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USGA handicap vs PSIA ratings

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 

USGA says about 90% of golfers with official handicaps have a handicap of 24 or under. A lot of golfers do not have handicaps. Other sources suggest about 50% of all golfers would have a handicap of 24 or under if everyone had a handicap.  PSIA skier rankings go from 5 to 10 with 10 being pro and 9 considered expert etc.

Can we make any kind of comparison between USGA and PSIA classifications? How does the skier population fit across the 5 to 10 PSIA scale? Are 10% of all skiers 9 and above or is it 50% are 5s and 6s? With my handicap I know it’s pretty close to right but when I take group lessons I’m always put with the 8’s. There is no way I'm that good. Any comments?

post #2 of 16

I don't know about overall percentages for each skill level, but I can say that there are significantly more (percentage-wise) level 9 and 10 skiers than sub 5 handicap golfers.  Without a doubt.

post #3 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by jaytierney View Post

I don't know about overall percentages for each skill level, but I can say that there are significantly more (percentage-wise) level 9 and 10 skiers than sub 5 handicap golfers.  Without a doubt.



ROTF.gif  Hence the beauty of "free skiing".  Cant BS your golf handicap, you either got the ball in the hole or didnt.  Cant BS race times either.  But with "free skiing" anyone with a bit of attitude and 110mm+ skis is now an expert.  Gotta love it.

 

post #4 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by steveturner View Post

USGA says about 90% of golfers with official handicaps have a handicap of 24 or under. A lot of golfers do not have handicaps. Other sources suggest about 50% of all golfers would have a handicap of 24 or under if everyone had a handicap.  PSIA skier rankings go from 5 to 10 with 10 being pro and 9 considered expert etc.

Can we make any kind of comparison between USGA and PSIA classifications? How does the skier population fit across the 5 to 10 PSIA scale? Are 10% of all skiers 9 and above or is it 50% are 5s and 6s? With my handicap I know it’s pretty close to right but when I take group lessons I’m always put with the 8’s. There is no way I'm that good. Any comments?

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Skidude72 View Post


ROTF.gif  Hence the beauty of "free skiing".  Cant BS your golf handicap, you either got the ball in the hole or didnt.  Cant BS race times either.  But with "free skiing" anyone with a bit of attitude and 110mm+ skis is now an expert.  Gotta love it.

 


The comparison should be between USGA and NASTAR.  NASTAR handicaps aren't perfectly accurate, but it's a lot closer to accurate than, as Skidude states, ski lodge ratings.  You can't BS the clock.  Sometimes the pacesetter's handicap is off for different reasons, but the clock doesn't lie.

 

Maybe you're put in with level 8's so you can become one?  Usually schools clump abilities together.  It wouldn't be a stretch to get 7,8 & 9's in one group lesson.  Everyone will do the same drills but the instructor would expect a higher level of performance from the higher levels.  That and the fact that many skiers will say they are an 8 or 9 and during the lesson find out they are probably a 6 or 7.

 

I'm also curious where you got the PSIA info.  Usually this is refered to as "levels" and not "rankings" so I might be confusing the issue.  I also thought the scale only went to 9.  I don't think all Pro's are 10's since you don't have to be even an 8 to become a Pro (i.e new instructors are considered Pro but they might not be experts).

 

Ken

post #5 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by jaytierney View Post

I don't know about overall percentages for each skill level, but I can say that there are significantly more (percentage-wise) level 9 and 10 skiers than sub 5 handicap golfers.  Without a doubt.


What do you base this on?  skidude strongly hinted that he disagreed and I would tend to agree...sure maybe some of us on the board ski with a decent % of 9+s, but when you count in all the tourists and occasional skiers, I don't really think the % is that high. 

 

 

 



Quote:
Originally Posted by Skidude72 View Post





ROTF.gif  Hence the beauty of "free skiing".  Cant BS your golf handicap, you either got the ball in the hole or didnt.  Cant BS race times either.  But with "free skiing" anyone with a bit of attitude and 110mm+ skis is now an expert.  Gotta love it.

