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whs changes 2024

What are your responsibilities under the World Handicap System?

Yes, some of it is down to you! Steve Carroll explains what you need to do to be in line with the Rules of Handicapping
 

We just turn up and play. We check our handicaps on the scorecard and run through the app to see the damage we’ve done during our round the following day.

Outside of pre-registering and returning a scorecard, our interactions with the World Handicap System may not go too much further than grumbling about the number that’s won this week’s Stableford.

But did you know that, just like the Rules of Golf, players have got certain responsibilities for handicapping when they play a round?

Appendix A of the Rules of Handicapping may not be your idea of bedtime reading, but there are 10 key things listed there that all players need to carry out in order to comply with regulations.

Most of these you’ll do just by playing golf in the right way, but there may be a couple that surprise you…

Golfers with scorecard

Player responsibilities under the Rules of Handicapping

1. Act with integrity by following the Rules of Handicapping. Don’t use the rules, or circumvent them, “for the purpose of gaining an unfair advantage”.

2. Have only one handicap index from a single scoring record, which is managed by your home club.

3. Ensure each golf club where you are a member knows of “all other golf clubs that they are a member of” and which you have designated to be your home club.

4. Before you play your round, “in an authorised format of play” of course, make sure you know your current handicap index, tell your handicap or competition committee of any problems with that number, and hand in any “outstanding scores yet to be submitted or posted” to your scoring record. You also need to make sure you’re aware where you are either giving or receiving strokes during a round.

5. Attempt to the make the best score possible at each hole.

6. Where you can, make sure all your acceptable scores are submitted for handicap purposes. That includes scores from “outside the player’s home jurisdiction”. You need to do that before midnight on the day you played and in the “correct chronological order”.

7. Submit acceptable scores to provide “reasonable evidence of… demonstrated ability”.

8. Gone to a new club? Make sure you give your new golfing home full details of your previous playing history, your handicap index, memberships, and “any other information relevant” to your playing ability.

9. Play by the Rules of Golf.

10. Certify the scores of fellow players – also known as: mark, make sure their scores are correct, and sign their cards.

Do you follow all the player responsibilities in the Rules of Handicapping? Were there any of the 10 that surprised you? Why not let me know with a tweet.

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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