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timebomb

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Reply with quote  #1 

Hi, folks, 

Greetings from Singapore. I've been bowling in many different leagues in Singapore for many years and recently when I found out how the handicapping system works in the USA, I was shocked. Because it is so different from the one used commonly in Singapore.

Please correct me if I'm wrong but from what I've read in the USBC rules, the base figure for handicapping could be as high as 230 over where you are. And the percentage used could be 85% to 100% of the difference between the bowler's average and the base figure. The USBC also advises against leagues adopting rules to limit handicap. In other words, if a bowler averages 150, his handicap would be (230-150)x0.85=68 pins.

Honestly, it's little wonder to me I read lots of complaints of your handicapping system from USA bowlers in this forum as well as others.

In Singapore, the handicap base figure is usually set at 190. Now, I seriously don't think this is because our standards of bowling here are lower and even if it is, I don't think it's much lower. The best bowler in my league averages about 220 and there are about 7 or 8 bowlers who average above 200. Also, the ladies in the Singapore National Bowling Team have won several big-time tournaments in the USA in recent years. In other words, we aren't that louzy. So if that's what you are thinking, a difference in standards couldn't be the reason we use a far lower figure as our handicap base.

Here, the percentage used to calculate handicaps is usually set at 50% for men, 70% for ladies and senior citizens. And all handicaps are subjected to caps. So if a Singapore male bowler averages 150, his handicap would be (190-150)x0.5=20 pins. If the guy is a senior citizen (aged 60 and above), his handicap would be (190-150)x0.7=28. But handicaps for male bowlers are capped at 25 pins. So that's the maximum handicap anyone would get, no matter how low is his average. 

The funny thing is, as it is, the high-average bowlers in Singapore often complain that our handicap system is too generous to the weaker bowlers. I can't imagine what they will say if they realise how yours work. 

The point of my post is this - the more generous the handicap system is, the more likely bowlers will tend to sandbag their scores. This is not to say we don't have sandbagging in our leagues but I don't think it would be as bad as yours. In my league, we have quite successfully eradicate sandbagging after tweaking the rules for several seasons. Now, handicaps are carried forward from one season to the next and handicaps are calculated based on 32 games although each bowler plays only 4 games on each league night. 

In closing, I would say your handicapping system is overly-generous. Instead of motivating bowlers to improve, it would only encourage sandbagging. Ours is too stingy and the weaker players feel they have no chance at all when they meet the strong bowlers. Somewhere in the middle would be perfect, I think. 

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bowlersensi

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Reply with quote  #2 
Quote:
Originally Posted by timebomb

Hi, folks, 

Greetings from Singapore. I've been bowling in many different leagues in Singapore for many years and recently when I found out how the handicapping system works in the USA, I was shocked. Because it is so different from the one used commonly in Singapore.

Quote:
Please correct me if I'm wrong but from what I've read in the USBC rules, the base figure for handicapping could be as high as 230 over where you are.

The scratch base figure is not limited to 230, it could be anything.

(Note: The Rules don't actually state a limit to the base figure, It's just assumed if there was one, it would be 300. Because that's the highest average a bowler could theoretically could get the way averages are calculated.)

Most recommend though the scratch base be anything higher than the highest average on the league. Example if a player had a 240 average on the league the base figure should be anything higher than 240 examples: 245 250 260 300.

Quote:
And the percentage used could be 85% to 100% of the difference between the bowler's average and the base figure.


The rule (100g. Handicap ) say's "The percentage shall be 100 percent, unless otherwise provided by league rule. " This means the league can set the percentage to anything they want. It's not limited to 85% to 100%

(Note also the rules actually don't specify what handicap system a league or tournament has to use, they can use any system. The one you see in the rulebook is just the most common used.)


Quote:
The USBC also advises against leagues adopting rules to limit handicap. In other words, if a bowler averages 150, his handicap would be (230-150)x0.85=68 pins.

Honestly, it's little wonder to me I read lots of complaints of your handicapping system from USA bowlers in this forum as well as others.

