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Here's why your club may need a new handicap board when WHS changes

Here’s why your club may need a new handicap board when WHS changes

What will WHS revisions mean for your club? There may be a very visual change if they have a Course Handicap board…

 

Does your club REALLY need their Course Handicap board? Those set on keep it should know it will very likely need replacing when World Handicap System changes come into effect next year.

The introduction of Course Rating minus Par in Great Britain & Ireland, and other WHS changes, means many of the boards which have held pride of place at clubs since the introduction of the new system in November 2020 will be out of date.

That’s because golfer’s Course Handicaps will change and there may well be greater moves in those numbers depending on which tee sets players use.

Clubs may face a cost in replacing the boards in time for the new measures being implemented in April 2024. But governing bodies are asking them to consider whether they need those boards at all.

Gemma Hunter, The R&A’s handicapping and course rating manager, told NCG there “will be things that will have to change at club level”.

“But we know GB&I are updating their apps so the Course Handicap calculator will be available and they may try and direct people there rather than having boards made.

“The challenge from national associations to clubs is: can we come up with a better way of displaying this information to players?

“Is it a QR code somebody can scan, rather than having a board – because if your par or Course Rating changes, now you need a new board? That’s just one element. That is a challenge for clubs to think about how they might want to do this in the future.”

what is course rating minus par

Course handicap boards: ‘We don’t need the boards anymore…’

Explaining the R&A and USGA’s WHS changes on the From the Clubhouse podcast, James Luke, England Golf’s head of handicapping, also said he’d like clubs to consider other options.

But he added there would soon be an announcement on support for those who required a new board.

“This is something I want to try and get out to golf clubs. We don’t need the boards anymore, essentially,” he said. “They aren’t a mandatory requirement for clubs to have.

“So I want golf clubs to seriously have a think about whether or not they need their handicap boards. If they do, that’s absolutely fine.

“New slope tables can be produced, they can be printed off, they can be put in the clubhouse, put in the pro shop, on the noticeboard, they can put it on a board if they want to.

“I know one club that is going to put a QR code on the board instead, so that means they can keep it as up to date as possible. Essentially, the boards aren’t required because, ultimately, there is going to be more ways for golfers to understand what their handicap is.

“And the calculations that are changing are all for competition purposes anyway, where there is the ability to use the ISV software they have available to them – their PSI machines in the clubhouse and so on.”

Asked whether the current boards would be accurate, he added: “They are not going to be accurate. No. England Golf will have a pot of money to give clubs a contribution to a new board.

“How that looks at the minute? I’m not quite sure. I will be communicating that out to clubs within the next couple of weeks.”

But asked what using QR codes, and apps, could mean at those clubs which discouraged the use of mobile technology, Luke also said this was a chance to reflect on the customer journey.

He explained: “Smart phones are everywhere. Now, obviously, I appreciate some people don’t have them, which is why I’m asking golf clubs to think about their customer journey and where people can access their handicap if they need to.

“WHS is about embracing that digital technology and making things easier for golfers to just to go out and play golf.

“Ultimately with these changes, it’s unless you’re in a competition or a general play round. For social golf, it’s not going to make any difference. Just go out with your mates, have fun, hit the white ball into the hole and see who wins.”

Now have your say

What do you think? Do we need Course Handicap boards at all with everything available on a computer screen or a phone? Do you still use the board at your club? Let me know by leaving a comment on X.

WHS Changes 2024

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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