And a little bit of help is on the way. After much debate, the USGA's executive committee voted in June to make some changes. Effective next year, the name of the course and the day of the month on which posted rounds were played will not be part of the records available to the general public. Only fellow members of a golfer's club and the competition committee at any venue where a golfer intends to compete will be able to see the complete record.
But the USGA insists that "peer review" is essential to an honest handicapping system that enables golfers of differing skills to compete on an even basis and protects against "sandbaggers" who deliberate inflate their indexes to gain an unfair advantage. "If you want to have a handicap, you give up your privacy regarding your scoring record," says Kevin O'Connor, senior director of the organization's handicap department.