Mobile Score Input – Update

Mobile Score Input – Update

We were informed, by England Golf, in August 2022, that a World Handicap System scheme has launched allowing golfers across the UK to submit their scores online via a Mobile Scoring App when playing outside their respective countries.

A pilot scheme allowing golfers in England, Scotland, Ireland, and Wales to put in scores when playing across their respective countries has gone live.

Nearly two years after its launch, players across the Home Nations, in GB&I, can finally submit their scores via their jurisdiction’s App on a Mobile Device.

The project, being shepherded by England Golf and Scottish Golf on behalf of the R&A and USGA, means you should now be able to easily submit scores from rounds played and submitted in one country to your WHS record.

It’s been one of the weaknesses since the system launched in November 2020 that players have had to go through a convoluted process if they wanted to, for example, have general play scores from Scottish courses count towards their English handicaps.

But, Richard Flint, England Golf’s chief operating officer, said the ability to automatically transfer scores is now possible across the home nations – and the governing body is hoping to soon add more countries across the world.

“We feel we’re in a good place with WHS, but there’s more that can be done,” “Interoperability is another thing we’re conscious of and we’re really pleased with Ireland, Scotland, and Wales, that we now have that in place across borders in terms of handicap lookup and submitting scores through GB&I.

“That’s been the test case for the rest of the world and so we’re really eager that we can take that on and have that interoperability with the rest of the world because then it is truly a worldwide handicap system.”

But how many of you had the experience when you tried to submit your score of being presented with a blank screen, suggesting nothing had changed.

If you’re a member of an English club, for example, and have played a round in Scotland and want it to count towards your handicap, what do you have to do?

A score has to be entered by the host venue into the WHS platform. Scores still cannot be posted by the MyEG App when played outside England.

Although software companies have been given the specification to develop a link, they are only at a testing stage for Mobile Devices.

This is not ideal, but it’s probably less of a nuisance than what you had to do before, where you had to tell your own club you were going to put in a score, then tell the host club, give your card to that club when the round was over so that you knew the PCC, if one was applied, take a copy of that card and return it to your own club, who would finally submit the score to the WHS platform.

In time, you should be able to enter your scores into your Mobile App and in the club computer at the course you are playing, in the same way that you would do at your home Club when playing a competition or putting in a general play score.

New regulations for the returning of General Play Scores

The GB&I Golfing governing bodies have introduced new regulations for the returning of General Play Scores for the purpose of “Safeguarding Handicap Integrity”.

These regulations stipulate a maximum distance that the player can be from the club when a round is pre-registered, and a score is returned using a mobile device. They are also stipulating a minimum duration between pre-registration and score submission.

These distance/time limits are as follows for the different home unions:

  • England 2 Miles/3.2km – minimum 1 hour for 9 holes, 2 hours for 18
  • Ireland 1.86 Miles 3Km – minimum 1 hour for 9 holes, 2 hours for 18
  • Scotland 1 Mile/1.6Km – minimum 45 minutes for 9 holes, 1 hour 30 minutes for 18
  • Wales 1.86 Miles/3Km – minimum 1 hour for 9 holes, 2 hours for 18

“Pre-Registration” equals “Sign-In”.

Reviewing and Adjusting a Player’s Handicap Index

Reviewing and Adjusting a Player’s Handicap Index

The WHS has been 10 years in its development, based on the USGA system that has been in use for over 50 years, it will be an excellent system for managing handicaps.

I say ‘will’ because although it launched in GB&I in November 2020, because of the COVID-19 Pandemic it really didn’t get up and running until July 2021, which means it has only been running for 8-9 months.

Because it is an average-based system it works best the more data input it has; because it has only been running for a short period of time, the data for GB&I is limited and so some anomalies with players’ Handicap Indexes may occur. Given time these anomalies should be resolved or sort themselves out naturally.

It is not helped, in GB&I, by players not being required to submit all scores and so we must put up with these anomalies until the System has been running for a year or two.

