Integrity in the World Handicap System is a huge issue for our members. So what do they, and we, need to do to increase confidence? Gemma Hunter, England Golf’s head of handicapping and course rating, hands out some tips… Some people cheat. There will always be those who try and gain an unfair advantage. We might convince ourselves that golf is on a higher plane of integrity when it comes to sport – and it is true that principles of fair play are paramount for so many of our members – but some will always try to play the system. So why should the World Handicap System be any different? You can’t build a system to stop the rogues and swindlers but what if your members are still up in arms – complaining about irregular scoring patterns and hard to believe performances in big competitions? While many of these may just be down to sour grapes, what can you do, what is already built into the system, and how can your competition committees soothe those concerns? You may not realise it but those governing bodies assigned to administering WHS spend considerable time trying to ensure its integrity. Whether it’s adding protections into the various apps or assigning penalty scores for those who fail to enter a card, it’s a fluid process. So how can you play your part? We asked Gemma Hunter, England Golf’s head of handicapping and course rating, to give us the lowdown on WHS cheats and what you can do to stop them… On manipulating the system and why it's hard to stop those determined to cheat "You've got to have a pretty good maths brain to work out how everything's going to affect the score. Is it going to be one of your best eight? How's the PCC going to affect it? Unless you keep a very solid record of your rounds, it's not that simple," Gemma says. She adds: "This is a handicap system that is brand new. People are going to try and pick holes in it. It was exactly the same with the CONGU system. People tried to pick holes in it and we've always said you can't build a handicap system to stop cheats." On why we all need to stand up to stop those who try to manipulate the system "As golfers, we play with a higher level of integrity than maybe some other sports because we're not governed by a referee every time we go out and play. It is peers checking and challenging each other," Gemma says She adds: "There may be people trying to play the system, and we're never going to get away from that. But what we actually need to happen is their playing partners, people that they are playing with and within their golf club, need to stand up and say, 'Hold on a minute, this isn't right' and tell the golf club. "Then we can actually start that disciplinary process and deal with it....
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