As our Governments reduce or repeal COVID restrictions, the advice from the Home Unions is changing in response.
The current advice is to remove situations where the touching of course furniture or score cards is not permitted, along with rule adjustments to accommodate this.
The new advice, as restrictions are lifted, is to once again allow those touchpoints – flagsticks may be touched/removed, bunker rakes are to be allowed and score cards can be exchanged once more. Accordingly, as each Home Union provides this updated advice, all adjustments to the rules (as set out on Page 2 onwards) are rescinded and play will be according to the Rules of Golf and Rules of Handicapping.
The updated advice on returning acceptable scores is shown below:
You can download a copy of the document by clicking on the download button below:
England Golf Independent Golfers – Update 25 May 2021
The latest update from England Golf states that they have finalised their offer to Independent golfers (non-members of golf clubs) of the opportunity to join a new digital community of golfers aligned to England Golf. This means:
Firstly, the scheme will be open to all golfers, with a home address in England, regardless of age.
Any golfer who has left a golf club within the last six months will not be eligible to join.
However, once outside this six-month period, any lapsed golf club members may be allocated a handicap index based on scores in the system dating back to January 2018.
The provisional launch date and opening for registration is early July.
Secondly, following online registration for an annual subscription of £40, golfers will receive:
A World Handicap System handicap index
Personal liability insurance
Access to the ‘My England Golf’ app to post scores, track progress and engage with friends.
Thirdly, Independent Golfers will not be allowed to compete in County and National events, these remaining open to golf club members only.
If clubs wish to create an independent golfer-only competition or, alternatively, integrate them into some or all the existing club competitions; this would be at their discretion.
Fourthly, England Golf will carry out all administration duties so there will not be any extra work for clubs or counties.
They will ensure that the integrity of the handicap system will be maintained through a robust system of checks and balances. These include:
Processes on the app
Setting up of a national independent golfer handicap committee
Educating on rules of handicapping, rules of golf and etiquette
Opportunity for peer review
Fifthly, for any clubs which choose to actively engage with Independent Golfers who have joined the scheme, a process will be put in place for them to notify England Golf of opportunities they wish to promote to these golfers. This may, for example, include the following:
Green fee promotions
Competition and event entry, or
Club membership offers.
England Golf will communicate directly with golfers interested in exploring these offers and provide a platform to share details.
Further guidance will follow around what this could mean for clubs, points to consider and how the programme will work.
Sixthly, England Golf have said that any surplus revenue generated from this scheme will be re-invested back into our game and the areas of investment may include:
Special projects funding for golf clubs
Women and girls’ participation
Support for disability and minority groups
Lastly, England Golf will publish further updates during June 2021.
You can read a full version of this update by Clicking Here or download a full copy of this update by clicking on the Download Button below:
You can also keep in touch with any new updates by following them on:
I have a correction to make to my information that I sent you in the 26th April Newsletter, ‘New insurance benefits exclusively available to England Golf Members’, regarding the MyEG App.,
It has been pointed out to me, by a subscriber, that I said you could now ‘enter your competition score’ via the App.
This is not strictly accurate.
The MyEG App only allows you to pre-register and post scores from general play rounds at any rated course in England via the ‘My England Golf App. It does not allow you to submit scores for any organised Club Competitions.
Please accept my apologies for any confusion I may have caused.
‘Why do we now have two different calculation systems dependant upon whether we are in GB&I or elsewhere? The RandA handicap calculator has a bizarre statement “with course rating minus par” …or “without……….” [for GB&I].
I thought the WORLD handicapping System was meant to bring us all together??
If you go to the USGA handicap tables, they are markedly different from the RandA calculations. That won’t confuse anybody will it?
And as for the 95% issue for Strokeplay and stableford….give me strength!
So an American and a Brit playing on a course in Turkey (covid-permitting), may have the same handicap index but different playing handicaps. To misquote Churchill : “Two countries separated by a common handicapping system!”’
With reference to:
‘Why do we now have two different calculation systems dependant upon whether we are in GB&I or elsewhere? The RandA handicap calculator has a bizarre statement “with course rating minus par” …or “without……….” [for GB&I]., and
‘So an American and a Brit playing on a course in Turkey (covid-permitting), may have the same handicap index but different playing handicaps. To misquote Churchill : “Two countries separated by a common handicapping system!”’
