It’s a frequent complaint from club golfers – that the same teams sweep pairs’ events with massive scores. New handicapping rules in GB&I may have found a solution…
Golfers in Great Britain and Ireland who crush fourball betterballs at clubs may soon see their scores count for handicap.
Changes to the World Handicap System may see the rounds of players who dominate such competitions added to their records.
From April, scores from fourball betterball formats such as stroke play, Stableford, and Par/Bogey could be used for handicap purposes.
The changes will only apply to competition scores and not general play, and if a stringent set of criteria are met.
WHS Changes 2024: What are the new fourball betterball handicap rules?
Once a fourball betterball score is returned to the WHS portal by club software, it will look for some specific benchmarks. These are:
- A pair must have scored at least 42 points or six under par.
- One of the pair must have scored on a minimum of nine holes.
- That player’s round will then be upscaled – with points for their unplayed holes added based on their playing partner’s score.
- That will be 0 points if there is no score, one point if their partner has scored a point on a hole, and 1.5 points added where their partner has scored two or more points on a hole.
- If the total score of that player is then 36 or more points, a score differential will be calculated and the score will be added to the player’s record. If it does not, it will not be acceptable for handicap purposes.
The score may, or may not, count as one of the player’s best eight. Scores that do not meet the criteria will still be added to records but will not be used in calculations.
Players won’t be required to try and work out whether their scores are acceptable following the conclusion of a round.
Chiefs hope the new rules will prove a hit at golf clubs, with many already believed to have expressed a keenness for fourball betterball scoring to be used in handicapping within GB&I.
What’s behind the WHS fourball betterball changes?
While it is hoped it will try and take away any motivation from players who might be tempted to manipulate the system, it will also give more opportunities for golfers who may not submit lots of individual scores to play rounds that count for handicap purposes.
While fourball scores and match play scores already count towards WHS in other handicapping jurisdictions, most notably the USA, NCG understands handicap chiefs in GB&I were reluctant to employ a method using most likely score – fearing it was too open to an individual golfer’s interpretation.
Most likely score allows players to add shots to their tally, depending on how far away their ball lies from the cup, if they have a valid reason for not completing a hole.
In fourball betterball, that can be because their partner has already holed out and they cannot better that score.
With club golfers on this side of the pond very likely unwilling to accept such an arrangement, chiefs have instead turned to a scaled method to have an impact.
Now have your say
What do you think of these fourball betterball changes in GB&I? Will they help beef up security for pairs’ events? Let me know with a comment on X.
WHS Changes 2024
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- Competitions with odd numbers of holes?
- What is Course Rating minus Par?
- What is Expected Score?
- What’s happening to my Course Handicap?
- It’s all about the governance! Why the R&A and USGA have carried a review of the World Handicap System
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