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world handicap system

Don’t make golfers responsible for handicaps, clubs told

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”.

golf scorecard marker world handicap system

Golf scorecard rules: Should clubs implement the Local Rule on scorecards?

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.

Now have your say

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

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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