Your Handicap Index is calculated in exactly the same way as for all players worldwide, all Handicap Indexes are therefore comparable. It is not dependent upon the jurisdiction in which the Handicap Index was allocated. A 14.7 Handicap Index in the US is the same as a 14.7 Handicap Index in England, Spain or Turkey.
Differences, however, do arise in the Calculation of Course Handicaps depending on the location of the course being played, because some jurisdictions have not adopted the WHS in toto.
The R&A Course Handicap Calculator offers you an opportunity to see what a Course Handicap might be at different courses that you may like to play.
Depending on where you are playing your round and/or who you are playing with – you may or may not be required to include Course Rating and Par in this calculation. Check with the golf club, the Committee, or the Authorised Association.
When you use the R&A Course Handicap Calculator, determine the location of the course you wish to play.
From the location, determine whether Course Rating minus Par is used:
Without Course Rating minus Par – (GB&I)
With Course Rating minus Par – (Rest of the World bar Australia)
Australia uses the Course Rating minus Par but then applies a 0.93 Multiplier so the R&A Calculator will not work for Australian Courses.
So, using the example above, the R&A Course Handicap Calculator:
Choose between a 9-Hole Round and an 18-Hole Round
Choose with Course Rating minus Par for your Course in Turkey
Enter, Handicap Index, Course Rating, Par and Slope for your Course, if you do not know them Select the ‘Look Up’ Option
Select ‘Calculate’ once you have entered all the information.
Hey Presto! You will find that both players will play off the same Course Handicap for the same course.
RE: ‘And as for the 95% issue for Strokeplay and stableford….give me strength!’
The whole idea of Handicap Allowances is to provide a fair and equitable way of determining winners in competitions, they do not affect scores submitted for Handicap Purposes
Under the WHS, equity is now based on a top 10% finish, previously it was a top 25% finish. In singles match play, the previous Handicap System slightly favoured the lower handicap player, however it is closer to 50/50 equity with the WHS.
For four-ball and other team formats, the handicap allowances have been slightly reduced to offset the increase in standard equity for individual formats. Essentially, a slight increase in equity for singles match play, as mentioned above, results in a higher handicap player having an advantage in team events. As a result, a reduction in most team formats is appropriate.
Today, a larger number of scores and/or simulations, than previously used, have been used to determine and validate the handicap allowances used in the WHS because of the access to much more data, worldwide, the USGA and R&A were able to generate handicap allowances that met the desired equity.
Previous handicap allowances were validated in the early 2000’s, however no significant changes were warranted at the time. With the opportunity to run completely new tests for handicap allowances with updated scoring data, the R&A and USGA have been able to determine the best handicap allowances to use in the current playing environment.
The WHS is a sound and fair handicapping system, based largely on the USGA system that has proved popular and stood the test of time, having been in operation for over 40 years.
My advice is to work with the system and don’t try to overthink it.
Go out, experience your golf on different courses and most of all enjoy playing it.
CONGU have published an update to the Rules of Handicapping as Applied to GB&I.
This revision replaces the advice for Mixed Foursomes regarding the non-application of Adjustments for different Tees so they use the same approach as for any other mixed tee foursomes and Adjustments are applied when there are differences in Course Ratings/Par between courses being played
You can download a copy of the Revised Publication by clicking on the download button below:
This post may be a little academic at this time of a Third Lockdown and Golf Courses being closed in England, Wales and Ireland (Scotland remaining open), but I have received a number of emails over the last few weeks concerning the WHS and Winter Handicaps, Winter Tees, Winter Courses and Winter Rules.
The most common problem has been where Clubs have not rated their Winter Tees, because of their temporary nature, but wish to run competitions on these courses.
Added to this is is the fact that Club Handicap Software will not offer the option for winter handicaps under the WHS.
It is the intention of the national federations that there is a 12-month handicapping season. WHS allows for the return of scores less than 18 holes, when a club designates some unplayable, for example due to wet conditions or lack of light. Handicap Software Systems have guidelines allowing for shortened holes and winter tees. PCC (the new equivalent to CSS) is designed to account for daily playing conditions and handicaps are calculated against this, not the course rating (the new equivalent to SSS) or par.
Your Club will still be able organise non-qualifying competitions and process these through your Handicap Software for publication.
The World Handicap System states that acceptable scores for handicap purposes should be posted throughout the year.
However, this is not really feasible when winter courses are in play, especially courses which are not sand-based; the advice is that when course conditions are poor then it is not reasonable to be submitting qualifying (Acceptable) scores.
