The handicapping authority within GB&I has asked committees to refrain from putting the burden on players during competitions. Steve Carroll reports

WHS chiefs in GB&I have advised club committees not to use a Local Rule that makes golfers responsible for showing handicaps on their scorecards.

Until the start of this year, it was down to players in stroke play to ensure their marks were on their cards, but that was changed in the 2023 Rules of Golf update – with the onus now falling upon committees.

It means a player can no longer be disqualified if they fail to record their handicap but clubs can use Model Local Rule L-2 to shift the obligation back onto entrants.

That Local Rule guidance acknowledged that, in some circumstances “it can be difficult for the Committee to calculate players’ handicaps” – citing those that don’t have computers to help with administration or where they “don’t have access to a database of player handicaps”.

But with the main UK competition season set to get under way in the next few weeks, CONGU, who hold the licence for the World Handicap System in GB&I, have given their view.

In an update to guidance on the WHS Rules of Handicapping for England, Wales, and Ireland, they said their “recommendation is NOT to implement such a Local Rule”.

Where clubs decide to ignore that recommendation, and bring in the Local Rule regardless, CONGU chiefs have advised that to avoid disqualification a player must put their Course Handicap on the scorecard.

That’s the number that reveals how many strokes a golfer would get, from a handicap perspective, for both competition and general play scores. In Ireland, recording the Handicap Index is a requirement.

CONGU say it’s the committee’s duty to apply the handicap allowance for any stroke play competition but that, in practice, this will be done by software.

What do you think of these golf scorecard rules? Should club committees follow CONGU’s recommendation or should players be responsible for ensuring their handicaps are shown on their scorecards? Tweet me and let me know.

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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