Unfortunately, some Committees are trying to adjust Handicap Indexes for what they see with players who win competitions regularly. This is not the way to go about it because, in doing this frequently and only for a few players, they are manipulating the system for their own devices and could be providing players with a Handicap Index that may not be an accurate representation of their current playing ability.

Committees must also be aware that any review of Handicap Indexes must also consider any player whose Playing Ability may be declining.

Perhaps Committees would spend their time better in encouraging players to submit more scores, which would include General Play scores as well as ‘qualifying’ competition scores.

Under the WHS, there is a responsibility for your Handicap Committee to ensure that players’ allocated Handicap Indexes correctly represent their current level of playing ability. They must perform an Annual Review every year between 1st October and 31st March.

However, at any time that they feel, or are informed, that your Handicap Index may be incorrect, often indicated by your rapid improvement or decline in performance in competitions, then they can conduct a review of your Handicap Index before the Annual Review.

The circumstances under which a Committee may review your Handicap Index are outlined under Rule 7 of the Rules of Handicapping and there is a correct procedure for reviewing and adjusting your Handicap Index which must be followed and is given in Appendix D of the Rules of Handicapping.

All adjustments must be made through the WHS Platform.

ADJUSTING A HANDICAP INDEX

If your Handicap Index does not reflect your demonstrated playing ability your Handicap Committee should conduct a handicap review. Using all available evidence, including handicap software and reporting for analysis, the Handicap Committee may adjust or freeze your Handicap Index. Your Handicap Committee should continue to monitor your scoring record and further adjust the Handicap Index if needed. An adjustment to your Handicap Index must be, at minimum, a one stroke difference from their current Handicap Index. This adjustment must not last for longer than a one-year period. The Handicap Index will be identified with the letter “M” (e.g., 16.3M).

ADJUSTING A LOW HANDICAP INDEX

When your Handicap Index has been adjusted or frozen by your Handicap Committee, it may impact your Low Handicap Index value, thus potentially triggering a soft cap or hard cap. Your Handicap Committee should review and consider resetting your Low Handicap Index to a new value unless a lower Handicap Index value becomes eligible. An adjustment to your Low Handicap Index must be, at minimum, a one stroke difference from your current Low Handicap Index. This adjustment must not last for longer than a one-year period. Your Handicap Committee should continue to monitor your scoring record and further adjust the Low Handicap Index value if needed. An adjusted Low Handicap Index will be identified with the letter “M” (e.g., 15.0M)

Clicking on the links below will take you to the relevant references in the Rules of Handicapping:

Committee Actions (randa.org) – Rule 7

The R&A – Appendix D – Handicap Review (randa.org)

England Golf have also produced a Guide to Conducting a Handicap Review, which you can read below or download a copy by clicking on the Download Button.

 

Correction to Information Re MyEG App

Correction to Information Re MyEG App

Apologies,

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.

Tony

New insurance benefits exclusively available to England Golf members

23 APR 2021

New insurance benefits exclusively available to England Golf members

England Golf, in partnership with insurance brokers Bluefin Sport, have launched ‘My Golf Insurance’ – a new range of benefits available exclusively to members.

England Golf automatically provides £10,000,000 personal liability insurance for all members of an affiliated club.

But, this automatic cover does not provide any insurance cover for your equipment, personal accident or hole in one insurance.

The new ‘My Golf Insurance’ product allows England Golf members the option to supplement their England Golf membership personal liability cover as well as insuring against other exposures, including financial protection for golf equipment, personal accident, and other benefits which can be found at My Golf Insurance.

The ‘My Golf Insurance’ product is underwritten by Chubb European Group SE, and is available to all England Golf affiliated members from Friday 23rd April 2021. Premiums range from £19.04 to £33.60 a year, dependent upon the level of cover you choose.

Exclusive to England Golf members, all cover options under the ‘My Golf Insurance’ will include up to £500 for third party property damage claims. This complements the £10,000,000 liability cover already provided by England Golf and effectively means that no policy excess would be applicable should an individual golfer be proven negligent for third party property damage in the UK. (There is no excess for injury to Third Parties).