 

Agree with you on the "free skiing" part, but some have been known to BS their golf handicaps hence the term "Hollywood Handicap" and "Sandbagger."  As a teenager, much of my income came from the golf course (both caddying and betting) and I found I did better with the guys who I knew gave themselves too many putts and mulligans when they weren't betting as opposed to the guys who didn't seem to try as hard when nothing was on the line.
 

 



Quote:
Originally Posted by L&AirC View Post



 


The comparison should be between USGA and NASTAR.  NASTAR handicaps aren't perfectly accurate, but it's a lot closer to accurate than, as Skidude states, ski lodge ratings.  You can't BS the clock.  Sometimes the pacesetter's handicap is off for different reasons, but the clock doesn't lie.

 

Maybe you're put in with level 8's so you can become one?  Usually schools clump abilities together.  It wouldn't be a stretch to get 7,8 & 9's in one group lesson.  Everyone will do the same drills but the instructor would expect a higher level of performance from the higher levels.  That and the fact that many skiers will say they are an 8 or 9 and during the lesson find out they are probably a 6 or 7.

 

I'm also curious where you got the PSIA info.  Usually this is refered to as "levels" and not "rankings" so I might be confusing the issue.  I also thought the scale only went to 9.  I don't think all Pro's are 10's since you don't have to be even an 8 to become a Pro (i.e new instructors are considered Pro but they might not be experts).

 

Ken


very true...I took group lessons the past 2 years and Keystone and I heard one of the instructors that I had a few times tell the supervisor I was a strong 8.  I was always in the top group, but never felt that anyone was better than me and often felt most of the others were 7s with an occasional 6.  Not really a major issue except on one powder day where one of the barely 6s couldn't hang at all with the rest of us and ended up dropping out before lunch.

 

Nastar is definitely a more objective comparison but it will likely only have a strong (not 100%) correlation with how someone skis bumps, steeps, powder, etc.

 

 

 

post #6 of 16

Based on the info below, I would say that a 10 handicap in Nastar is roughly equal to a 4 handicap in golf.  Here is my rough comparison table

 

Nastar    Golf

10           4

20           9

40           14

55           19 

 

 

It is hard to make a perfect comparison because I don't know the overall percentiles for each Nastar handicap (but can make a guess as they say that Platinum is top 5% for that age/sex, gold top 20%, etc.)

 

Equating PSIA level with Nastar handicap would be another guestimate that will be influenced by a skiers aggressiveness, race vs free skiing skills, the Nastar course you are talking about etc.  Here is my guess

 

PSIA   Nastar

9+        below 10

8          8 to 35 with an average in the teens

7          15 to 40 with an ave in the mid 20s

6          25 to 50 

5          35 to 70

 

I am basing the PSIA to Nastar conversion on very limited data...an instructor who has run a lot of students through Nastar would probably make a more educated guess. 

 

Here is a breakdown of Golf handicaps from http://www.golfwrx.com/forums/topic/205127-what-percentile-does-a-handicap-fall-into/

 

Posted 18 November 2008 - 03:24 AM

Found this on the USGA website- the first column is handicap, then % on that handicap, then the cumulative total of all handicaps

USGA Hdcp Idx Percent of Total Cumulative

+1 or better 0.13% 0.13%
0 0.55% 0.68%
1 0.57% 1.25%
2 0.85% 2.10%
3 1.15% 3.25%
4 1.56% 4.81%
5 2.02% 6.83%
6 2.56% 9.39%
7 3.17% 12.56%
8 3.68% 16.24%
9 4.20% 20.44%
10 4.66% 25.10%
11 5.02% 30.12%
12 5.41% 35.53%
13 5.58% 41.11%
14 5.67% 46.78%
15 5.54% 52.32%
16 5.36% 57.69%
17 5.02% 62.71%
18 4.64% 67.35%
19 4.23% 71.57%
20 3.88% 75.45%
21 3.46% 78.91%
22 3.12% 82.03%
23 2.78% 84.81%
24 2.44% 87.25%
25 2.11% 89.36%
26 1.81% 91.17%
27 1.54% 92.71%
28 1.30% 94.01%
29 1.10% 95.12%
30 0.91% 96.03%
31 0.75% 96.78%
32 0.61% 97.39%
33 0.51% 97.91%
34 0.42% 98.32%
35 0.34% 98.66%
36+ 1.34% 100.00%

http://www.usga.org/playing/handicaps/unde...a_handicap.html (dead link now)

 

Nastar Handicap Chart...http://www.nastar.com/articles/what-is-the-nastar-handicap-chart

 

NASTAR Handicap Chart

post #7 of 16

Intriguing topic.  I've often thought about the correlation between USGA and NASTAR handicaps.

