| Women’s Am­a­teur Asi­aPa­cific Cham­pi­onship

The USGA and The R&A an­nounce key fea­tures of the pro­posed new World Hand­i­cap Sys­tem (WHS), de­signed to pro­vide all golfers with a con­sis­tent mea­sure of play­ing abil­ity glob­ally, writes Louie Chan.

HK Golfer - - Contents - By Louie Chan

Thai star­let At­thaya Thi­tikul se­cured a dra­matic wire-towire vic­tory at the in­au­gu­ral cham­pi­onship by win­ning a four-way play-off at Sen­tosa Golf Club, Sin­ga­pore.

The new sys­tem will fea­ture the fol­low­ing:

• Flex­i­bil­ity in for­mats of play, al­low­ing both com­pet­i­tive and recre­ational rounds to count for hand­i­cap pur­poses and en­sur­ing that a golfer’s hand­i­cap is more re­flec­tive of po­ten­tial abil­ity

• A min­i­mal num­ber of scores needed to ob­tain a new hand­i­cap; a rec­om­men­da­tion that the num­ber of scores needed to ob­tain a new hand­i­cap be 54 holes from any com­bi­na­tion of 18hole and 9-hole rounds, but with some dis­cre­tion avail­able for hand­i­cap­ping au­thor­i­ties or na­tional as­so­ci­a­tions to set a dif­fer­ent min­i­mum within their own ju­ris­dic­tion

• A con­sis­tent hand­i­cap that is por­ta­ble from course to course and coun­try to coun­try through world­wide use of the USGA Course and Slope Rat­ing Sys­tem, al­ready suc­cess­fully used in more than 80 coun­tries

• An av­er­age-based cal­cu­la­tion of a hand­i­cap, taken from the best eight out of the last 20 scores and fac­tor­ing in mem­ory of demon­strated abil­ity for bet­ter re­spon­sive­ness and con­trol • A cal­cu­la­tion that con­sid­ers the im­pact that ab­nor­mal course and weather • con­di­tions might have on a player’s per­for­mance each day • Daily hand­i­cap re­vi­sions, tak­ing ac­count of the course and weather con­di­tions cal­cu­la­tion

• A limit of Net Dou­ble Bo­gey on the max­i­mum hole score (for hand­i­cap­ping pur­poses only)

• A max­i­mum hand­i­cap limit of 54.0, re­gard­less of gen­der, to en­cour­age more golfers to mea­sure and track their per­for­mance to in­crease their en­joy­ment of the game

Mike Davis, CEO of the USGA, com­mented, “For some time, we’ve heard golfers say, ‘I’m not good enough to have a hand­i­cap,’ or ‘I don’t play enough to have a hand­i­cap.’ We want to make the right de­ci­sions now to en­cour­age a more wel­com­ing and so­cial game. We’re ex­cited to be tak­ing an­other im­por­tant step – along with mod­ern­iz­ing golf’s Rules – to pro­vide a path­way into the sport, mak­ing golf eas­ier to un­der­stand and more ap­proach­able and en­joy­able for ev­ery­one to play.”

Martin Slum­bers, Chief Ex­ec­u­tive of The R&A, said, “We want to make it more at­trac­tive to golfers to ob­tain a hand­i­cap and strip away some of the com­plex­ity and vari­a­tion which can be off-putting for new­com­ers. Hav­ing a hand­i­cap, which is eas­ier to un­der­stand and is truly por­ta­ble around the world, can make golf much more en­joy­able and is one of the unique sell­ing points of our sport.”

The tenets of the new sys­tem fo­cus on three main ob­jec­tives: to en­cour­age as many golfers as pos­si­ble to ob­tain and main­tain a hand­i­cap; to en­able golfers of dif­fer­ing abil­i­ties, gen­ders and na­tion­al­i­ties to trans­port their hand­i­cap to any course glob­ally and com­pete on a fair and eq­ui­table ba­sis; and to in­di­cate with suf­fi­cient ac­cu­racy the score a golfer is rea­son­ably ca­pa­ble of achiev­ing on any course around the world, play­ing un­der nor­mal con­di­tions.

Given world­wide align­ment to­wards a sin­gle sys­tem, all par­ties will now em­bark on a two-year tran­si­tion pe­riod tar­get­ing im­ple­men­ta­tion in 2020. When adopted, the World Hand­i­cap Sys­tem will be gov­erned by the USGA and The R&A and ad­min­is­tered lo­cally by the six ex­ist­ing au­thor­i­ties and na­tional as­so­ci­a­tions around the world, with safe­guards in­cluded to en­sure con­sis­tency as well as adapt­abil­ity to dif­fer­ing golf cul­tures.

The an­nounce­ment is the lat­est step in a multi-year col­lab­o­ra­tion be­tween The USGA and The R&A, as well as hand­i­cap au­thor­i­ties and na­tional and re­gional golf as­so­ci­a­tions around the world to in­tro­duce one set of Rules of Hand­i­cap­ping, aimed to sup­port mod­ern­iz­ing, grow­ing and im­prov­ing ac­ces­si­bil­ity of the sport.

Vir­ginie Ding (left) and Chloe Chan (right) mark their score­cards dur­ing the first round of Hong Kong Ju­nior Close Cham­pi­onship 2017

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