The cover also includes a number of bespoke extensions such as, no age limit on the personal accident coverage, new for old equipment coverage, theft of equipment whilst unattended at a golf club, and more.

To find out more visit My Golf Insurance

“We’re thrilled to have helped design an insurance product with Chubb which will provide additional value for England Golf’s members, allowing them to purchase a range of extra covers. We have been working on this product for some time carrying out extensive market research and are pleased to be able to provide this tailored insurance to England Golf’s members, which we believe to be market leading in coverage and competitively priced to complement the liability protection provided already to England Golf members.” Daniel Thompson – Bluefin Sport.

England Golf – COVID-19 Update 28 January 2021

The All-Party Parliamentary Group for Golf is fighting our corner and continues to make a case for Golf being a safe form of exercise and to resume as soon as possible, outlining the rationale behind their arguments.

The report states that golf has the same health benefits as walking, cycling, and running and, with the uncrowded nature of golf courses and strict protocols provided, risk of transmission during golf is lower than these other health enhancing physical activities.

If scientific evidence is to be applied logically and consistently, golf should be permitted to return during the current phase of national lockdown (which commenced on 4 January 2021).

The report also puts forward practices and procedures for the safe management of golfing facilities during COVID-19 restrictions which have been been enhanced to reflect the new variant and national lockdown.

During National Lockdown, or Tiers higher than 4:

  • Persons from one household should be permitted to play together.
  • Two adults from different households may play, while children under 12 from these households should be permitted.
  • 2 metres + (aiming for 3 metres) should be adhered to for members of different households.
  • 4 markings should be placed adjacent to the tees 3 metres apart, highlighting appropriate social distancing • Travel to venue must be local (in keeping with wider guidance re exercise)

The report also sets out operational guidance for golf facility owners, professional and administrative staffs engaged in the management of golf courses, clubs and driving ranges when COVID-19 restrictions are in force in the Nations and Regions of the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland.

It emphasises the point that it is essential that golfing facilities operate safely, meeting the sporting, physical activity and mental wellbeing needs of patrons, while abiding, at all times, by prevailing government public health restrictions.

In response to this, England Golf released the following COVID-19 Update yesterday

‘In response to the latest national lockdown and the government making clear it intends to maintain its “science first” approach in their decision-making process, the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Golf has updated its “COVID-19 Secure Golf in the United Kingdom” paper.

This now includes greater evidence and rationale from leading experts to again make the case for the sport to make an early return.

The updated document, titled “COVID-19 Secure Golf in the United Kingdom 2021“, has been informed independently by epidemiologist and Principal Advisor on Physical Activity for Health to the four United Kingdom Chief Medical Officers, Professor Charlie Foster and Chief Medical Officer to the European Tour, Consultant in Sport and Exercise Medicine at the University of Edinburgh, Dr Andrew Murray.

Letters have been sent to the Prime Minister and the Chief Medical Officers in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales enclosing copies.

The paper showcases the steps taken by those in the golf industry to ensure players’ and staff safety by meeting the various COVID protocols, as well as the commitment to continue this and be able to recognise and adapt to the changing circumstances linked to the virus.

It goes on to cite academic and scientific research that clearly demonstrate the link between physical activity and physical and mental wellbeing, including supporting the immune system and helping fight disease.

Professor Charlie Foster commented on the paper: “As the paper shows, golf can be played safely, and it should have a central role in the government’s thinking when it comes to helping people exercise now and as we come out of pandemic restrictions.

“I have therefore recommended that an expert in physical activity join the SAGE advisory group to ensure there is consistency across the sciences represented within it, and to provide advice on allowing physical activity to return as restrictions are reduced.”

Dr Andrew Murray added: “Regular physical activity is one of the best things you can do for your health adding years to life, and having many mental and physical health benefits, be that through – for example – walking, cycling, running or golf.

“Golf’s careful planning and compliance with COVID-19 tiers and regulation means its level of transmission from playing is likely to be extremely low, much lower than indoor space, or more populated outdoor areas.

