Since the World Handicap System, does CONGU still exist?

Since the World Handicap System, does CONGU still exist?

The answer is yes, but not in its previous format.

Originally formed on 14th February 1924 and known as The British Golf Unions Joint Advisory Committee, on 21st March 1960 the Committee’s name was changed to the Council of National Golf Unions (“CONGU”) comprising representatives of The English Golf Union, The Golfing Union of Ireland, The Scottish Golf Union, The Welsh Golfing Union and The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews.

Since that day CONGU has always maintained the Handicapping System in GB&I

The position with CONGU in 2022 is that following the introduction of the World Handicap System, which passes all maintenance of Handicapping to National Organisations, there is no longer a handicapping system that CONGU needs to support, so, as a handicapping system maintaining body, it no longer exists. 

However, because CONGU has signed the World Handicap System licence, on behalf of the home unions, and then delegates the authority to those home unions, those representing the home unions on the board of CONGU are now simply those employed by the home unions and there are no longer any formal committees (e.g., the Technical Committee which previously maintained the system and Website).

Strictly speaking, therefore, it does still exist, but the CONGU Website is now just a single page showing links to the four home unions and the R&A.

One thing I will point out is that all the resources that were previously on the CONGU Website are no longer available there.  Those documents should now be available on each of the home union Websites (e.g., the Mixed Tee Calculator, which is now certainly on the England Golf Website as I have checked that out).

England Golf have given an assurance that all the other relevant documents will also become available in the very near future (if not already). I can’t make any comment about the other three unions, although I have been assured that Scotland will publish most of those documents where there are variations because of their decision to use the exact Course Handicap in all Handicap calculations.

England, Wales and Ireland opted for the simpler approach, for players at least, to use the rounded Course Handicap (as that is what the player can easily determine by looking at the handicap boards which are displayed at her/his Golf Club).

Since the World Handicap System, does CONGU still exist?

Since the World Handicap System, does CONGU still exist?

Just to let you know what the position is with CONGU, now that the World Handicap System is in place.

The answer is yes, CONGU still exists but not in its previous format.

Originally formed on 14th February 1924 and known as The British Golf Unions Joint Advisory Committee, on 21st March 1960 the Committee’s name was changed to the Council of National Golf Unions (“CONGU”) comprising representatives of The English Golf Union, The Golfing Union of Ireland, The Scottish Golf Union, The Welsh Golfing Union and The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews.

Since that day CONGU has always maintained the Handicapping System in GB&I

The position with CONGU in 2022 is that following the introduction of the World Handicap System, which passes all maintenance of Handicapping to National Organisations, there is no longer a handicapping system that CONGU needs to support, so, as a handicapping system maintaining body, it no longer exists. 

However, because CONGU has signed the World Handicap System licence, on behalf of the home unions, and then delegates the authority to those home unions, those representing the home unions on the board of CONGU are now simply those employed by the home unions and there are no longer any formal committees (e.g., the Technical Committee which previously maintained the system and Website).

Strictly speaking, therefore, it does still exist, but the CONGU Website is now just a single page showing links to the four home unions and the R&A.

One thing I will point out is that all the resources that were previously on the CONGU Website are no longer available there.  Those documents should now be available on each of the home union Websites (e.g., the Mixed Tee Calculator, which is now certainly on the England Golf Website as I have checked that out).

England Golf have given an assurance that all the other relevant documents will also become available in the very near future (if not already). I can’t make any comment about the other three unions, although I have been assured that Scotland will publish most of those documents where there are variations because of their decision to use the exact Course Handicap in all Handicap calculations.

England, Wales and Ireland opted for the simpler approach, for players at least, to use the rounded Course Handicap (as that is what the player can easily determine by looking at the handicap boards which are displayed at her/his Golf Club).

Enjoy your golf

Tony

CONGU Unified Handicapping System – RIP

CONGU Unified Handicapping System – RIP

Getting to grips with the World Handicap System is presenting some of you with problems.

But now that England Golf and Independent Software Vendors are managing to overcome some of the teething problems it is evident, from the many emails I am receiving, that many of you, who can play golf at the moment, are doing so and entering and organising a number of competitions.

In1983 the Council of National Golf Unions (CONGU) introduced the Unified Handicapping System) UHS) to GB&I for the first time.

It was based on the Australian Handicapping System and has stood us in good stead since then.

But on 2nd November 2020, the World Handicap System (WHS) was introduced bringing together and regularising six different Handicap Systems.

So, what does this mean for us and organisers of competitions?

Firstly, a steep learning curve because there are many changes to get used to and implement.

Secondly, the CONGU UHS Manual no longer applies as a source of reference and we must turn to new publications for information on Handicapping.