In Singapore, the handicap base figure is usually set at 190. Now, I seriously don't think this is because our standards of bowling here are lower and even if it is, I don't think it's much lower. The best bowler in my league averages about 220 and there are about 7 or 8 bowlers who average above 200. Also, the ladies in the Singapore National Bowling Team have won several big-time tournaments in the USA in recent years. In other words, we aren't that louzy. So if that's what you are thinking, a difference in standards couldn't be the reason we use a far lower figure as our handicap base.

Here, the percentage used to calculate handicaps is usually set at 50% for men, 70% for ladies and senior citizens. And all handicaps are subjected to caps. So if a Singapore male bowler averages 150, his handicap would be (190-150)x0.5=20 pins. If the guy is a senior citizen (aged 60 and above), his handicap would be (190-150)x0.7=28. But handicaps for male bowlers are capped at 25 pins. So that's the maximum handicap anyone would get, no matter how low is his average. 

The funny thing is, as it is, the high-average bowlers in Singapore often complain that our handicap system is too generous to the weaker bowlers. I can't imagine what they will say if they realise how yours work. 

The point of my post is this - the more generous the handicap system is, the more likely bowlers will tend to sandbag their scores. This is not to say we don't have sandbagging in our leagues but I don't think it would be as bad as yours. In my league, we have quite successfully eradicate sandbagging after tweaking the rules for several seasons. Now, handicaps are carried forward from one season to the next and handicaps are calculated based on 32 games although each bowler plays only 4 games on each league night. 



I don't believe anyone here thinks bowlers from there or from any other countries are lousy bowlers compared to the US bowlers. But the lane conditions used are or can be vastly different between the US and other countries. Which affects the averages in our respective countries and that plays into the handicaps used.

The low handicaps you have there are similar to the ones we had here years ago, But conditions and equipment changed over the years. This made bowling easier and averages went up for everyone, So handicaps increased in a effort to maintain parity between the high and lower average bowlers.

Quote:
In closing, I would say your handicapping system is overly-generous. Instead of motivating bowlers to improve, it would only encourage sandbagging.


Many feel that way here also and is part of the never ending discussion about handicaps and sandbagging.

Quote:
Ours is too stingy and the weaker players feel they have no chance at all when they meet the strong bowlers.


and Many here feel that way too and is part of the never ending discussion about handicaps and sandbagging.

Quote:
Somewhere in the middle would be perfect, I think. 



There will most likely never be a handicap in the middle one that everyone (high and low average) considers "fair, only a handicap that neither side is happy with.

And as for sandbagging, it doesn't matter what system is used. Someone will always find a way to game the system.


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timebomb

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Reply with quote  #3 

Thank you so much for your reply, bowlersensi. 

Quote:
The scratch base figure is not limited to 230, it could be anything.

I'm aware of that but 230 is such a high figure to me I thought I'll use it as an example. In Singapore, the highest handicap base figure I'm aware of is 200 although we have quite a fair number of bowlers whose averages are higher than that. I like to understand a bit more about how the handicapping system works in your leagues but it's hard for me to find the information. So I would appreciate it very much if you (or anyone) can post a copy of your league rules here for me to read. I also like to find out if your leagues are about the same as those we have here, in the sense what sort of bowlers participate in your league? Are they bowlers who practise several times a week and take the game seriously? Or are they just bowlers who are in it for the fun of the game? Here, the leagues I participate in have all sorts. We have old folks and young people. We have bowlers who are so serious about the game they practise constantly and would even pay for coaching. We have bowlers who don't care much for the game but see it as a social activity. And then you have people like me, who love the game and are constantly trying to improve but have neither the time to practise nor the money to pay for coaching. I average about 180, by the way and my handicap (based on 190 as a base figure and 70%) is 7. I don't stand much of a chance when I play the 200+ average guy but then, I don't think a handicap system should give me an equal chance. It wouldn't be fair because I do believe a high-average should have its rewards, in that it takes quite a lot of practice and dedication to achieve that. A good handicap system should, in my opinion, give the weaker bowler a slight chance so in order to win, either I have to bowl above myself or the other guy bowls way below his normal. And occasionally, I have won against high-average bowlers. In any case, the game of bowling is such even the pros occasionally get very low scores, like how Jason Belmonte only scored 148 pins in his recent game in the US Open stepladder finals. 

