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This genius computer program is designed to spot sandbaggers at your local club

January 23, 2020

ORLANDO, Fla. — Sandbaggers. We all know at least one. Maybe you are one yourself, sitting there reading this right now, feeling a drop of cold sweat slide from your brow as you sense the masterminds at Cap Patrol coming to get you.

That’s because they are.

Cap Patrol may be the most interesting — and useful — product making a splash at the 2020 PGA Show. It’s a system designed to spot sandbaggers in their tracks. It works a little like a handicap system. It’s not a replacement, but rather a complement to it. Players submit their scores as they normally would, then Cap Patrol gets to work. It electronically monitors all players’ scores, and how it affects their handicap index. Then using a “proprietary algorithm that clearly shows if a golfer is managing their score record to gain an advantage,” it begins recommending adjustments based off those scores.

The USGA released an updated set of rules for golfers playing amid the coronavirus outbreak.
The USGA released an updated set of rules for golfers playing amid the coronavirus outbreak.
Getty Images

So let’s suppose a golfer with a handicap hovering around 13 shoots 75 or so — a great round, and also an incredibly unlikely one. The system takes note. Then, that same golfer shoots 100 a few weeks later — a terrible round, and also an incredibly unlikely one.

On paper, those two scores average out to something in the 13 range. But Cap Patrol spots the two highly unlikely scores, contextualizes them, and begins recommending to the club an adjusted handicap for the golfer in question, which grows stronger with each statistically unusual score.

It’s all designed to do two things: To spot score-manipulators early, and to minimize “confrontations” between golfers, in Cap Patrol’s words, allowing the club to adjudicate them with minimal drama. And 90 days in, clubs have already been flocking to the program. More than 150 nationwide have already signed up.

So beware, sandbaggers. Your days are numbered. You can learn more about Cap Patrol here.