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Explaining the Peoria System 'Handicap'

Peoria System enables golfers without an official handicap to play tournaments


Foursome Teeing off
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The Peoria System is a sort of 1-day handicapping system for golf tournaments where most of the golfers do not have real handicap indexes (company outings and charity events, for example).

The Peoria System - while, like the similar Callaway System, based in certain part on luck - allows a "handicap allowance" to be determined and then applied to each golfer's score.

Before tournament play begins, the tournament committee secretly selects six holes. These are usually two par 3s, two par 4s and two par 5s, and often one of each type per nine (e.g., one par 3 on the front, the other on the back nine). The routing and composition of the course will determine which "secret holes" are selected, and competitors do not know which holes have been selected.

Groups tee off and complete their rounds, playing stroke play and scoring in the normal fashion with one exception: double par is the maximum (for example, 8 is the maximum score on a par-4). Following completion of play, the six Peoria holes are announced.

Each player totals his six secret holes. That total is multiplied by 3; the golf course's par is subtracted from that total; then the resulting number is multiplied by 80 percent. And that result is the golfer's "handicap allowance." The allowance is subtracted from the player's gross score and the result is the net Peoria System score.

That sounds complicated. But it's really not. Let's run through an example:

  • Once the round is over, the tournament organizers announce the identities of the six secret holes.
  • Player A finds those six holes on her scorecard and tallies up the total strokes for those six holes. Let's say that total is 30.
  • So Player A multiples 30 by 3, which is 90.
  • The golf course par is, let's say, 72. So subtract that from 90, and Player A gets 18.
  • Now multiple 18 by 80-percent, which is 14 (round off).
  • And that tells us that 14 is Player A's Peoria System handicap.
  • Let's say Player A's gross score was 88, so subtract 14 from 88.
  • And that is Player A's Peoria System net score: 88 minus 14, which is 74.

You just have to know the steps, and then do some simple math. And if the tournament organizers are really organized, they might do the math for all the golfers entered.

Also Known As: Peoria Scoring System, Peoria Competition, or just plain Peoria. The Peoria System is also sometimes called Bankers System or a Bankers Handicap.

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