Competitions Played from Different Tees (Mixed Competitions) – Appendix O



Note that this Appendix does not apply to 9-Hole Competitions where different sets of tees are in use. The 9-Hole Handicap Allowance effectively makes the target for all players 36 points regardless of the Tee used, hence no further adjustment is required.

The majority of Qualifying Competitions are run for a specific group of competitors, .e.g. a men’s medal, a ladies’ Stableford, a seniors’ par/bogey competition from a given set of tees. Increasingly, however, clubs are introducing competitions that cater for a wider group of entrants such as in mixed gender competitions and/or competitions in which different sets of tees are used to enable players of different age/ playing ability to compete together. Each set of tees used must have been rated for the genders that will play from them. Whilst the majority of clubs have at least two sets of tees for men i.e. traditional medal tees and forward tees, many clubs only have one set of tees that have been rated for women. A few clubs, particularly those having relatively long and/or difficult courses, have created an additional set of tees forward from the existing ladies’ tees and have these tees rated for the women and sometimes for the men as well. Having such options enables clubs to give all players the opportunity to compete from tees that are the most suitable for their ability. Examples of such competitions include:

  • junior competitions in which both boys and girls compete with the boys playing from a set of tees having a men’s rating and the girls competing from a set of tees having a women’s rating;
  • open competitions open to men, women and juniors;
  • single gender competitions in which some players are required to, or may elect to, play from different sets of tees e.g. a men’s medal in which players have the choice of playing from the traditional medal tees or from the forward tees (both sets of tees being rated courses) or a ladies’ Stableford with silver division playing from the traditional ladies’ medal tees and bronze division playing from the forward ladies’ tees.

In virtually all cases, the different sets of tees will have been allocated different Standard Scratch Scores by the Unions. Two issues arise; the first is how to determine the competition winner and the second is how to adjust handicaps in an equitable manner.

  1. Determining the Prize-winners – Competition Handicap Allowances for Qualifying Competitions

In order to maintain equity in determining the prize winners in these competitions the Playing Handicaps of some of the competitors may require to be adjusted to provide a Competition Handicap Allowance. In Qualifying Competitions any adjustment to generate the Competition Handicap Allowance must be applied for competition result purposes only, so that the competition retains its qualifying status. The adjusted Competition Handicap Allowance must not be used to establish the Competition Scratch Score or for the purpose of handicap alteration. Competitions in which competitors play from different tees in Qualifying Competitions may be in three formats – medal stroke play, Stableford and par/bogey.

  1. Medal Stroke Play

This is the format most easily understood by the competitors and the simplest to administer.

For the purposes of the competition, each player playing the course with the higher Standard Scratch Score must be awarded a Competition Handicap Allowance equivalent to his Playing Handicap increased by the difference in the two Standard Scratch Scores.


Men’s Course (White Tees): SSS 70

Ladies’ Course (Red Tees): SSS 72

SSS Ladies – SSS Men = 2.

All Ladies’ handicaps should be increased by 2 strokes

Examples of Handicap Allowances for Events from Different Tees

Lady Exact HandicapPlaying handicap for Handicap PurposesCompetition Handicap Allowance for Competition Purposes
18.819(19 + 2) = 21
35.536(36 + 2) = 38

Any adjustment that results in a playing handicap above the maximum Exact Handicap allowed (28.0 [36.0]) should be applied only for competition purposes. (i.e. the Competition Handicap Allowance is not used for handicap purposes).

  1. Stableford Competitions

In Stableford competitions it is the relationship between the Par and Standard Scratch Score and not only the SSS that determines player scoring and the score that represents ’Playing to handicap‘. When players play from different tees (e.g. Ladies’ / Men’s) the Par / SSS relationship may well be different for each set of tees. For example:

  • for Course A with Ladies’ tees of Par 72 and SSS 72 and Men’s tees of Par 70 and SSS 70, the Par and SSS have the same relationship (Difference Par – SSS = 0);
  • for Course B with Ladies’ tees Par 70 and SSS 70 (Par – SSS = 0) and Men’s tees Par 72 and SSS 70 (Par – SSS = 2) the relationship between Par and SSS is different.

With Course A in a Stableford competition all players from either set of tees playing to their handicap would return the same score (36 points). In this situation the scores from each set of tees can be equitably combined for result purposes (despite the SSSs being different and an adjusted Competition Handicap Allowance being required if the competition had been Medal stroke play).

With Course B, a woman playing to her handicap would return 36 points, whilst a man would return 38 points when playing to his. The women’s Competition Handicap Allowance must be increased by two.

In all such cases where the Par and SSS relationship is different, for result purposes only, the Competition Handicap Allowances will differ dependent upon which set of tees the players play from.