Regardless of the season, acceptable scores can only be submitted on a rated course (which would include a temporary rating where necessary).
If a Club does not have such a course, for whatever reason and a common one now is that Winter Tees have not been rated, then clearly such scores cannot be submitted.
Appendix G of the Rules of Handicapping is solely for when there are temporary adjustments to a course for reasons such as emergency maintenance on a tee etc. and does not include a winter course.
So, if a club wants to offer Acceptable Scores during the winter period when winter tees are in use, then the course being played needs to have a rating, whether that is a full rating or a temporary rating.
A Club must apply for this rating and it is up to the appropriate County to provide this service (albeit at their convenience – they are all volunteers!).
Whilst the aim is to allow submission of Acceptable Scores all year, a level of realism is required on courses that are clearly sub-standard due to weather conditions (as they would have been in previous years).
This situation may not just be for winter, it would not be unreasonable, even in the Summer playing season, that a club could prevent the return of Acceptable scores (competition and social/General Play) if the course is not in a good condition – examples of this could be when the greens have been hollow-tined or heavily top dressed.
Until a Course Rating has been issued a Club may only run Non-acceptable Competitions.
To sum up:
Acceptable Scores – Winter Competitions
To run Competitions and want scores to be acceptable for Handicap Purposes:
Competitions must be run over 9 or 18 Holes.
Rounds must be played in accordance with Rule 2.1 of the Rules of Handicapping Page 26.
Preferred lies are allowable under the guidance below.
Scaling up is allowed in accordance with Rule 3.2 of the Rules of Handicapping (Page 36/37).
If a Club cannot run Competitions that are acceptable for Handicap Purposes, it can still run Non-acceptable Competitions that can be set up using Club Software or Manually to record Scores and Winners.
The following procedure is quite permissible, and several Clubs are following similar ones.
Non-Acceptable Scores – Winter Competitions
To run Competitions where scores are not acceptable for Handicap Purposes, but where results can be processed, a neutral slope of 113 and a Course rating equal to the Par of the holes being played can be used.
This will mean a Chart to generate the Course Handicap is not required (i.e., your Course Handicap is your rounded Handicap Index). The scores cannot be Acceptable for handicap purposes, but it does allow non-qualifying competitions to be run during this period (lockdown notwithstanding).
If your Club uses Software to run the competition you can follow the guidelines within the software to cater for unrated courses.
If your Club runs its competitions manually, you can use the Handicap Index as the basis for the calculation of a Course Handicap and/or Playing Handicap which should then be adjusted relative to the number of holes being played.
Guidance on the Preferred Lies Period
Preferred Lies – Model Local Rules E-2 and E-3.
In England, Wales and Scotland the Preferred Lies Period runs from 1st October to 30th April while in Ireland, the Preferred Lies period is from November 1st to April 30th.
Clubs can run competitions where scores are acceptable for handicapping purposes during this period when both Model Local Rule E-2 and E-3 are in force.
It is recommended that a Local Rule permitting preferred lies in the general area outside of the preferred lies period should be used only in extreme circumstances where scores will not be accepted for handicapping purpose (WHS Guidance document Appendix H).
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. This Model Local Rule allows players to lift, clean and place the ball within six inches in the General Area cut to fairway height. It is recommended that the ball should be marked before lifting. The ball must be placed in the relief area within six inches of the reference point.
However, it is not recommended that this Rule is routinely adopted for the General Area as a whole because it could give a player an unfair advantage by offering her/him free relief from an unplayable lie, e.g., a ball located behind a tree or under a bush.
There is another Model Local Rule, E-2, that may be adopted which allows balls to be cleaned in the General Area when conditions such as wet ground throughout parts of the course may cause mud to stick to the ball.
The purpose of Model Local Rule E-2 is to allow players to clean the ball in the general area (which would include the Rough) when conditions throughout parts of the course cause mud to stick to the ball. This allows the ball to be cleaned and replaced and should be limited to those parts of the course where needed, not to the whole course. The ball must be marked before lifting and cleaning and must be replaced on its original spot before playing.
During the Preferred Lie period scores may not be returned for handicapping purposes if any of the following local rules or restrictions apply: –
Preferred lies in the general area or where the relief area exceeds 6 inches.
The ball is lifted from the fairway and placed or dropped in the semi-rough
The competition is over less than 18 holes but is not a 9 hole competition
If the competition is played using winter tees or greens and a temporary modification to the course and slope ratings has not been approved by the area authority
Where the use of fairway mats does not follow the rules provided in the WHS Guidance document Appendix H GH/2.
