Is Wungolf a scoring idea that could ease slow play?
- Category: Learning
- Published: 2017-05-09
By Gord Montgomery (iG)
As a new golf season gets underway, a Southern Albertan is proposing a new scoringsystem to help speed up play and make learning the game easier for newcomers. Now he knows that not everyone is going to buy into his idea, but Karl Ponto feels those that do are going to have a more enjoyable and enriched time on the links as well as those playing behind them.
Called Wungolf, Ponto, who started golfing in his 30s, said playing at tough public golf courses can be frustrating for those learning the game and those playing in groups behind them. This is where the idea began forming a few years back and progressed to where it is now.
“You want to keep up with the group ahead of you but you also want to encourage people,” to keep them from being overwhelmed by the sport’s complexities. “I looked into everything there was, what the proposals were for fixing slow play. That’s when I came up with this idea.
“When you’re looking at someone laying eight on the fairway and you’re telling them to pick up the ball that is no fun for anyone,” he noted. “The most fun a beginner can have is hitting (and sinking) a putt.”
After crunching some numbers, something he’s adept at, Ponto came up with the Wungolf idea. Basically it’s a points-based game rather than a raw score. In other words, instead of shooting a 103, a player may record a Wungolf score of 44, based on points awarded for everything from a triple bogey down to an albatross. As well, there are caveats in the rules for picking up after a certain number of strokes and a systemic handicap based on those points, not overall scores.
The scoring system came from personal experience he explained: “Thinking what would I be comfortable with in my own game, I thought if I could get a beginner to keep up with my pace of play, that would be great; four, four and a half hours. Bogey golf,” and drawing the line at a player recording any more than a triple bogey on a given hole, thus helping the playing pace a bit.
There are two different ways to score: the PlusOne PickUp where scores couldn’t exceed 4, 5, or 6 on par-3, 4 and 5 holes, or DoublePar scores, maxing out at 8, 9, and 10.
As for broaching this subject of scoring with players, Ponto said it’s received mixed reactions.
“I talked to a couple of golf pros who liked the idea,” he said. “But of course, they’re interested in the pace of play. And I talked to a friend as well and he didn’t even look at it. He just went “Nah, whatever.” There are a lot of people like that, and that’s fair.”
The important thing about this system, he pointed out, is that good players may not buy into it but it’s a solid idea for those new to the game or those who only play occasionally. That doesn’t mean good players should shy away from it though.
“If you’re a good player you’re probably not going to pick up more than once a round and then again, it won’t be your best round. I’m not spoiling anybody’s good round. I wanted to make it a system that won’t affect good golfer so much.”
About spreading the word, Ponto noted, “I get a better response from golf pros where some feel we need something like this. So, I’ll just get out there, spread the word slowly, not worry about it. There’s no big money behind me for advertising. It’s just getting people to try it. The way I look at it if people try it and like it, then word will spread.”
While this scoring idea mimics the Modified Stableford System in a way, it is different in it’s Pick-Up rule and maximum stroke allowance meaning that perhaps someday it will be an idea that catches on, given time.