Quote:
I don't believe anyone here thinks bowlers from there or from any other countries are lousy bowlers compared to the US bowlers. But the lane conditions used are or can be vastly different between the US and other countries. Which affects the averages in our respective countries and that plays into the handicaps used.

Please forgive me if I had given you that impression. I wrote that I didn't think bowling standards here are lower than the USA because that was the first thing a friend here said to me when I showed him the USBC rules on handicapping. He claimed your standards are far higher, hence the high handicap base figure. As for lane conditions, I don't know if there's a vast difference between the US and Singapore but I can assure you bowlers here complain of the oil all the time. 

Quote:
And as for sandbagging, it doesn't matter what system is used. Someone will always find a way to game the system.

It used to be I feel the same way too. But as I said in my first post, my league has quite successfully eradicate sandbagging by tweaking the rules over several seasons. Because sandbaggers don't sandbag all the time. They want to score high games to win points too, especially towards the end of the league. The trick, I think is to discourage or make it futile to sandbag at the start of the season. And we did this by insisting all bowlers bring their handicaps forward from one season to the next. The problem of course is with new bowlers but they are few in number. And when most do not sandbag, it becomes sort of a culture. 

timebomb

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Reply with quote  #4 
Sandbagging is like an infectious disease. When a bowler sees another bowler sandbag, he feels he has no choice but to do the same too. And in no time, almost everyone sandbags.
avabob

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Reply with quote  #5 
High average bowlers have complained about the handicap forever. They would complain if it was 10%. Sandbagging is an issue no matter what the system, as long as prize money is involved. The only change I would make to the current system for league would be to base handicaps on the most recent 21 games.

Bottom line, dont bowl handicap to make money. Do it for the competition.
CObowler

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Reply with quote  #6 
Quote:
Originally Posted by timebomb

Here, the percentage used to calculate handicaps is usually set at 50% for men, 70% for ladies and senior citizens. And all handicaps are subjected to caps. So if a Singapore male bowler averages 150, his handicap would be (190-150)x0.5=20 pins. If the guy is a senior citizen (aged 60 and above), his handicap would be (190-150)x0.7=28. But handicaps for male bowlers are capped at 25 pins. So that's the maximum handicap anyone would get, no matter how low is his average. 




Age and gender should have nothing to do with a handicap.

I am stunned to find out Singapore practices a clearly discriminatory system for bowling handicaps.
Oldbowler

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Reply with quote  #7 
Careful what you assume about older bowlers.  At 70 I carry a 203 average in my Senior league on the same shot as any other league in the house.
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mrbowling300

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Reply with quote  #8 
Quote:
Originally Posted by timebomb
Sandbagging is like an infectious disease. When a bowler sees another bowler sandbag, he feels he has no choice but to do the same too. And in no time, almost everyone sandbags.


My leagues have the drop 10 rule, where your average can be no less than 10 pins less than the prior years average to prevent sandbagging.
timebomb

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Quote:
Careful what you assume about older bowlers.  At 70 I carry a 203 average in my Senior league on the same shot as any other league in the house. 

I assume nothing. I don't set the rules in Singapore. I was just describing them. But take note that if you're a Singaporean, your handicap will be zero as our base handicap figure is set, at the most, at 200. Which brings me to a point I want to discuss - I'm of the opinion the base handicap figure should never be set above 200. Because 200 is sort of special in bowling. You can't reach that score unless you string at least 2 strikes in a row or you strike on every alternate frame. But more importantly, if you can average 200, you don't need a handicap. You can, on your good day, beat anyone. 

Quote:
The only change I would make to the current system for league would be to base handicaps on the most recent 21 games. 

Why fix it at 21? My league base handicaps on 32 games. But whether it's 21 or 32, your suggestion should help to discourage sandbagging.

Quote:
My leagues have the drop 10 rule, where your average can be no less than 10 pins less than the prior years average to prevent sandbagging.

