Thinking about not handing in your scorecard? You could lose your handicap.
Club committees operating under the World Handicap System will be encouraged to dish out penalties, as England Golf's Gemma Hunter explains.
Everyone knows the person at their club who does this – the player who walks off after one bad hole, who writes ‘N/R’ in big letters through their scorecard at the slightest bit of adversity.
0r worse, they just do not post it at all.
Those responsible for bringing in the new World Handicap System, which will come into effect across GB&I later this year and in England on November 2, have been paying close attention and they’re encouraging club committees to come down hard on those who fail to submit a score without a valid reason.
“If there was no valid reason and an acceptable score is discoverable, that score will be posted; and a club sanction may be applied,” attendees of England Golf’s World Handicap System workshops were advised.
“If the score is not discoverable, a penalty score must be posted. In the most serious cases, such as repeated failure to submit acceptable scores, the Committee has discretion to apply additional penalty scores, reset the player’s Handicap Index or consider other disciplinary procedures”.
The ultimate sanction could see players who “deliberately or repeatedly fail to comply with their responsibilities” having their handicap index withdrawn.
Gemma Hunter, England Golf’s head of handicapping and course rating, said one of the key principles of the rules of handicapping was that players competed with the intention of trying to return their best score.
“As golfers, we shouldn’t just be walking off the course because we’ve had a bad day,” she explained. “We want to try and discourage that from happening but we know people do have bad holes.
“You have a 10 or 11 because you struck three out of bounds. It happens. However, it does not mean to say that has to impact the rest of your round.
“For handicap purposes, you can still play the rest of your round, record a score and put that into your handicap record. You could have had a good card going before that 10.
“Because we are using nett double bogey, that now becomes an 8 or a 7 – depending on the par. So why can it not go in to your record? Why is it not a valid score?
“We want to get more scores into players’ records and discourage people who just walk off the course and no return, without a valid reason – and that’s the key.
“If you’ve had a call saying your child’s ill and you have to get home, that’s a valid reason.
“Because you’ve had enough, or want to go and watch the football, isn’t a valid reason. You’ve signed up to play 18 holes of golf and so you should complete your round.”
Under the new rules the automatic .1 addition to the handicap for a score above competition handicap will be discontinued as your handicap will be assessed from an average of the best 8 of last 20 scores submitted.
Now is the ideal time to prepare for this element of scoring going forward. If you do not complete a hole under the current system, mark an N/R on this hole only but continue scoring the rest of your round. You will not be able to win any competition prize but this round can still update your handicap record.
The new WHS handicap system comes in to place in England on 2nd November 2020.
You will no doubt have already heard the terms slope rating and handicap index.
Throughout the summer months, we will be updating members with information regarding the changes.
Look out for notices around the clubhouse and your email inbox.
The Ladies & Gents Competition Chairs will also be running World Handicap System presentations to update the members in full on these changes.
Mark Brabazon
Chairman of Competitions.


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