, I don't feel good about this kind of advantage, it's just not right.
Posted by: untutored

Re: Bowling needs a new handicap system - 01/27/09 02:05 AM

I don't know if I'd call 100% handicap leagues fair. Usually, lower-average bowlers find it much easier to improve over the course of the season--at the end of the league, most of the 115 bowlers end up as 130 bowlers, but they're still handicapped as though they're 120 bowlers.


I was in a league two years ago that was scratch with a max team average of 830. Not that it's foolproof, but that's one way to blend scratch and handicap formats.
Posted by: Brian Longo

Re: Bowling needs a new handicap system - 01/27/09 02:13 AM

Originally Posted By: BisNDbowler
Nice point. This is my first year bowling seriously and my average is mid 140's. The problem is with my fairly rapid progression I'm shooting mainly 170-190. This is a good advantage for my league team, but the unfairness came in tournaments last week. I cleaned house with my huge handicap, and it was unfair. I ended up splitting bracket profits with the 2nd place guy to clear my mind a bit. Even if I'm the beneficiary, I don't feel good about this kind of advantage, it's just not right.

Enjoy it while you can because soon you will be on the other end of things. No need to be apologetic - it's called "the natural progression of life." I'm sure at some point in time that other bowler was cleaning house when he was improving. I did my housecleaning in junior bowling travel league when I went from a conventional grip plastic ball (with my 126 average with 36 games just before Christmas) to my fingertip LT-48 and finished the season with a 161 average for 84 games (my average over the last 48 games was about 187) and shot about 5 600 series in the last 16 weeks. And because of my improvement my team won the travel league championship which, in our area, was a big deal because there were 20 teams representing 7 different bowling centers.

But it's your conscience, man, and it's not for me to say whether you did the right or wrong thing. I'm just telling you that I would've kept the spoils because you earned it by getting better - it wasn't "dumb luck" or anything like that.
Posted by: Atochabsh

Re: Bowling needs a new handicap system - 01/27/09 02:41 AM

A lot of tournaments have a 10 pin re rate rule. You have to rerate yourself if your current average is 10 pins or more higher then your book. This happened to me. But in tournaments that didn't call for that, I cleaned up. It lasted one year, until my average evened out. So I agree with Brian. Everyone seems to have a year in this state. Enjoy it and when you can (according to the rules) take advantage of it.

We used to have a monthly 10 gamer at one of our local houses. I was rerated twice there. But kept on bowling and kept on cashing, eventually it evened out. Another center had a monthly 8 gamer on a different weekend and I bowled that once and was told "do not come back". Didn't have to worry to much since the center closed within 6 months.

Erin


Posted by: Calvin Pistorio

Re: Bowling needs a new handicap system - 01/27/09 07:21 PM

Originally Posted By: untutored
I don't know if I'd call 100% handicap leagues fair. Usually, lower-average bowlers find it much easier to improve over the course of the season--at the end of the league, most of the 115 bowlers end up as 130 bowlers, but they're still handicapped as though they're 120 bowlers.


I was in a league two years ago that was scratch with a max team average of 830. Not that it's foolproof, but that's one way to blend scratch and handicap formats.


I bowled in a mens league for a couple of seasons that was 100% of team difference. It also used a 7 point system, 1 point per a game scratch and handicap and 1 for total. Both years the top average teams were near the top. The second year the high average team won both halves to win the league outright. As long as there is no sandbagging the high average team is always at an advantage. They are more likely to hit average on a consistent basis. It's true the low average bowlers have more room to improve but the higher average bowlers are more likely to make their average on a consistent basis.
Posted by: NewEnglandBowler

Re: Bowling needs a new handicap system - 01/28/09 03:05 PM

my morning juniors league is 90% of 200, one point for each game and one point for total fall, no split divisions except one separate for the bantams.

last year, my team which was the second highest average team on the league, won the first half by beating the lowest average team, who was ahead by 3 points going into the position round week, for all four points. this year, after a 30-18 first half for 5th place, we are 10-2 the first three weeks of the first half and in second place.

maybe this is an exception, but the high average teams don't have a problem against low average teams in our league. Next year i believe i am "graduating" to the adult leagues, so it will be interesting to see how that works.
Posted by: 30 Clean

Re: Bowling needs a new handicap system - 01/28/09 03:41 PM

Personally, I don't think a new handicap system is needed but rather a way to police the people who are abusing the system. I've bowled with people who kept their averages artifically low so they could get extra handicap in tournaments. For example, one guy would consistently average around 160 in league play but shoot well over 200 in tournaments. I couldn't count the amount of times he cashed big-time because of that.