 

My USGA Handicap number is 860431 and my current index is 9.1

MY NASTAR ID is MOO95.  My end of season National Handicap was 10.51 and my snowboard handicap was 22.34.  Both handicaps put me in the Platinum category which we're told is the top 5%.  I did a little research and 22.4% of golfers have a 9 handicap or better.  Even when my Golf HC was under a 6 that only put me in the top 9%.  I need to work on my game!

 

 

post #8 of 16

And then you have to keep in mind that over half of golfers don't keep an official handicap, and of that half I bet maybe one half of one percent are sub-5 handicaps, if that (for every excellent golfer who doesn't keep a handicap there are tens of thousands of poor golfers who also don't).  Good golfers almost always keep handicaps.

 

Let me put it this way... if you had 5 years to become either a sub-5 handicap golfer or a level 9 skier and would receive 10 million dollars as a reward, which would you choose?  If you say golf, you probably haven't played.  Of course, the big flaw with this kind of comparison is what qualifies as a level 9 skier.  If it's this...

 

Level Nine
Level Nine skiers enjoy the challenge of difficult ski trails and ski moguls, steeps, and other black diamond terrain.

 

... then it's not even close.  It's much more difficult to become an accomplished golfer.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by MEfree30 View Post

Posted 18 November 2008 - 03:24 AM

Found this on the USGA website- the first column is handicap, then % on that handicap, then the cumulative total of all handicaps

USGA Hdcp Idx Percent of Total Cumulative

+1 or better 0.13% 0.13%
0 0.55% 0.68%
1 0.57% 1.25%
2 0.85% 2.10%
3 1.15% 3.25%
4 1.56% 4.81%
5 2.02% 6.83%
6 2.56% 9.39%
7 3.17% 12.56%
8 3.68% 16.24%
9 4.20% 20.44%
10 4.66% 25.10%
11 5.02% 30.12%
12 5.41% 35.53%
13 5.58% 41.11%
14 5.67% 46.78%
15 5.54% 52.32%
16 5.36% 57.69%
17 5.02% 62.71%
18 4.64% 67.35%
19 4.23% 71.57%
20 3.88% 75.45%
21 3.46% 78.91%
22 3.12% 82.03%
23 2.78% 84.81%
24 2.44% 87.25%
25 2.11% 89.36%
26 1.81% 91.17%
27 1.54% 92.71%
28 1.30% 94.01%
29 1.10% 95.12%
30 0.91% 96.03%
31 0.75% 96.78%
32 0.61% 97.39%
33 0.51% 97.91%
34 0.42% 98.32%
35 0.34% 98.66%
36+ 1.34% 100.00%

http://www.usga.org/playing/handicaps/unde...a_handicap.html (dead link now)

 

Nastar Handicap Chart...http://www.nastar.com/articles/what-is-the-nastar-handicap-chart

 

NASTAR Handicap Chart



 

post #9 of 16


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by patmoore View Post

Intriguing topic.  I've often thought about the correlation between USGA and NASTAR handicaps.

 

My USGA Handicap number is 860431 and my current index is 9.1

MY NASTAR ID is MOO95.  My end of season National Handicap was 10.51 and my snowboard handicap was 22.34.  Both handicaps put me in the Platinum category which we're told is the top 5%.  I did a little research and 22.4% of golfers have a 9 handicap or better.  Even when my Golf HC was under a 6 that only put me in the top 9%.  I need to work on my game!

 

 


You are a very good golfer and skier/boarder (especially for someone 60+)!  Jay is right that not all golfers have handicaps (and most of those that don't aren't that good) so in reality, I bet a legitimate 9 handicap is better than at least 85% of all golfers.

 

One thing to keep in mind is that your Nastar handicap is based on one of your top times while your golf handicap is based on an average of your 10 best out of last 20 scores.  Also, depending on your age category, a Platinum doesn't necessarily mean you are in the top 5% of ALL skier. 

