Excellent post Doug, with some really valid points.
In terms of logging out when you’re having a bad round though, I have to agree with Nivlac on this issue. Most players with a half decent average log out these days rather than post a score that will affect it. Its common practice and in my view perfectly understandable. Half the fun of playing this game is meeting people and having a chat with them as you play. However, due to numerous issues, not least the increased lagging when in multi-player mode, you very rarely play anywhere near your average in these situations so I don’t think penalising people would be fair. I play with others quite often and always play up to the last green before informing them that I’m going to log out. Most people don’t have a problem with this.
One way around it though would be to dispense with the averages altogether, and replace them with handicaps, just like in the real game. Admittedly, some people would still take advantage of this system, but all the top players would eventually be playing off scratch and if more tournaments with better prizes were created just for these players, then it would give everyone an added incentive to achieve scratch status. High handicapped players consistently punching above their weight would be easily identifiable, and let’s face it, as in the real game, they would only be fooling themselves anyway.
In terms of using various forms of software to improve your scores, I wouldn’t have a clue where to start, not being very technologically minded. Its all I can do to take account of the existing factors such as wind speed, ball lie etc, without introducing external elements. I remember one guy some months ago giving me what he described as the ‘golden key’ to this game. It was all about working out various mathematical equations and fractions, and was completely wasted on me. In any case there was an update just after when the new clubs were introduced, and he said his theory was completely irrelevant after that.
Time to fess up! I did experiment by putting a transparent ruler (do you guys call them slide rules?) on my screen over the power bar for a while in order to glean more accuracy. To be honest I just found it off-putting (geddit), so abandoned the idea after a day or two, and now just rely on the naked eye again. Other than that, I wouldn’t know where to start, but have neither the time nor the inclination to experiment.
At the end of the day, this game is supposed to be fun first and foremost. If people wish to gain top scores by tweaking the rules in some way, then I don’t really see how that can be prevented. Its just a shame that they feel the need to do this in the first place. I don’t know how widespread it is, but in my experience all the top players I have played with and even some I haven’t have been very generous to me and others in terms of offering advice and guidance. Nivlac and Tibbetts spring immediately to mind. For me, they play in the true spirit of the game and there are others who could do worse than follow their example.
If we all try to do the same, the true community spirit of this site, which is what first attracted me to it, will continue to blossom, and the cheats will either get bored, or feel marginalised and eventually move on.