The sources we must now use and rely on are:

  1. England Golf Rules of Handicapping
  2. CONGU – Guidance on Rules of Handicapping as Applied to GB&I and
  3. Guide for Committees on the effect of 2019 Rules of Golf on CONGU Handicapping

Unfortunately, the Guidance on Rules of Handicapping as Applied to GB&I, is not as clear and precise as the old CONGU UHS Manual, and no doubt will be re-written over time, but it is all we have at the moment.

But love it or hate it, the WHS is here to stay and once understood and used properly will, in my opinion, provide a much fairer Handicapping System for all.

Keep safe

Tony

CONGU World Handicap System

CONGU World Handicap System

CONGU are delighted to announce that the Agreement for the new World Handicap System (WHS) which will come into operation on 1 November 2020 was approved by the Board with the support of all the Home Unions: England Golf, Golfing Union of Ireland, Irish Ladies Golf Union, Scottish Golf and Wales Golf.  The agreement was formally signed on Monday 16th September by Chairman Ann Brown.

The current CONGU Unified Handicapping System will be replaced by WHS which will unify six different handicapping structures currently in place throughout the world. With one single system in place golfers will be able to obtain and maintain a handicap index; use their handicap index on any golf course around the world; and compete or play a casual round with anyone else on a fair and equal basis.

You can read more by following the link below:

CONGU World Handicap System

CONGU Guidance on Qualifying Scores During the COVID-19 Restrictions

CONGU Guidance on Qualifying Scores During the COVID-19 Restrictions

Following on from The R&A’s guidance on the Rules of Golf issued on Friday 20 March (https://www.randa.org/en/news/2020/03/covid-19-related-guidance-on-the-rules-of-golf), CONGU has now discussed the implications for scores for handicap qualifying competitions and can confirm the following:

Flagsticks/Holes: If clubs have made the decision to modify the depth of the hole to allow players to remove the ball without touching the flagstick, scores will be acceptable for either competition or supplementary score purposes.

Bunkers: If clubs introduce a Local Rule to allow preferred lies in bunkers, scores will be acceptable for competition or supplementary score purposes. (Using Model Local Rule E-3)

Please note: The distance for preferred lies in the bunker is limited to 6 inches and the area cannot be smoothed before placing.

Alternatively, if the condition of bunkers is so poor that it interferes with the proper playing of the game, a club Committee may declare all bunkers to be Ground Under Repair, scores will be acceptable for competition or supplementary score purposes.

2019 CONGU Unified Handicap System Manual

Hello

Hope you all have enjoyed a wonderful Christmas and looking forward to a New Year of Golf.

Just a quick note to let you know that CONGU have just released their 2019 Version of the UHS Handbook.

You will be able to download a Player’s Quick Guide, Secretaries Quick Guide and a Full Version of the Manual if you click on Quick Guide to 2019 CONGU UHS.

Happy New Year and good golf!

Tony

Email: tony@my-golf.uk

Rules Blog: www.my-golf.uk

 

Rules of Golf 2019 – Effect on CONGU Handicapping

Guide for Committees on the effect of 2019 Rules of Golf on CONGU Handicapping

Introduction

The new Rules of Golf come into effect on 1st January 2019 and the R&A/USGA have produced an Official Guide to the Rules of Golf containing the “Committee Procedures” which gives detailed advice to committees as regards the new rules.

Within the Committee Procedures there are certain aspects, particularly in competition play, where clubs may need guidance from their National Union and in particular from their Area Authority.  On certain occasions there will be an obligation to contact their handicapping authority; on others it will merely be a recommendation.

This document will guide Club Committees and support the guidance provided by their Unions.

Roles and Responsibilities

The roles and responsibilities of the Committee in respect of both competition golf and general play are fully set out in Section 1 of the Committee Procedures (clause 6 of the CONGU Manual).

The most important areas where the changes require reference to the National Union/Area Authority are:

  • Penalty Areas
  • Maximum score competitions
  • Alternative to stroke and distance
  • Teeing grounds

Penalty Areas

The Committee Procedures document gives guidance to the Committee when reviewing and/or amending penalty areas.  Clear guidance on what should or should not be marked, including how to mark it, can be found in Section 2c of the Committee Procedures.  Committees should pay particular attention to the advice given in Section 2c(1) regarding the challenge of the hole and architects design.  As Course Rating has already been carried out by the Union and scratch scores allocated, any additions or changes to their defined areas, other than to existing water, must be referred to the Area Authority for review by the course rating committee prior to implementation.

Maximum Score Competitions

This is a new form of medal play where a maximum score per hole is used and the methodology is explained in Section 5A(4) of the Committee Procedures.