Good rule, I would say. My league did consider something similar but we found it was easier to simply base handicaps on 32 games and to require all bowlers to carry their handicaps from the last season to the next.

timebomb

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Reply with quote  #10 

Quote:
Age and gender should have nothing to do with a handicap.

I am stunned to find out Singapore practices a clearly discriminatory system for bowling handicaps.

Funny you should say that. Please see USBC Rule 100g/5

avabob

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Reply with quote  #11 
My suggestion on using most recent 21 (32) games wasnt directed so much at sandbagging. A better approach to sand baggers would be to follow the golf approach. Base handicap on the best 50 % of games, throwing out the low half.
Dare

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Reply with quote  #12 
Have a rule the bowlers average can't drop more than
ten pins of his book average for the season. That would
stop a little bagging

bowlersensi

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Reply with quote  #13 
Quote:
Age and gender should have nothing to do with a handicap.

I am stunned to find out Singapore practices a clearly discriminatory system for bowling handicaps.


Quote:
Originally Posted by timebomb

Funny you should say that. Please see USBC Rule 100g/5



And your point is what?

USBC Rule 100g/5 states:
5. A handicap game or series shall not be capped unless otherwise provided by league rule. If a
 league adopts such a rule, a game or series cannot be capped below the highest possible scratch
 score.

That rule just says a league can make a rule that places caps on games or series and the cap can't be less than the highest possible scratch score. (Typically that would be a 300 game and a 900 series, which we actually have that in our league rules)

Next we have the CAQ:

Commonly Asked Questions – Rule 100g.
100g/5 Must all players in a league be handicapped equally?
 No, the league may adopt a separate handicap for males and females or, in an adult/youth league, may choose to adopt a separate handicap for the adults and youths. When a league chooses to adopt separate handicaps, its rules must specify how the handicap will be applied to all participants.

Now the CAQ just say's a league can have handicaps based on gender, it doesn't say you should do it (plus it doesn't say you shouldn't). Also it dosen't really address age, it just address those in adult/youth leagues.

While there were times in the past, when age and gender were a factor in determining handicaps, vacancy scores etc.. That's pretty much gone away now. The easier conditions and high tech equipment have pretty much leveled the playing field.

Age or Gender for the most part are not a indicator of a bowler's ability or skill level.




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timebomb

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Reply with quote  #14 

Quote:
Age or Gender for the most part are not a indicator of a bowler's ability or skill level.

The fact that the USBC does not forbid separate handicaps for youths and women indicate this practice is not just peculiar to Singapore. So I don't see any reason why you were so stunned to find out my league does this. And the fact that you thought it was discriminatory. Come on. You sound like the guy who would complain loudly when the ship is sinking and they let women and children into the lifeboats first.

If the playing field is as leveled as you say, there wouldn't be separate tournaments for the men and women PBA bowlers. 

bowlersensi

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Reply with quote  #15 
Quote:
Originally Posted by timebomb

 

The fact that the USBC does not forbid separate handicaps for youths and women indicate this practice is not just peculiar to Singapore.



I never said it was peculiar Singapore, In fact I said it was done here in the past (and it probably still is in some places)

Quote:
So I don't see any reason why you were so stunned to find out my league does this.


I personally wasn't "stunned" maybe others on here were, I wasn't. I've bowled on leagues long ago that did that,so it wasn't new to me.

Quote:
And the fact that you thought it was discriminatory.


I'm not saying it's discriminatory or that's it's not, User "CObowler" was the one that made the original comment and was stunned and found it discriminatory.

But this Just shows the differences in our cultures, Over here in the US equality between Genders, Races and ages in everything is a big issue.

Quote:
Come on. You sound like the guy who would complain loudly when the ship is sinking and they let women and children into the lifeboats first.


Nothing in my comments should have given you or anyone the idea that's what I would do.

Quote:
If the playing field is as leveled as you say, there wouldn't be separate tournaments for the men and women PBA bowlers. 



The PBA and the PWBA are not the USBC so what they do is beside the point.

Note:
The so called unwritten law of the sea that Women & Children were first has no bases in maritime law and was basically a myth.




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