Levelling the playing field is an important policy instrument to guarantee an equitable competition among heterogeneous individuals. However, the incentive effects of those policies are usually not explicitly addressed in empirical studies. In this article the performance in amateur
golf tournaments is analysed to gain insights into the incentive effects of those types of policies. The empirical analysis takes advantage of the fact that tournaments in amateur golf are of two distinctive types that apply different scoring rules: while one scoring rule is based on gross
scores, i.e. the total number of strokes of a player, the second scoring rule is based on net scores where the total number of strokes is normalized with respect to the respective player's handicap. Performance comparisons of players who participated in both types of tournaments suggest that
levelling the playing field, as in tournaments based on net score, has positive and significant performance effects.