Please Note:

  • Players should pick up when they reach the maximum score allocated.
  • A “no return” cannot be submitted as all incomplete holes will be credited with the maximum score.
  • Situations where disqualification might apply (e.g. teeing outside of the teeing ground not corrected) would incur the maximum score. See Rule 21.2c.
  • Under the CONGU® UHS the Maximum Score per hole will be defined as a number of shots over par (e.g. 5 over par which would be 10 on a Par 5, 9 on a Par 4 and 8 on a Par 3). A competition is eligible for handicapping when the value is set to 5 or more over par.  This is to ensure that no player, regardless of handicap, can be credited with less than Net Double Bogey on any hole.
  • The Net double bogey approach will still be used to generate a gross and net differential.

Alternative to Stroke and Distance

The Committee Procedures allow for the introduction of additional relief options when a ball is lost outside a penalty area or out of bounds, by way of Model Local Rule E-5. This local rule is appropriate for general play where golfers are playing casual rounds or playing their own competitions. Under the CONGU® Unified Handicapping System scores must not be submitted for handicap adjustment if this local rule is in place.  Where the Local Rule is in use for general play, the club must ensure they remind players it is not allowed when scores are to be submitted for handicap adjustment (Qualifying Competitions and Supplementary Scores).

Teeing Grounds

(This is covered by Sections 2B and 2E in Committee Procedures and under Clause 14 of the CONGU® UHS)

For guidance on where tee markers may be located, and which tees can be used in order for scores to be submitted for handicapping purposes, the committee must comply with the terms set out in Appendix A of the CONGU® UHS Manual.

If the committee wish to use different teeing areas to those of a measured course, they must consult with the Area Authority to establish a course rating for the course otherwise such use of teeing areas would render the competition non-qualifying for handicap purposes.

Model Local Rules (Section 8 of Committee Procedures)

A Local Rule is a modification of a Rule or an additional Rule that the Committee adopts for general play or for a particular competition. The Committee is responsible for deciding whether to adopt any Local Rules and for making sure they are consistent with the principles found in Section 8. The Committee needs to make sure that any Local Rules are available for players to see, whether on the scorecard, a separate handout, a notice board or the course’s website (though it would be unwise to utilise only the Website for such postings).

Any Local Rule which may have an effect on handicapping must be referred to the Area Authority for advice (for examples of unauthorised Local Rules, see Section 8L of Committee Procedures).

“As a general principle, when a player is playing a round that is to be posted for handicapping purposes, he or she is required to play it under the Rules of Golf. If the committee authorises players to play in ways that differ significantly from the Rules of Golf, the player will not be permitted to post the score for handicapping purposes and the handicapping system operating in the local jurisdiction must be consulted”.

Disqualification

There are various mentions of disqualification in the Committee Procedures, but the committee must ensure that disqualified scores conform with the definition in the CONGU® Manual and with Appendix P.

Preferred Lies and Cleaning the ball – Model Local Rules – E-2 and E-3

The purpose of preferred lies as described in Model Local Rule E-3 is to protect areas of the course cut to fairway height or less and Model Local Rule E-2 allows players to clean their ball in the general area.  Scores may be returned for handicap adjustments when these Local Rules are implemented.  It is recommended that the Local Rule permitting preferred lies in the general area where scores will not be accepted for handicapping purpose should only be used in extreme circumstances outside of the preferred lies period.

Pace of Play

It is recommended that a Committee should have a pace of play policy as part of its Local Rules (Section 4A(1) of the Committee Procedures).  However, it is recognised that enforcing the policy will be dependent on the resources available.  Guidance on how to implement Pace of Play can be found in Section 5G of the Committee Procedures.

Cancelled Rounds

Guidance on whether to cancel a round is given in the Committee Procedures Section 6E(4). If any players have completed their round before the competition is stopped then the rules for Abandoned Competitions, Clause 18.7 in the CONGU® Manual, will apply.

Dealing with Withdrawals

See Section 6G(3) in the Committee Procedures.  However, should a player retire for any reason during a round, he or she must report to the Committee who should consider the reason before recording a score. Clause 7 notes 1a and 1c in the CONGU® Manual provide advice for this.

 

CONGU

Who or what is CONGU?

CONGU is an acronym of the Council of National Golf Unions Limited, which is a company incorporated in England that is limited by Guarantee.

The objects of the Company are to hold the licence for the World Handicap System, to licence the National Governing Bodies to use the World Handicap System in their jurisdictions only, to undertake such duties as shall be allotted to it from time to time by the National Governing Bodies, and maintain contact between the National Governing Bodies.

The Board of Directors, who are Guarantors, comprise of two representatives from each of the Bodies representing England, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales together with two representatives from the R&A Rules Limited. In addition to this there is an appointed Chairman and a Secretary.

Whilst the Board has overall responsibility for the Handicap Licence, much of the detailed work is carried out by the National Governing Bodies, and by the Technical sub-Committee and Course Rating sub-Committee of CONGU.

