New Year Golf!

Hope it is not too late to wish you all a very Happy New Year, but how has 2018 started for you?

On top of implementing the CONGU changes we have had to contend with playing in wet and windy conditions and some course closures.

Luckily only one competiton had to be cancelled after it had started.

How do you deal with this type of situation?

Well a great publication that has served me well is Scottish Golf’s ‘GUIDANCE ON RUNNING COMPETITIONS AFFECTED BY ADVERSE WEATHER CONDITIONS’, coming from a country where ‘adverse’ could be interpreted more as ‘extreme’ it offers help and sensible advice for any golf club competitions’ committee; well worth a read and even keeping a copy in the Handicap or Competition Committees’ files.


Enjoy your golf in 2018.

Handicap Changes from 1st January 2018

Handicap Changes from January 1st, 2018

A Happy New Year to everyone and hope that you can now all enjoy your golf after working hard on implementing the CONGU Changes for 2018.

On 28th November I posted a summary of the changes that CONGU (the body that runs handicapping in England) announced regarding the retirement of Club and Disability Handicaps and the creation of new Category 5 handicaps for men, as well as a new Category 6 handicap for both men and women. These new categories provide a maximum handicap of 54 for both men and women.

Golf Handicap Categories 2018

Exact Handicap
Exact Handicap ladiesPlaying
1Plus to 5.4Plus to 5.4Plus to 5
25.5 to 12.45.5 to 12.46 to 12
312.5 to 20.412.5 to 20.413 to 20
420.5 to 28.420.5 to 28.421 to 28
528.5 to 36.428.5 to 36.429 to 36
636.5 to 5436.5 to 5437 to 54

These changes will become effective on January 1st, 2018. Players will be able to maintain a Competition Handicap in all six categories. Upward adjustment for all categories will remain at 0.1 and downward adjustments for Nett Differentials below Buffer Zones will be 0.5 for Category 5 and 0.6 for Category 6

The changes are mandatory and your club’s handicap system will be updated from 1st Jan 2018 to implement these changes. Therefore, from the 1st January, as members play qualifying rounds, handicaps will change, and some may well increase to handicaps higher than 28.0 for men and 36.0 for women.

For those clubs that introduced Club Handicaps in 2016/7 and decided a policy on implementing them these handicap changes will pose no real problems.

For those who are introducing them for a first time, I would imagine Christmas has been a little fraught. If clubs follow CONGU and England Golf Guidelines i.e. consider all 28 and 36 handicaps following a Continuous assessment Report and Annual Review they will have a lot of data to consider, numerous playing records to go through and face the dilemma of increasing some players’ handicaps by anything from 1 to 26

This immediate increase could demoralise some players and lead to some concerns if they can compete off these handicaps in normal competitions

At this moment in time perhaps clubs should consider giving all Club Handicaps (juniors included) a Competition Handicap status (‘c’), depending upon when these handicaps were allocated (i.e. in 2017 or prior to 2017), leave all 28 and 36 handicaps as they are and let the Handicap Software System look after the handicap adjustments following results from qualifying competitions after 1st January 2018

The club could then concentrate on how to accommodate these category 5 and 6 handicaps into their series of competitions and produce a relevant policy informing members of their decision.

R&A 2018 Local Rule: Modification of Score Card Penalty

The R&A and USGA have recommended that all Committees introduce the following Local Rule commencing 1st January 2018.j

This Local Rule overrides the change to the Exception to Rule 6-6d introduced on 1st January 2016, which penalised a player an additional two strokes for a penalty that was not recorded on their returned score card.

The Exception to Rule 6-6d is modified as follows:

Exception: If a competitor returns a score for any hole lower than actually taken due to failure to include one or more penalty strokes that, before returning his score card, he did not know he had incurred, he is not disqualified. In such circumstances, the competitor incurs the penalty prescribed by the applicable Rule, but there is no additional penalty for a breach of Rule 6-6d. This Exception does not apply when the applicable penalty is disqualification from the competition.

Note 1: The Committee is responsible for the addition of scores and application of the handicap recorded on the score card – see Rule 33-5.
Note 2: In four-ball stroke play, see also Rule 31-3 and 31-7a.

So if this Local Rule is introduced, a player will only be penalised one or two strokes (depending on the penalty for the breach incurred), for not including a penalty on their score card, providing they were not aware that they had incurred one.

Relaxation of Rules Governing Supplementary Scores

Relaxation of the Rules to Allow an Unlimited Number of Supplementary Score Submissions After January 2018

A second post on the CONGU Changes 2018

Supplementary Scores – Relaxation of the rules to allow an unlimited number of score submissions per year and removal of the restriction of one per week. However, the restriction on Category 1 players will remain in place.

Supplementary Scores were introduced by CONGU in 2008 as a means of providing players who, despite the fact that their Golf Clubs may be considered to be running sufficient qualifying competitions, find it difficult, for various legitimate reasons, to be able to return a sufficient number of qualifying scores between Annual Reviews in order to maintain a handicap that is a true reflection of their current ability.

However CONGU placed a limit on the number and frequency that Supplemantary Scores could be submitted in each calendar year; these are noted in Supplemetary Scores along with more details of Supplementary Scores and the procedures which players and clubs are recommended to follow in submitting and processing Supplementary Scores.

In relaxing the limits on Submitting Supplementary Scores CONGU have made it easier  for players to submit more scores to their handicap record so that their current handicap is a true reflection of their ability.



Good Example of Implementation of Club Handicaps

Windlesham Golf Club in Bagshot, Surrey took up the challenge of introducing Club Handicaps in 2016; below is a link to their Implementation policy that stands out as a good example to follow. Please remember that this policy was drawn up in 2016 when Club handicaps could not be Competition Handicaps, this, of course, will change and I am sure Windlesham will update their policy for 1st January 2018

Windlesham Golf Club – Implementation of Club Handicaps 2016
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CONGU Changes 2018 -Retirement of Club and Disability Handicaps

So the first change that we will see from CONGU is the Retirement of Club and Disability Handicaps

Retirement of Club & Disability Handicaps – As a result of their low impact these have been removed and replaced by a new Category 5 for Men and Category 6 for both Men and Women, providing for a maximum handicap of 54.0 for all golfers. Players will be able to maintain a Competition Handicap in all six categories. Upward adjustment for all categories will remain at 0.1 and downward adjustments for Net Differentials below Buffer Zones will be 0.5 for Category 5 and 0.6 for Category 6.

In January 2016 Clubs were asked to consider introducing Club Handicaps of 29-36 for Men and 37-54 for Ladies in a hope that they would encourage members, whether Junior or Adult, to play more competitive golf and stay with their Club membership while at the same time increasing accessibility to golf for new and less able players beginning and learning the game as well as older golfers who may be struggling to play to their existing limited CONGU Handicaps.
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An Exciting Year Ahead

2018 is going to be another landmark in the game of golf with the Modernisation of the Rules of Golf due to be introduced in January 2019 and more immediately the following changes to CONGU UHS Handicapping System due to be introduced in January 2018:

CONGU Changes 2018

Changes to the CONGU UHS System have recently been announced. In view of the proposed introduction of the World Handicap System (WHS) these changes have been kept to a minimum and take into account some of the options likely to be adopted in the WHS, principal of which is to encourage players to submit more scores to their handicap record.
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