“This is supported by the various scientific research the paper cites and I encourage those in SAGE and in government to review those as I am sure they will conclude that golf is similar to walking, running and cycling in being beneficial, and is safe to play with the relevant protocols in place.”

The Group’s Chair, North Warwickshire MP Craig Tracey said: “It is entirely understandable for government to utilise scientific advice available when creating its strategy, but it is equally important for that scientific evidence to be applied evenly.

“With the help of Professor Foster and Dr Murray, this paper provides that scientific evidence and demonstrates that golf can be played safely with the various enhanced protocols appropriate for the new variants.

“I am grateful to them and all the bodies in the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Golf for their hard work on preparing this thorough paper.

“Again we have been clearly able to make the case that golf is ready, willing and able to return safely at the earliest possible opportunity.”

So keep your fingers crossed and an eye on the press.

Stay safe and well

Tony

England Golf COVID-19 Restrictions – Update 14 October 2020

England Golf COVID-19 Restrictions update 14 October 2020

Coronavirus FAQs on the return of golf

Last updated:  Wednesday 14 October (impact of three-tier system on clubhouses, actions following a golfer/staff member testing positive for Covid-19)

Q- What is the government advice on travel in relation to ‘very high risk’ (Tier 3) areas?

A- Golfers from a very high-risk area (Tier 3) should avoid travelling outside their locality. Travelling into a very high-risk area for the purposes of golf should be avoided. Golfers should avoid staying overnight in another part of the UK if resident in a very high alert level area, or avoid staying overnight in a very high alert level area if resident elsewhere.

Q – Can clubhouses reopen for access to indoor bar and catering facilities?

A – The regulations now vary depending on the local Covid-19 alert status of your area.

In areas of ‘medium’ risk (Tier 1), indoor bar and catering facilities within clubhouses may open provided strict guidelines on safety and social distancing are observed. From September 24, clubhouses with food and beverage facilities must close by 10pm and are not permitted to open before 5am. From this date clubs must provide table service only or serve take away for consumption off the premises.

In ‘high risk’ areas (Tier 2), the above rules apply with the additional restriction that people must not socialise with anybody outside of their household or support bubble in any indoor setting.

In ‘very high-risk’ areas (Tier 3), pubs and bars must close. They can only remain open where they operate as if they were a restaurant, which means serving substantial meals, such as a main lunchtime or evening meal. They may only serve alcohol as part of such a meal.

Full guidance for clubs operating in high-risk areas (Tier 2) can be found here

Full guidance for clubs operating in very high-risk areas (Tier 3) can be found here

England Golf has also issued clubs with a checklist and framework to assist with the safe reopening of bar and catering facilities where it is permissible to do so.

Q – What procedures should a club follow if a golfer/staff member returns a positive test for Covid-19?

A  – Best practice guidance on this subject can be found here

The following links are for details of England Golf’s Recommendations for those areas in High Risk and Very High Risk Categories.

By clicking on the links, you will be able to download copies of those recommendations, which like all the recommendations will be regularly updated as conditions and advice change.

  • England Golf Advice for those areas in Tier 2 COVID-19 Restrictions

  • England Golf Advice for those areas in Tier 3 COVID-19 Restrictions

World Handicap System 2020 – Data Requirement 29 September 2020

World Handicap System 2020 – Data Requirement 29 September 2020

Well, just over 4 weeks to go before the World Handicap System launches in GB&I on Monday 2 November 2020.

It has been a difficult time for Golf Clubs to prepare for this launch, but I hope they have run through their WHS Checklist and have everything in place for a smooth transition.

In preparation for the launch of the World Handicap System (WHS) England Golf have sent communications to support all golf clubs with their transition to the WHS. This notice outlines the necessary steps to ensure that your Golf Club’s handicapping software and member data is prepared for launch on Monday 2 November 2020.

Golf clubs in England must provide two key pieces of information to ensure their members obtain a handicap index for the start of the WHS on 2 November.

    • A member’s email address
    • A member’s date of birth

*This information should be logged on golf club handicapping software systems by 5 October 2020 in preparation for it to be transferred across to the central WHS database.*

Without this information, golf club members will not receive a handicap index when the transition from the current CONGU handicapping system to WHS takes place.

