Steve Carroll can't wait to get going under the new system

The main point that arose out of the announcement of the upcoming World Handicap System was not what was revealed – but what wasn’t.

“There is no real need for golfers to worry about the technical details of the new system,” the R&A’s website soothed when setting out some of the highlights.

Let me say from the start that if everything I’ve read so far comes to fruition, I’m generally in favour of the proposals.

I realise some people have concerns about the slope rating and how it will be implemented but, at the most basic level, I like the idea of my handicap changing depending on which course, and from which tees, I am playing.

Clearly a round at my home course of Sandburn Hall, and one at Carnoustie, are entirely different challenges in terms of difficulty.

I like the idea of knowing that while I might play off 11 in a home competition, I could start with, say, 17 at an Open venue.

I know SSS and CSS deal with this but I still play the round with 11 shots.

Psychologically, the idea of having 17 – or however many – on a difficult course is appealing.

At the moment, though, with only the outline principles revealed, it’s hard to get a firm grip on what the new scheme will mean for our day-to-day golf.

I’m sure many of us are itching to see how slope will be worked out and what that means for our marks.

We’re keen to know what formats of the game will count for handicap purposes and how using recreational rounds will affect the proposed system.

Golfers are sponges for detail. We love to rummage through stats – whether that’s GIR or how our handicap is produced.

I know the upcoming workshops, put on by England Golf, will start to put some flesh on the bones.

But the R&A shouldn’t assume golfers aren’t interested in the technical aspects. We are. So to pat us on the head and say ‘no need to worry’ feels a little patronising.

Need more information on the World Handicap System?

Visit our dedicated WHS page where you will find everything you need to know and details of how to contact us if you have any more questions.

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Steve Carroll

A journalist for 23 years, Steve has been immersed in club golf for almost as long. A former captain and committee member, he has passed the Level 3 Rules of Golf exam with distinction having attended the national Tournament Administrators and Referee's Seminar. He has officiated at a host of high-profile tournaments, including Open Regional Qualifying and the PGA Fourball Championship. A member of NCG's Top 100s panel, Steve has a particular love of links golf and is frantically trying to restore his single-figure handicap.

Handicap: 10.9

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