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.
Some clubs buried their heads in the sand while others grabbed the Bull by the Horns and went for it, not only allocating Club Handicaps to existing members but changing Conditions of Competitions and introducing new Competitions to embrace them.
Because in 2016 Club Handicaps were not Competition Handicaps players were restricted from playing in some competitions, Club Championships for example, but Clubs got around the problem by creating another division within each Section. mixed events were sealt with on on an event by event basis.
Handicaps were processed normally as recommended by CONGU guidelines.
As you can see these recommendations now come into force on 1st January 2018, it will be plain sailing for those Clubs who had the foresight to introduce the recommendations but for those other Clubs it will be hard work for a few weeks for both Handicap and Competiton Committees.
Many arguments will be raised about allowing higher handicappers to compete in competitons, how will members react, threat of a slower pace of play, winning by ‘huge’ margins etc. There ia no single answer to therse questions because circumstances differ from Club to Club.
Take a look at my Club Handicaps Page and let me know your thoughts or experiences that you have had at your own Golf Club.
My next post will be on the next CONGU change to Supplementary Scores.