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.

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