Club golf competitions are regular events arranged by golf directors (or professionals) for club members. Player skill levels are measured by their USGA or R&A handicaps and it is the job of the director to use the handicaps to organize teams that are, in some sense, fair. The handicap system is limited in that it does not take the variance of players’ scores into account. Our service uses an optimization models that employ the handicap distributions from a study by Siegbahn and Hearn 1. Our model derives team probabilities to win from those of its players. The computational complexity of the model grows exponentially with the number of players. Using scenario optimization, with approximations, the implemented model is shown to give good results for up to 40 players in reasonable computer time. More information on the implemented model can be found in the article by Pavlikov, Hearn, and Uryasev 2. The most detailed description of the algorithm used by this web site to compute fair teams, along with an illustration of how to use it, can be found in the work of Benincasa, Pavlikov, and Hearn 3.

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The probability distributions that we used are reported in the table that follows.

Distributions of Scores on a Par 4 Hole by USGA Handicap
Score on the Hole
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