You would think with computer technology there would be a way to monitor someone's tournament scores vs. their league scores and see that they consistently shoot much worse in league play and clean up in tournaments.
Posted by: Calvin Pistorio

Re: Bowling needs a new handicap system - 01/28/09 06:46 PM

Originally Posted By: 30 Clean
You would think with computer technology there would be a way to monitor someone's tournament scores vs. their league scores and see that they consistently shoot much worse in league play and clean up in tournaments.


The issue is having everything reported. Most leagues only turn in end of year averages and those don't show up until USBC updates them and rarely do tournaments report scores to anyone unless it's an honor score. Some do keep records to keep track of those that have bowled in the tournament before and some will re-rate, but most just don't care as long as the entry fees are coming in.
Posted by: bdgf06

Re: Bowling needs a new handicap system - 01/29/09 01:01 PM

My league on Monday nights has an innovative solution to the problem of equality in league play.

First, we have a 30 week season that is split into two 15-week halves. For the first half, last season's second half average is used for returning bowlers. Sponsors who bowl in the league are put on their team, and everyone else is divvied out (including team captains) so that the total team average to start out is within 1-2 pins of each other for each team. This process is repeated for the second half, using the first half averages of bowlers to do the same process.

Benefits:
This allows all teams to start off on relatively equal footing and there is no handicap in the league (it is basically a scratch league) and includes bowlers of all levels in the league. Nearly every year each half is still up for grabs and down to the wire in the last week, even last game of the half. This is exactly what happened last half.

Cons:
The teams are changed around each half, so people probably would need to get used to the idea of switching teams.

While this isn't a 100% solution for everybody it is a creative idea, and since the handicap system is not used at all and all skill levels of bowlers are still included and have an equal chance of winning, you are not discouraging lower-level bowlers from participating.
Posted by: Dennis Michael

Re: Bowling needs a new handicap system - 01/29/09 06:09 PM

The real problem with handicap is that it attempts to lump all bowlers together. A 100 bowler is roughly equaled to a 220 bowler by something called a handicap. But, it may only be 90 or 80% of the difference. So, it is never equal. Why don't we structure leagues so like averages bowl against like averages. Let's say, all under 160 bowl in the same league. Then 160 to 190. And, 190 and above.

Granted, there may not be enough bowlers to structure complete leagues in all Houses. But, it is another way to think of it.

I know my racketball league is structured this way, and it works pretty well.
Posted by: Calvin Pistorio

Re: Bowling needs a new handicap system - 01/29/09 07:43 PM

Originally Posted By: Dennis Michael
The real problem with handicap is that it attempts to lump all bowlers together. A 100 bowler is roughly equaled to a 220 bowler by something called a handicap. But, it may only be 90 or 80% of the difference. So, it is never equal. Why don't we structure leagues so like averages bowl against like averages. Let's say, all under 160 bowl in the same league. Then 160 to 190. And, 190 and above.

Granted, there may not be enough bowlers to structure complete leagues in all Houses. But, it is another way to think of it.

I know my racketball league is structured this way, and it works pretty well.


The simple answer to the red text is people want to bowl on teams or in leagues with friends and family, many who are of vastly different skill levels. Getting a few leagues like this might be possible but converting the majority of leagues to this is going to be pretty much impossible.
Posted by: Dennis Michael

Re: Bowling needs a new handicap system - 01/29/09 08:00 PM

I hear you Cal. And, at the same time I hear teams of 150 bowlers constantly complain about the team with all the top bowlers on it. Handicap in itself, just doesn't cut it, especially when there is only 80-90% calculated.

Then, if you go the other way of 100% difference, the better bowlers complain.

I guess the only time I don't hear complaints are in the few leagues around here where the team scratch average has a cap. 4 bowlers at 840 max or the like. At least there is parity and little to no complaining.

I know a couple of years ago, I was taken off a team because my sanctioned average put that team over the cap. As the newest bowler, I was the one to leave.
Posted by: Calvin Pistorio

Re: Bowling needs a new handicap system - 01/29/09 08:28 PM

Yeah, I'd like to see more parity in all leagues to at least minimize the use of handicap, but there will still be sandbaggers that try to exploit the system. The only scratch leagues I've seen around me are usually summer Sport/PBA leagues and those are usually singles that many lower average bowlers get into for the fun of it.