I hope this offers some help and guidance for those of you trying to work through the Winter Period and organise competitive Golf Competitions
England Golf have issued guidelines on Winter Golf, England Golf Winter Golf Checklist which you can read below or download a copy by clicking on the Download Button below:
You can download a copy of this advice by clicking on the link below:
Will Golf Courses in England Re-Open After 2 December 2020?
Now we all hope that courses will re-open on 3rd December, or as soon as possible after that and give us some respite from Lockdown-2 in England.
There may be some light on the horizon, if common sense prevails and it does not put lives at risk.
A forthcoming debate by the UK Government may offer us some sort of promise, but we should know more by Monday evening.
England Golf has confirmed that the UK government will debate the petition that was delivered to it ‘Exempt golf courses from the list of venues required to close due to Covid-19’, which attracted over 250,000 signatures, on Monday 23 November.
As you know, Golf courses in England have been closed since Thursday 5th November, when we started a four-week national lockdown.
That was despite arguments being put forward by England Golf, members of the golfing industry and the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Golf.
England Golf has said that it wholeheartedly supports the views of the petition, details of which you can read by clicking here, that golf courses should be allowed to remain open through this current lockdown, enabling golfers of all ages to continue playing golf and to exercise safely.
England Golf, however, has also acknowledged that there is no guarantee of courses re-opening on 3rd December,
Jeremy Tomlinson, England Golf CEO, said, “We know the benefits our sport can provide for both mental and physical health at this time of isolation and hope the government can recognise this during the upcoming debate and support golf’s return to playing,”.
“Earlier this year, the game of golf was able to clearly demonstrate that it could be enjoyed in a COVID-safe way, which is why it was one of the first sports to return once restrictions were lifted.
“This was a privilege that the sport took incredibly seriously and accordingly adopted the highest possible standards to keep participants safe.
“Our sport has come together in one voice during this difficult year and it’s thanks to the support of our members, clubs and counties, as well as our collaboration with the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Golf.”
Don’t get too despondent if the decision is not the one we would want
On a lighter note,
England Golf have Released a MyEG Mobile App.
My England Golf (MyEG) will allow golfers to stay up to date with their Handicap Index as part of the World Handicap System (WHS).
The app, available now to download for free in Apple and Google Play stores, follows on from the official transition on 2 November to the new WHS for the 1,800 golf clubs and 630,000 golfers across England.
England Golf has created the app to provide golfers with the ability to access their Handicap Index on the go, as well as to easily keep track of their overall playing record on a regular basis.
A Course Handicap calculator is another unique feature of the new My England Golf app.
This function will allow golfers to cross-reference their Handicap Index with whichever set of tees they will be playing from on a particular day, for any course in the country, in order to work out their Course Handicap.
You can read more about MyEG App and how to download it by clicking on the MyEG App link below:
Addendum to Last Post on Recording Gross Score against Course or Player Handicap
A reader commented on my mention of Stableford and Maximum Score formats relating to England Golf and not other jurisdictions.
I must thank him for bringing it to my attention and hope I have not caused any confusion for anyone.
The reason I mentioned that my comments related to England is that, although I do try and advise on all jurisdictions (worldwide) I do concentrate on England and have to remember that some of my readers are from other countries and I could easily confuse them if I don’t qualify some of my points.
Although the WHS is supposed to be worldwide, not all of its features have been adopted by some Countries.
My comments therefore on Stableford and Maximum Score formats do alsoapply to Wales, Scotland and Ireland.
However, unlike England, Scotland and Wales, it is Ireland’s intention to trial the inclusion of some match play events into handicapping and to also include some Four Ball Better-Ball scores in situations where the returned scores are better than a target expectation for this format of play.
Where scores returned in match play or four-ball formats are Acceptable Scores there is a need for calculating a ‘Most Likely Score’ when a player starts a hole but does not hole out.
So in Ireland, when using a ‘Most Likely Score’ a player must still bear in mind the score that would be recorded compared to a Net Double Bogey against their Course Handicap.,
NOTE: This will not be in use for the rest of GB&I, although it is part of the WHS and in use in the rest of the world.
Something, no doubt, England Golf will review that situation in the future.
Golf Ireland will issue details of the inclusion of match play and 4BBB in due course, but at the moment these formats are not acceptable in England or Scotland.