Players playing from the set of tees with the higher target to ‘play to handicap’ will receive the same Competition Handicap Allowance as their Playing Handicap but others will receive additional stroke(s). Extra stroke(s) equal to the difference between the respective ’Playing to Handicap‘ scores from each set of tees (i.e. in the Course B example above two strokes) must be added to the handicaps of the competitors who play from the tees from which players would return the lower ‘“Playing to Handicap‘ score (i.e. in the above example, the women – see table below).


Men’s Course (White Tees): SSS 70, Par 72

Ladies’ Course (Red Tees): SSS 70, Par 70

Examples of Stableford Handicap Allowance Events from Different Tees

Score required to play to HandicapStrokes received for Handicap PurposesStrokes received for Competition purposes
Lady 36 pts.Playing HandicapPlaying Handicap + 2
Man 38 pts.Playing HandicapPlaying Handicap

The additional stroke(s) shall be applied consecutively from the lowest Stroke Index hole(s) where players do not receive a stroke using their normal Playing Handicap (i.e. a 12-handicap player receiving an extra allowance of two strokes would get them at holes with Stroke Index 13 and 14). ‘Plus-handicap’ players would give fewer strokes back to the course starting from the lowest Stroke Index hole where they concede strokes.

Where the Competition Handicap Allowance calculated for a player differs from their Playing Handicap, the Committee must make the player aware of their total stroke allowance for the competition. It is recommended that the Competition Handicap Allowance is recorded on the player’s scorecard alongside the player’s Playing Handicap.

It must be stressed that this adjustment is only to provide an equitable competition result. Any adjustments must be disregarded when determining the CSS and the Nett Differential for handicapping calculations.

For handicap purposes the Nett Differential is determined by applying the Table contained in Appendix D following calculation of the Competition Scratch Score.

  1. Par / Bogey Competitions

A similar principle to that outlined in Clause 2 above should be applied to Par/Bogey Competitions played from different sets of tees when calculating appropriate Competition Handicap Allowances.


Men’s Course (White Tees): SSS 72, Par 71

Ladies’ Course (Red Tees): SSS 72, Par 73

Examples of Par/Bogey Handicap Allowances for Events from Different Tees

Result required to
‘Play to Handicap’
Strokes Received for Handicap purposes Strokes Received for Competition Purposes
Woman 1 UpPlaying HandicapPlaying Handicap
Man 1 downPlaying HandicapPlaying Handicap + 2

Note 1. The foregoing methods of handicap adjustment for the different Qualifying formats cannot be applied to Men and Women (or Boys and Girls) playing from the same set of tees unless a Standard Scratch Score has been allocated for each gender. In such circumstances a woman playing from the Men’s tees requires an additional stroke allowance to the extent determined by the difference in the Men’s and Ladies’ Standard Scratch Scores.

For a 6000 yard course the difference in the respective Standard Scratch Scores would be of the order of 5 strokes.

These strokes should not be regarded as ‘courtesy shots’. They are an entitlement necessary to equalise the handicaps of the participating groups.

Note 2. To comply with the Rules of Golf the player should record his/her Playing Handicap on the score card. Players are advised to also record their appropriate Competition Handicap Allowance on the scorecard, where this is different.

  1. Adjusting handicaps in an equitable manner – Use of the Single CSS Adjustment

If separate CSS calculations are made for each set of tees used it is frequently the case that the resulting adjustments (i.e. -1, zero, +1, +2, +3, +3 R/O) are different and this can be difficult to explain or justify. This difference is more pronounced if at least one set of players form a small field as is frequently the case in junior competitions as there may often be only one or two girls in a field dominated by boys.

A more equitable solution is to use the performance (i.e. those within their own buffer zones) relative to the SSS of the tees used for all the competitors (in Categories 1 to 4) in the field to calculate one adjustment. This adjustment is applied to the SSS’s of the tees used. The details of the calculations are given in Appendix B Clauses 2.1 to 2.4 and Examples 4 and 5 in Appendix B demonstrate how this can be applied in practice.

The use of the Single CSS Adjustment is recommended for all situations in which players play in a Qualifying Competition from different sets of tees (see page 62). This should be extended to the situation where multiple Qualifying Competitions over the same course and different tees take place on the same day. All scores should be combined to provide a Single CSS Adjustment.

  1. Applying Handicap Allowances for other forms of competition

For other forms of golf (e.g. 4 Ball Better Ball, Greensomes etc) the allowance for the type of competition should be applied (Appendix F provides the allowances for each type of competition). The order of application of Adjustments and Allowances is detailed in Decision 6(b) in the CONGU Unified Handicap System Manual.

Decision relevant to Appendix O

6(b) Handicap Adjustments made for competitions where competitors play from different tees and when there are also handicap allowances to be applied for the type of competition.