They are the bread and butter for club members, but there may be more than a bit of cash at stake during the Saturday morning sweep when the new global handicap system arrives
The 9am sweep you chuck balls into every weekend may soon be worth a bit more than the fiver for front, back and overall. Your handicap could depend on your performance.
One of the nuggets revealed as we count down to the start of the World Handicap System in November next year is that clubs could well count the traditional roll-up as a ‘competition’.
And that means you would have to put your scorecards in afterwards.
“If you play in a competition, what is the process you go through?” says Gemma Hunter, England Golf’s head of handicapping and course rating. “You go into the pro-shop, you sign a book or into a computer. You pay some form of entry fee.
“You get a scorecard, you have a marker, you go out and play a measured golf course, you hole out, come in, someone signs the scorecard, you submit that scorecard to the committee, or enter it into a touchscreen, someone checks the scores and there is a prize at the end. That is a competition.
“If you look at roll-ups and social groups, and look at what they do, it’s a competition.
“There’s no difference between an organised competition by the club and a competition played by a group of players.
“If you look at players who might try and manipulate their handicaps, or maybe manage their handicaps very well, they play in more of these social roll-up games than club competitions – because they are not affecting their handicaps.
“They get success, win prizes and that is more beneficial than playing in a club competition.
“So what solution can we have to encourage people to put scores in for handicap purposes – because we know the more scores we get, the more accurate a player’s handicap will be?”
It will be your clubs that likely deem whether such gatherings be considered an event that counts for handicap purposes.
But if your group roll-up plays to the Rules of Golf, over a measured course, and you all hole out, prepare for your score to count.
And with these kinds of rounds often used by lots of club members as a social knock, primarily a chance to play away from the pressure of competition, it will be interesting to see how the plans go down with rank and file players.
How do you feel about the idea? Or do you have any questions? Comment below or drop me a line on Twitter and I’ll try my best to help.