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Chris Handson was a key speaker at the Delegates Meeting on Monday 5th March (cancelled due to poor weather), and was planning to outline the simplification of the Rules of Golf and the introduction of a World Handicap System.  This is what she had to say:-

“News on the Rules was announced last year and the R&A have already produced a draft copy on their website. The good news is that there are less of them and the wording has been simplified. There are downloadable sheets so that clubs can run practice competitions with some of the new Rules.  These will be non-qualifying and it’s hoped that these improvements will help to make the game faster.

With regards to handicapping –  firstly the new system, which is called the World Handicap System, (WHS) focuses on three main objectives: to encourage as many golfers as possible to obtain and maintain a handicap; to enable golfers of differing abilities, genders and nationalities to transport their handicap to any course globally and compete on an equitable basis; and to indicate with sufficient accuracy the score a golfer is reasonably capable of achieving on any course around the world.

A consistent handicap that is portable from course to course and country to country through worldwide use of the USGA Course and Slope Rating System.  We are not going to adopt the American system totally, but there will be an average-based calculation of a handicap, taken from the best eight out of the last 20 score, and these scores may be competition or recreational.  Acceptable scores must attested and be played under the rules of golf – so no gimmies.

Currently we will continue with CONGU and some of the changes this year have been introduced to smooth the transition to the WHS.  The removal of the limit of supplementary scores for all categories of player apart from Cat.1 has been introduced to encourage players to have as many scores on their handicap records as possible before the start of the WHS.

The maximum handicap limit of 54.0, regardless of gender introduced this year seems to be causing most concern.  There is a perception that there will be many players with 54 handicaps playing scratch players in knock outs and therefore this could result in a 3 shot difference per hole.  In reality, do you really think this will happen?   Think about it.  Handicap restrictions in competitions will probably limit the amount of shots allowed.  Clubs should decide on allowances and divisions of field, if any, taking account of the makeup of their sections.  I should point out that clubs have a responsibility to run qualifying competitions for all of their members.

England Golf have a presentation on their website and for more detailed information it is the best place to look at the moment.  Clubs have had an invitation to a seminar at Hollingbury Golf Club on 30th May, please be aware that there are only 2 delegates per club – not section – allowed and I urge you to register your place.  Later in the year there will be more seminars which will deal with handicapping and the changes to the Rules, details will be sent to clubs so please keep your eyes peeled.

I expect that there will be updates on the SCLGA website and links to the appropriate information.”

Chris Handson, County President & Handicap Adviser