CONGU Update

The Golf Union of Wales, in association with CONGU, completed a two-week tour of Wales last week presenting a series of seven Handicapping & Course Rating Seminars. A total of 200 delegates attended the sessions which gave a brief summary of the recent R&A statement on the proposed World Handicap System, some possible CONGU changes for the future, and an understanding of how courses are rated for Standard Scratch Scores.

World Handicap System

The announcement of a WHS was made by the R&A and the USGA and reported in the weekly email of 24th April (link please); however, no working details of the system were included.

Examples of the various systems currently in operation were given so that delegates could see how difficult it will be to establish a system which needs to take into account the views of all the different handicapping bodies worldwide.

There is no doubt that the introduction of a WHS will be a major cultural change, not just for golf in the GB&I, but for all the other handicapping bodies and that a lot of work is still needed before the final system can be revealed.

Proposed CONGU Changes

Obviously, with a WHS on the horizon, CONGU will not be proposing major changes to the current system but some changes are envisaged for the near future and are likely to include:

  • Club Handicaps being replaced with an extension of the current Categories to 5 and 6 for both men and ladies, with a competitive handicap being available for all categories. It will be up to clubs to decide the handicap bands that can or cannot enter competitions
  • An increased use of Supplementary Cards Scores, possibly without preregistration, in order to collect more scores, thereby providing a clearer picture of golfers’ ability and potential
  • Medal rounds for 9 hole competitions may be acceptable for handicap purposes
  • Guidance on the Continuous Handicap Review to assist clubs in their decision making

It was noted that handicapping remains an emotive subject but that the intention was to reflect a player’s true golfing ability and provide more equitable competition amongst those abilities whilst not giving an unfair advantage to any one category of player.

If you have any questions for CONGU then, whilst these are welcome, they should initially be directed to your home union. The GUW have a dedicated e-mail address for all queries relating to handicapping and course rating.

Course Rating

The process of how a course is rated for Standard Scratch and Slope was explained and how different hazards and design affect the figures for scratch and bogey players. The full process will be reported at a later date but one major detail is worth consideration. Length accounts for approximately 95% of the rating and that to adjust a course’s SSS by introducing hazards like water, bunkers or trees would take a massive investment with possibly little change, whilst, increasing or decreasing length is likely to have a far greater impact.

If you are intending to adjust your course purely in order to increase or decrease your SSS then you are advised to contact your home union first to assess what the changes are likely to accomplish before proceeding.


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