 

also, neither one completely takes into account consistency, but I think this is more of an issue with Nastar who gives a handicap best on your 2nd? best score (but I can't find the link for how they compute your national handicap).  Your 2nd or 3rd best golf round in the last 20 is under 8.  Bottom line, your skiing might be a bit better than your golf (especially considering you board well also), but I don't think they are as far apart as you may think (when taking your average Nastar handicap and your average round of golf)

 

Jay, I'll let someone else look-up the PSIA descriptions, but my understanding was that it had less to do about the type of terrain you enjoy and more to do about how well you ski.  I agree with you that there are a lot more level 9s than I thought if all it takes to qualify is to enjoy skiing black diamond terrain.  

 


Edited by MEfree30 - 6/22/11 at 11:10am
post #10 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by MEfree30 View Post


 


 

 

One thing to keep in mind is that your Nastar handicap is based on one of your top times while your golf handicap is based on an average of your 10 best out of last 20 scores.  Also, depending on your age category, a Platinum doesn't necessarily mean you are in the top 5% of ALL skier. 

 

also, neither one completely takes into account consistency, but I think this is more of an issue with Nastar who gives a handicap best on your 2nd? best score (but I can't find the link for how they compute your national handicap). 

 


Good points.  NASTAR National handicaps are based on the best individual HC earned on your 2nd, 3rd, and 4th fastest day.  Over the course of a long season, that figure will be disproportionately low.  In my case an accurate ski handicap is probably around 14 or 15 (at my age, I only have to beat 17 to earn Platinum).  At the pacesetter trials the past few years I've raced against A.J. Kitt and my handicaps have been in the mid teens.

 

post #11 of 16

I think the biggest issue with this is that while the Golf/Nastar handicaps work reasonably well within a specific area they fall apart pretty fast when you take them national.  Lots of small town heros get shown up fast.

 

Getting a 4 golf handicap playing at a local Par 3 course is easier then playing to that handicap at true PGA Tour caliber course.  Same with skiing, it is common to get "experts" from the mid-west come out to the mountains and really struggle to maintain their "expert" status.  Conversly there is tough little courses/mountaints out there, where some one is seen as "average" but in reality everyone there is awesome, so being "average awesome" makes them pretty dam good.  Rossland is such a place, a town of about 10,000 or so (guess) has produced over 60 WC racers.  I met a guy from there who said he was "ok"...still one of the best skiers I have ever skied with.  To him experts were WC racers, if you werent WC, you were "average".

 

 

post #12 of 16

You cannot make accurate comparisons since golf is a game of scoring and skiing (except racing, big mountain competition, etc.)  a game of "doing." 

 

In golf "expertise" is all about handicap.  A golfer can have a plus 2 or plus 3 handicap and be a relatively crappy putter or have some part of their game that isn't at a PGA Tour level (examples are all over the Nationwide and mini- tours).  Regardless, shooting two or three under par on average puts them in the "expert" category.  Winning long drive competitions or doing trick shots does not designate an "expert" golfer.    With skiing, someone can be an "expert" but never race at a competitive level because jumping off cliffs or zip-lining down moguls instead of running gates is their thing. Each sport defines expertise differently.

 

Golf requires constant practice to play at the highest level (Bobby Jones was an exception).  Skiers can take seven or eight months off per season and still nail anything on the mountain.

 

Ski racers have to be in much better physical condition to win at their sport than golfers.  I'd also argue that golfers have to practice more often than ski racers run gates to execute at the highest level.  Apples and oranges for the purpose of handicapping.

post #13 of 16

I would argue the USGA handicap system is about as good as it gets in determining the skill level of golfer and far better than systems used in other sports ( assuming that the individual player follows the intent and rules of the handicap system, human nature being what it is). Handicap travels reasonably well from course to course, with an assumption that course length remains moderate. For sure, there are some very hard courses by design, but, course rating does enter into the handicap calculation and with repeated play, one can figure out how to play a more difficult course. Golf also provides multiple tee locations making the management of an more difficult course within the grasp of a less skilled golfer.