I like the idea that bdgf06 describes and I've heard of it before, but again it comes down to get enough bowlers that don't have an issue of bowling with someone they might not know. I wish there was one like that in my area, I'd give it a shot.

On the topic of percentage though even at 100% I still see the top teams more often than not be at the top of the standings, but I prefer something more around 90%. My current league is 80%. To me it should serve as a reason for one to improve to make the field level based on their skill not because they get so many pins added to their score. On both sides of the issue the bowlers need to know it is a handicap league, or tournament and that they are entering it as such. The higher average bowlers shouldn't complain when they lose based on handicap and the lower average bowlers shouldn't complain because they lost to someone with greater skill despite the handicap.
Posted by: Jock

Re: Bowling needs a new handicap system - 01/30/09 03:15 AM

In France the system is based on your tournament average. Once you have over 21 games tournament play under your belt, then the league scores are registered just for information and all handicaps are based over your tournament average (calculated by the French Bowling Federation over the last (slidng) twelve months). It seems to work OK.
Posted by: dmoney298

Re: Bowling needs a new handicap system - 01/30/09 07:29 AM

Well we are talking a handicap system. With that being said, there is no way to make it perfect. Someone will have an advantage and someone will have an disadvantage. The closest you can get is to have a league based on average. They only problem you have there is you classic sandbagger and we all know it will happen. Someone mentioned the 7 point system with a point for scratch and handicap. I have bowled in a league like that. It only works in a league with balanced averages because once you get a team on 190 bowlers matched up with a team with 130 bowlers, the better team gets points just for showing up essentially. When you join a handicap league, you know going in what can happen. If you cant handle the possible advantages or disadvantages there then you may as well go join another league. Its all supposed to be about having fun, so as the saying goes, shut up and bowl.
Posted by: Dennis Michael

Re: Bowling needs a new handicap system - 01/30/09 08:32 AM

Dmoney, agreed. The multiple point or head to head system only works when the teams are balanced. Our leagues here usually cap the scratch averages at 840 for a 4-man team. Every week, the team rotation is structured from lowest average first to highest average as the anchor. In this manner, a bowler bowls against an opponent of like average. Our lowest against their lowest, etc.

The payout is also structured for team points and head to head points for individuals, so holding your average down doesn't help, since to do that, you lose individual payouts. It is not uncommon for a lower average bowler to get more points over a higher average bowler, and a higher payout.

This is also a handicapped league based on 90% of 220.

But, this doesn't help the Social League where friends and family bowl together. One family always has better bowlers than another.
Posted by: sk8shorty01

Re: Bowling needs a new handicap system - 01/30/09 09:07 AM

Dennis, we have a handicapped league that you are going for 28 points a night that sounds similar to your layout. 3 person teams with a cap of 645. There are 2 points given for each game as a team, and each game individual (bowl straight across). There is also 1 point for total pinfall for team and individual. The handicap is 90% of the difference in individual averages, same with the team averages. The best part is the team with the lower average coming in can re-order their members in any way they want. This puts a lot of advantage into who you want to bowl against who. For instance the lower average team has a 200,205,210 on the team. The higher average has 195,195,235 so to give themselves an advantage the low average team could lineup as 205,210,200. This means both the first two are giving pins, but not very many, and the last person (which will be at a disadvantage no matter what) will be at least given quite a bit of handicap. The lower average team would most likely lose that last individual game so putting the low average bowler there means if they lose its ok, but it does give a chance of getting a break based on handicap. I really like the setup like that.
Posted by: Dennis Michael

Re: Bowling needs a new handicap system - 01/30/09 09:26 AM

I guess the difference is that there is more money paid to an individual for his points won, then that same person can get for team performance. In that case, I wouldn't want to be the 200 bowler slotted against the 235.

Top payout went to the bowler who won the most head to head matches, and whose team also won the league. He got over $2000 for the year. Most of his money was won in head to head.

Posted by: sk8shorty01

Re: Bowling needs a new handicap system - 01/30/09 09:52 AM

Yeah in the league I am talking there is no head to head bonus money, its all strictly a team money pool. Therefore the lineup change doesn't actually hurt anyone's overall money. Its all in it for the team, and the more points you can rack up the better.