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WHS 2024 changes World Handicap System

The England Golf app has launched to mixed reviews – but how did we get on with it?

Golfers can pre-register and post scores from general play rounds under the World Handicap System with the My England Golf app. Steve Carroll put it to the test
 

The more scores the merrier. That’s a basic premise of the World Handicap System, where golfers are being encouraged to put in general play scores – almost whenever they take to the course – to make their handicaps as accurate as possible.

I don’t know about you but, to date, this has been something of a faff. While pre-registering your intent to put in a score, in a similar fashion to the old supplementary score system, might be straightforward enough at your home club, getting that across as a visitor can depend on a club’s facilities or the knowledge of those with which you’re dealing.

So, at NCG Towers we were intrigued to see the latest update to the My England Golf app. A new function allows golfers to pre-register or post scores from general play rounds at any rated course in England. It’s available to all members of affiliated golf clubs who hold a World Handicap System handicap index.

We decided to put the scoring element of the app to the test and Dan Murphy and I took to the fairways at Alwoodley to see how it all worked out…

How easy was it to pre-register a round?

It was surprisingly straightforward but there are things you can do to hurry it all along as well. You simply load up the My England Golf app and click on enter score.

It will then ask you to confirm the golf club you’re playing at – it uses GPS to find those in the vicinity – and, once you’ve done that, it asks you to provide a marker.

We’d already done the spade work here. You can add ‘friends’ into the app so Dan and I were able to quickly find and pick each other as markers.

This had its benefits when I arrived at the tee five minutes before our start time and had to go through the process in double-quick time.

You’ll get a pop up message, confirming you’re entering a score and telling you that you must post it.

I know there have been issues with geo-location for some users, where it’s either in a GPS void or won’t pick up the course, but it was plain sailing for us at Alwoodley.

How did you find entering scores?

This was very intuitive – a clearly designed screen and easy functionality. You enter both your score, and your partner’s, by pressing the plus or minus button to get the number you need.

Once you’re happy you move to the top right corner of the screen and tap on ‘next’, which takes you to the following hole. There’s no problem if you make a mistake as you can cycle through the scores and make amendments at any point during the round.

The app also tells you where you are in relation to par and the number of Stableford points you are amassing. It also reveals the par, yardage, and gives you the stroke index for the hole you are playing.

I wasn’t keen on the way the app would sometimes close if my phone went into standby. At first, I thought I’d lost the scores but that later turned into a smidge of irritation as I would have to relaunch the app, find my round, and then cycle through all the completed holes to get to the correct point. I understand, though, that you can enter all the scores at the end if you wish.

But, generally speaking, adding scores is a doddle.

All this has got to be killing your phone battery, right?

Not in my case. Using an iPhone (other phone manufacturers are available) I was inputting the scores, and taking a couple of pictures of the beautiful surroundings, and it took around 15% off my battery.

Given that using a golf GPS app on my phone can quickly put it on life support, I was pretty surprised – and happy – it wasn’t a huge drain.

How did you post a score?

The last putts went down and it was time to put in the scorecard. Even using technology, this felt like a very familiar process. You’re asked to verify the scores so, over a post-game pint, we reeled off each other’s numbers, checked they were as they should be, and then entered them.

And that’s it?

There is then a further process to go through, where you should get a message asking you to confirm your playing partner’s score. You can check off the numbers again and once you’ve both ‘attested’, it appears almost instantaneously on your playing record.

World Handicap System

That last stage could be a little clearer. We had to go into messages to find the notice to carry out the ‘attest’ and there have been some instances relayed on social media where golfers either hadn’t worked that out or were waiting for a message that didn’t arrive.

“Isn’t it a cheat’s charter?”

People who are determined to cheat will do so, but we can’t let the actions of a nefarious few cloud everything we do.

From a verification point of view, this felt as solid and reliable as anything I’d do with a scorecard. While you are not physically handing back something to a handicap committee, the digital record is there. Any committee worth their salt will still be beavering away in the background watching and analysing.

Personally, I welcome the opportunity to test my handicap on courses that aren’t familiar and, given I lopped off half a shot for my exertions at Alwoodley, I’d say my game appreciated it as well.

Will you use the My England Golf app again?

Dan already has. As a man with family commitments, who can’t play as much competition golf as he’d like, this gives him the perfect opportunity to have a meaningful game at a time that’s convenient to him.

I’ve got a bucketlist of courses I want to tick off with general play scores and I’ll be working my way round them this year.

How are you getting to grips with scoring on the My England Golf app? Let me know in the comments, or tweet me.

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