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winter golf

World Handicap System explained: Can I put in a score if there are winter greens?

Is it already time for temps? England Golf run the rule over whether your round can still count with winter greens under the World Handicap System
 

It’s a crispy dry morning, you arrive at the course only see one of the most dispiriting sights in winter golf: temporary greens.

Yes, we know how vitally important it is to protect our fragile putting surfaces and, at many clubs, the thought of dozens of golfers trampling their way around a frost-laden hole cup is enough to give your greenkeeper palpitations.

But you were feeling good and relishing the chance to put in a score that counted for handicap. Has the weather put paid to that? England Golf have come up trumps with the answer…

World Handicap System explained: Can I submit a score if there are winter greens?

You can indeed but there are limits. In a series of Q&As, covering various aspects of WHS during the winter, the governing body say that, for scores to be acceptable, “no more than two temporary greens are allowed to be used on an 18-hole course, and no more than one on a nine-hole course”.

Handicapping chiefs also covered the question of winter tees – as clubs can often move teeing areas up and down to try and save wear and tear.

England Golf say there are also restrictions over “temporary alterations to the distance of a course” and state that a tee must not be more than 10 yards different to the “fixed measurement point” of that tee.

That’s the permanent yardage marker you should be able to find by the side of the tee box. It can often be a little slab or stone.

But there’s more. “The total distance of an 18-hole course must not be more or less than 100 yards different to its measured length, while a nine-hole course must not be more or less than 50 yards different”.

Now, no one’s expecting you to go out with a measuring tool to make sure everything is ship shape. You should feel confident your committee are taking this task in hand. And there are two exceptions to this as well – if an application has been made for a temporary rating, or if a shorter layout of the course has been officially rated.

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.

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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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