It is advisable that every member has her/his own personal Email Address, this will help England Golf to identify and prevent duplicate CDH entries.

England Golf will be moving to a higher integrity level of handicapping for and on behalf of its affiliated members with the introduction of WHS.

The initial transfer of information is required to ensure player identification and to eliminate the duplication of handicap records.

Ongoing communication with affiliated members will be for handicap purposes and will be fully compliant with GDPR regulations.

Junior members without an email address of their own may use an email address of a parent or guardian. SafeGolf procedures as well as GDPR regulations remain of paramount importance in such cases.

If you are concerned about providing this information to England Golf and wonder why they require it and how they are going to use it, you can download a copy of the Data FAQs by clicking on the Download Button below:

Please co-operate with your Club as much as you can, they have a difficult job to do.

Stay Safe and Play Safe

Enjoy your golf,

Tony

National Organisation Affiliation Fees

National Organisation Affiliation Fees

Personal Liability Insurance

It’s great to see so many of you out there playing golf, not just regular golfers but new golfers and some coming back into the fold.

I thought I would steer away from COVID-19 for a while and let you know something that not many of you may know about.

During the early part of Lockdown some members of golf Clubs cancelled their subscriptions and some Golf Clubs, to help their cash flow approached their National Organisations requesting a possible refund of affiliation fees.

Some, like Scottish Golf and Wales Golf, offered help:

Scottish Golf announced that it was inviting clubs to apply for a refund of up to 25% on their total 2019/20 affiliation fee invoice as part of an immediate financial commitment of more than half a million pounds.

Golf clubs in Wales were being given a five-month affiliation fee ‘holiday’ by the country’s national governing body to help offset estimates losses of £5.6million brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The way in which affiliation fees are collected does differ between nations and there are differences between the nations as to how the affiliation fee is spent which makes many golfers ask the question are affiliation fees good value?

In England, the situation with England Golf is, and this is my only experience:

As part of your club membership subscription you pay an annual affiliation fee to your National Golf Organisation, in the case of England this is England Golf. This will be £9.50 in 2020.

The following explains how England Golf uses the fee to benefit both you and the game of golf.

  1. Obtain your handicap and authoritative advice: England Golf administers the CONGU handicap system and calculates and assign members’ handicaps, as well as adjudicate on queries.
  2. Experience first-class competitions: Over 6,500 England Golf members of all ages and abilities compete in their 55 club, regional and national championship events every year.
  3. Invest in elite amateur performing at the highest level: England Golf provides the very best coaching, competitive opportunities and funding for 150 regional and 50 national squad players.
  4. Protect players and the sport’s reputation: England Golf keeps our sport safe, managing all safeguarding and disciplinary cases for the amateur game.
  5. Help golf clubs thrive and grow: England Golf supports golf clubs to get more people playing golf. Last year this work introduced an additional 250,000 people to the game, which resulted in 17,000 new memberships.
  6. Get great golfing benefits and discounts: Every England Golf member can take advantage of their ever-growing range of their exclusive offers, discounts and prize-draws by registering with our My England Golf programme.

Amongst these benefits is one that Golf Clubs do not always tell their members about and that is Personal Liability Insurance

As of 1 July 2019, every member is provided with £10m personal liability insurance as part of their affiliation to England Golf.

England Golf is working with specialist insurance broker Bluefin Sport to provide this cover, which is underwritten by Allianz.

It provides personal liability insurance for golf club members in the event that they are held liable for injuring someone or causing serious property damage at a golf facility.

The cover is provided for members playing at any club in the UK. There is no excess in respect of personal injury claims, and just a £500 excess in respect of damage to third party property.

In the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak all golf clubs should be aware that insurance provided free to members via the England Golf affiliation fee is not valid during this period of course closure.

You can read the Insurance FAQs by clicking here or downloading a copy by clicking on the button below:

Enjoy your golf and Stay Safe and Play Safe

Tony