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world handicap system

Why social rounds of golf may count towards your new handicap

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 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.

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.

Follow NCG on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram – and don’t forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel for the latest equipment and golf course reviews and exclusive interviews.

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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