Golf Digest, March, 2009
There are more important things to ponder in the wake of Bernard Madoff’s $50 Billion rip-off of investors than his golf game. But we were curious nevertheless. Madoff, 70, has a USGA Handicap Index of 9.8, though he hasn’t posted a round since May 2000 (he played at Fresh Meadow, Atlantic and Palm Beach). All 25 posted scores were between 80 and 89, and 17 were between 83 and 87.
“The distribution of scores is highly improbable for a 10,” says Dean Knuth, former senior director of the USGA Handicap department. “One in 100,000 at that level scores that consistently, and that player is typically a person who once was a low-handicap but still has game. At Madoff’s age, he doesn’t fit that category.”
Bernie Cheated At Golf, Conference Goers Say
Henry Blodget, Business Insider
Jan 27, 2009, 4:09 AM
Handicaps have always been a bit of a racket, and Bernie Madoff appears to have capitalized on that:
Brooke Masters, Financial Times At the Interbourse golf tournament held last May at Cabo San Lucas on the tip of Mexico’s Baja California peninsula, some participants suspected something amiss with Bernard Madoff.
It was not that the traders and financiers present were worried about the feted New York broker’s 200-person market-making firm, which usually sponsored one of the dinners at the annual gathering. Equally, the decades of stellar returns produced by his money management arm drew envy rather than concern.
No, what bothered some participants about the former Nasdaq chairman was his golf handicap. They suspected he had understated his skill to boost his chances of winning a prize. “It makes a difference if your handicap is the right or wrong one. I always had the impression that he was playing off a 14 or a 15,” says one who took part. But Mr Madoff’s score on the Golf Handicap and Information Network was 9.8, leading the fellow player to infer that the broker was better at the game than he told the organisers.
“He wasn’t altogether straightforward,” the participant says.
Of course, it’s also possible that the handicap itself was bogus. As in, “Well, I have a 9.8 handicap.” Which means that this might be one case where Bernie was actually honest about his skills.