REVIEW OF NATIONAL RANKING SYSTEM
The system now used to decide the annual ranking of Australian pitch and Putt players was introduced in 2011. It allocates points to players in designated competitions on the basis of 20 (State) or 30 (National) points to the winner, down to 1 for 20th (State) or 30th (National) or lower. It replaced an earlier system that allocated points according to the number of players in each designated competition.
Late last year Phil Shaw-Dennis, APPA President, proposed that the system be changed to one based on average scores in the designated competitions. In the ensuing Board discussion, it was agreed that as the number of designated competitions had fallen to 5 per year, it should be increased by enabling Clubs to run a second qualifying competition each year, to be known as a Masters event. So far, 2 clubs have decided to run such events, so in 2015 there should be at least 6 designated events for ranking purposes. As regards the possible change to an average score-based ranking system, it was decided to seek player views from all clubs during 2015 before taking a final decision on the change.
This paper therefore seeks to set out the comparative factors associated with alternative ranking systems to facilitate discussion and input from players generally. Readers are encouraged to consider these factors and put their views on the issues raised to members of the Board or the editor of this website for publication.
The 3 different systems for calculating the rankings discussed here are:
1. The existing total points-based system;
2. An average points-based system; and
3. The average score-based system proposed by Phil.
Also at issue are the number of competitions required to be played to qualify for ranking and whether at least one of these should be required to be played on an away course.
Table 1 (attached) has been prepared to help consideration of how each of these systems would work. It summarises the essential features of each and the factors that influence performance ranking.
Table 2 (attached) compares what the rankings would have been in 2014 had each of the systems been used. Players ranked 1 to 40 in the men’s and all the women’s 2014 gross rankings have been included. For privacy reasons, player’s names have been replaced with numbers for ease of reference. Otherwise, scores are exactly as recorded.
It should be noted that all 3 sets of results in Table 2 assume that only 1 competition is required to qualify for ranking and there is no requirement to play an away competition. If restrictions such as those suggested in Table 1 had been applied, many players would not have qualified for ranking.
Each system produces very different outcomes. Assessing which is preferred requires consideration of all the factors identified in Table 1. Common to them all are the need to:
have available as many as possible competitions on which to base the rankings and encourage player participation;
determine the minimum number of competitions required to be played to gain eligibility for ranking;
encourage participation in ranking competitions on away courses as well as home courses;
recognise the disparity caused by highly variable numbers of competitors in ranking events.
Of these factors, the most controversial is the last. Table 1 identifies the disparity in points that may be won in the present APPA total points won system by lower place getters between competitions
with many competitors and those with few. That this disparity may be countered by the encouragement it gives to participation in more events is also noted. Whether these factors would be overcome by the average score based system, under which the number of players in competitions is irrelevant, is the major issue to be decided. Also controversial is the issue of the number and location of competitions required to be played to qualify for ranking.
Please make known to a member of the APPA Board whether or not you favour a change in the way the rankings are determined, and if so, which system you prefer. I would be happy to respond to comments or enquiries by email to email@example.com .
C E Tim Terrell
APPA Board Member