 

I'm don't participate in Nastar, but my assumptions are the local course setting is moderate & short and the medal award system is designed to enable participants to medal. It's recreational racing and the system is measurable and objective. I doubt that handicap would carry over the NCAA GS championship I watched with Epic at Stowe this year. Outside of Nastar, is there any system that enables differentiating between skill levels within a group. I've skied with Bob Peters and TetonPowderJunkie an Jackson Hole and would consider both to be level 10 skiers. Both of those persons will tell everyone that at Jackson Hole, they don't consider themselves as top notch skiers. In golf there's a huge difference between a plus 1 and a minus 2

 

An antidotal story, at this year's Summit Co. Gathering, on the first morning, Uncle Louie asked me how I skied so that he could point me to the correct group, I really did not know how to answer in a meaningful way other than to state I should not be in the top group, but, can hold my own in the second. In golf, I could say I'm a 14.2 handicap. In any case, I've left the golf course, on many times, with a scowl on my face, frustrated with the way I played. I've never had that feeling leaving a ski area, where it's all good. Moral of the story is to smile and enjoy more!

post #14 of 16

+1

 

I suppose this whole comparison business is somewhat goofy since you're matching up a quantifiable sport against one that isn't (which is one part of skiing that really appeals to me).

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by quant2325 View Post

You cannot make accurate comparisons since golf is a game of scoring and skiing (except racing, big mountain competition, etc.)  a game of "doing." 

 

In golf "expertise" is all about handicap.  A golfer can have a plus 2 or plus 3 handicap and be a relatively crappy putter or have some part of their game that isn't at a PGA Tour level (examples are all over the Nationwide and mini- tours).  Regardless, shooting two or three under par on average puts them in the "expert" category.  Winning long drive competitions or doing trick shots does not designate an "expert" golfer.    With skiing, someone can be an "expert" but never race at a competitive level because jumping off cliffs or zip-lining down moguls instead of running gates is their thing. Each sport defines expertise differently.

 

Golf requires constant practice to play at the highest level (Bobby Jones was an exception).  Skiers can take seven or eight months off per season and still nail anything on the mountain.

 

Ski racers have to be in much better physical condition to win at their sport than golfers.  I'd also argue that golfers have to practice more often than ski racers run gates to execute at the highest level.  Apples and oranges for the purpose of handicapping.



 

post #15 of 16

I couldn't agree with this more.  I don't think most people realize just how incredibly good the golfers on the pro tours actually are.  When I was playing competitively in high school and was a 1  handicap, I would get absolutely slaughtered in my head to head matches with Johnny Miller's son Andy.  He was the top student golfer in Napa, I was at the top in Sonoma, but it wasn't even close.  I'd shoot one over par and lose by 6 shots.  He'd shoot a few under par on a day when the putts weren't dropping.  It was sobering to see that it still took him a number of years to get his tour card and that he struggled once there and then fell out of the rankings.
 

Quote:

Originally Posted by Living Proof View Post

 

In golf there's a huge difference between a plus 1 and a minus 2

 



 

post #16 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by jaytierney View Post

I couldn't agree with this more.  I don't think most people realize just how incredibly good the golfers on the pro tours actually are.  When I was playing competitively in high school and was a 1  handicap, I would get absolutely slaughtered in my head to head matches with Johnny Miller's son Andy.  He was the top student golfer in Napa, I was at the top in Sonoma, but it wasn't even close.  I'd shoot one over par and lose by 6 shots.  He'd shoot a few under par on a day when the putts weren't dropping.  It was sobering to see that it still took him a number of years to get his tour card and that he struggled once there and then fell out of the rankings.
 



 



If you have never skied with the likes of Hugo Harrison or Seth Morrison then you really cant appreciate just how good these guys are too.  I mean they do stuff, that if I didnt see it with my own eyes, I would consider it to be impossible. The movies often dont do them justice.

 

Having said that, I agree the worlds top golfers are more skilled then the worlds top skiers.  I think the reason for that is simple....golf has the rewards.  As I understand the worlds highest paid skier broke the $2million/year mark about 2 or 3 years ago - Jon Ollsen.  Tiger makes more then that just to show up for a single tournament, he doesnt even need to win.

 

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