History

First Steps

On 14th February 1924 The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of Andrews convened a conference in York attended by representatives of the four Men’s Golf Unions of Great Britain and Ireland. The outcome was the formation of The British Golf Unions Joint Advisory Committee, an organisation that later became The Council of National Unions, with the objectives of formulating a definitive system of calculating Scratch Scores and designing a uniform system of handicapping based on Scratch Scores.

The Committee duly prepared The Standard Scratch Score and Handicapping Scheme in 1925 and it became operational in Great Britain and Ireland from 1st March 1926 for male golfers.

The Ladies’ Golf Union (LGU) was formed in 1893 with one of its major objectives being to provide a national system of handicapping for ladies. Its handicapping system operated from then until 2004 and during that period the Ladies’ Golf Union was the Handicapping Authority for ladies in Great Britain and Ireland and for affiliated Overseas Unions and Associations.

Milestones and changes

On the 21st March 1960 the Committee’s name was changed to the Council of National Golf Unions (“CONGU”) comprising representatives of The English Golf Union, The Golfing Union of Ireland, The Scottish Golf Union, The Welsh Golfing Union and The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews
In 1983 CONGU introduced a new handicap scheme which drew on some aspects of the Australian system. The revision of 1989 introduced the concept of the ‘Competition Scratch Score’ (CSS) to adjust the Standard Scratch Score (SSS) to take into account variations in playing conditions, better or worse, on any competition day.

In the 1990’s the USGA Course Rating System was adopted by three of the four men’s Unions. The GUI, SGU and the WGU used it to rate their courses while the EGU opted to develop its own Course Rating system which remains in use although England Golf will start to rate courses for men under the USGA system from 2014. Other developments in the 1990’s included the Handicap allowances for Match Play. These had previously been included in the Appendices to the Rules of Golf but became part of the handicapping system. CONGU gave the Unions discretion to make the recommendations mandatory, which the GUI and SGU then did. They are now mandatory for all forms of golf recognised within the Rules of Golf. The variable buffer zone of one, two, three or four strokes, depending on handicap category was also added in the 1993 revision. In the 1997 revision the Stableford Points Adjustment (Clause 19) was introduced (for handicap purposes only) to deal with scores which were adversely affected by one or more particularly bad holes. Initially Unions were given discretion to apply this change but in 2001 it became mandatory for categories 2, 3 and 4.

The original LGU system was based on an average method rather than the incremental one of CONGU. In 1998 the Ladies’ Golf Union introduced a new handicapping system more similar to the system used by the men, the basis of which was that a player’s handicap should more closely reflect current playing ability and potential. In 2001, CONGU and the LGU agreed to work together, resulting in the emergence of the CONGU® Unified Handicap System (“UHS”). It was passed by CONGU in September 2003 and by the LGU in January 2004. The joint system for men and women became effective from 1st February 2004.

2004 to Present

The Constitution of CONGU was amended in 2004 to include the four Ladies’ Home Associations and the LGU, reflecting the joint system. On 1 January 2008 CONGU’s operations were transferred into a Company limited by guarantee, The Council of National Golf Unions Limited (“CONGU” or “CONGU LTD”). Golf is changing with the times and the traditional model of weekend club competitions for men and weekday/evening competitions for women is not sustainable in a modern society with increasing demands on family time. Recent changes to the CONGU® UHS have focussed on giving clubs the tools to enable them to offer their membership more opportunities to submit scores for handicapping purposes and to encourage clubs to adapt their club fixtures to reflect the changing golf environment and demographic trends. Supplementary Scores are now an integral part of the CONGU® UHS and Nine-Hole Qualifying Competitions are proving very popular in many clubs popular in many clubs particularly with senior golfers and within some women’s sections

The detail of the CONGU® UHS is copyrighted and the acronym CONGU is a registered Trademark in connection with all aspects of golf handicaps calculated and administered by the System.

Only Clubs and Organisations affiliated to one of the National Unions or Associations that govern amateur golf in Great Britain and Ireland (and other approved overseas organisations that have Affiliate status) are permitted to issue and maintain CONGU® Handicaps.

Overseas Affiliates

The following Countries/Organisations have elected to use the CONGU Unified Handicap System:
Kenya Golf Union, Ivory Coast Golf Federation, The Fajara Club – Gambia, Malta Golf Association, Tanzania and Zambia Ladies, British and Commonwealth Women’s Club of Brussels, Uganda Golf Union, Mauritius Golf Federation, Bahrain Golf Association, Sudan Golf Association, Saudi Arabian Golf Federation, Ghana Golf Association, Egypt Golf Federation, Qatar Golf Association, Botswana Golf Union.