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general play

England Golf chief: Don’t ban players from all competitions

On The NCG Golf Podcast, James Crampton, England Golf’s director of championships, said clubs should resist the urge to restrict players with lots of general play scores from playing in all competitions

 

Clubs should not bring in blanket competition bans for golfers who have too many general play scores in their handicap records – but England Golf’s championships chief said he had “no problem at all” with those who restricted entry into top competitions.

Speaking on The NCG Golf Podcast, James Crampton, the governing body’s director of championships, said the goal of the World Handicap System was to submit as many scores as possible.

He added clubs who were copy-catting England Golf’s Championships Entry Policy should resist the temptation to  bans across their terms of competition for players who had lots of general play scores in their records.

But he also said he had no issue with clubs imposing restrictions on club championships, or trophy events, where “they are looking at just ensuring that people with the appropriate handicaps are entering them”.

England Golf’s policy, which was a pilot last year but has now become a full part of their entry conditions, can see players denied admission into certain over-subscribed tournaments if they have more than four general play scores in their records and more than a two-shot difference between those scores and competition scores.

Around 50 to 60 players were turned away from tournaments last year and Crampton confirmed some had been refused entry into the English Senior Men’s Stroke Play at Gog Magog and Saffron Walden next week because their differential was “greater than we would like it to be in relation to their competition scores and their general play scores”.

general play

England Golf general play score: ‘I certainly would be reluctant on implementing a blanket condition’

The introduction of the policy last year brought a lot of attention and led some of clubs to mimic aspects of England Golf’s scheme.

Some golfers wrote to NCG arguing they had been “banned” from playing in competitions because they had entered too many general play scores.

Asked if players should be put in a position where they were restricted from all club events, Crampton told the podcast: “No, not at all.

“But under the CONGU system, clubs would put in restrictions in terms of the number of competition scores a player needed to gain entry into certain competitions.

“It’s down to clubs as to what they can do in terms of their own terms of competition for their own events.”

He added: “I think for certain major championship events within a club – maybe it’s their club championship or big trophy competitions they have – if they feel there’s a need to encourage more competition scores then I don’t see a problem with that at all.

“But I certainly would be reluctant on implementing a blanket condition that says you must only have a number of general play scores in a record.

“The principle of the World Handicap System is to put as many scores in as you can, and so we wouldn’t want clubs to impose restrictions necessarily on all their golfers.

“But to impose restrictions onto certain events, where they are looking at just ensuring that people with the appropriate handicaps are entering them, I don’t see a problem with that at all.”

Now listen to The NCG Golf Podcast

James Crampton, England Golf’s director of championships, joins Steve Carroll this week on the pod. They discuss a dramatic Brabazon Trophy, as well as the governing body’s new pace of play checkpoints, and much more. Listen to the full episode here.

Have your say

What do you make of general play scores? Do they give you flexibility or should they be restricted for players who want to compete? Le me know your thoughts with a comment on X.

Steve Carroll

Steve Carroll

A journalist for 25 years, Steve has been immersed in club golf for almost as long. A former club captain, he has passed the Level 3 Rules of Golf exam with distinction having attended the R&A's prestigious Tournament Administrators and Referees Seminar.

Steve has officiated at a host of high-profile tournaments, including Open Regional Qualifying, PGA Fourball Championship, English Men's Senior Amateur, and the North of England Amateur Championship. In 2023, he made his international debut as part of the team that refereed England vs Switzerland U16 girls.

A part of NCG's Top 100s panel, Steve has a particular love of links golf and is frantically trying to restore his single-figure handicap. He currently floats at around 11.

Steve plays at Close House, in Newcastle, and York GC, where he is a member of the club's matches and competitions committee and referees the annual 36-hole scratch York Rose Bowl.

Having studied history at Newcastle University, he became a journalist having passed his NTCJ exams at Darlington College of Technology.

What's in Steve's bag: TaylorMade Stealth 2 driver, 3-wood, and hybrids; TaylorMade Stealth 2 irons; TaylorMade Hi-Toe, Ping ChipR, Sik Putter.

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