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fairway mats

World Handicap System explained: Can my round count if we’re using fairway mats?

Is that little piece of plastic going to stop you from putting in a general play score? A governing body has the answer
 

Winter is coming. For some of you that will mean toting something extra around with your clubs over the next few months – the fairway mat.

They’re designed to protect our precious fairways when it’s freezing and the grass isn’t growing.

But can you still put a score in if you’re using that little piece of plastic – or fabric – to strike a ball from under the new World Handicap System? England Golf have given us the answer…

World Handicap System explained: Can I submit a score using fairway mats?

The governing body has issued a series of FAQs, covering various aspects of WHS, and one of these looks at the issue of fairway mats.

They say: “Golfers can still submit scores for handicap purposes when using fairway mats where the mat is placed as near as possible to where the ball lay. The ball may be cleaned when lifted.”

But there are a couple of caveats. England Golf say if mats are compulsory on all parts of the course – they define that as “including areas cut longer than fairway height” – or if a Local Rule is in place that compels players to move their ball from the fairway to the rough for the next shot, then scores are not acceptable for handicapping purposes.

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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