Golf Digest (South Africa) - - The Gallery -

My golf club, Wellington, re­cently in­tro­duced for­ward tees for se­niors with a rat­ing of 66. The rat­ing for the club tees is 70. After 8 games off the for­ward tees – I’m an oc­to­ge­nar­ian – my hand­i­cap was re­duced by 5 from 36 to 31. This was to be ex­pected since the new tees make the course shorter and eas­ier.

How­ever, when play­ing in a club com­pe­ti­tion, I have to re­duce my hand­i­cap by a fur­ther 4 strokes be­cause it is nec­es­sary to com­pen­sate for the dif­fer­ence in rat­ing. I can­not un­der­stand this be­cause my hand­i­cap is now cal­cu­lated on the eas­ier course.

If I am ex­pected to ad­just my hand­i­cap be­cause of the rat­ing dif­fer­en­tial, why are mem­bers of another golf club with a rat­ing of 72 not ex­pected to make the same adjustment when they visit and play in a com­pe­ti­tion at my club with a rat­ing of 70? Surely the same set of rules should ap­ply. Se­niors who play off an eas­ier course, apart from be­ing hand­i­capped off the eas­ier tees, are faced with a 4-stroke penalty whereas play­ers who are hand­i­capped on a 72 rat­ing course and en­ter a com­pe­ti­tion at an eas­ier 70 rated course need make no adjustment?

Lee The­unis­sen, Paarl

You might not un­der­stand the logic yet, but it’s all to do with bal­anc­ing the use of dif­fer­ent tees in the same com­pe­ti­tion. You have ef­fec­tively been cut 9 shots, a quar­ter of your orig­i­nal hand­i­cap, by mov­ing to the for­ward tees. It will hurt at first, but you should start get­ting some of those shots back be­cause your dif­fer­en­tial in com­pe­ti­tions will be lower play­ing off a 27 with a rat­ing of 66. Your hand­i­cap will grad­u­ally go out again. On your other point, un­til the SA Golf As­so­ci­a­tion adopts the Slope rat­ing sys­tem, there will al­ways be in­con­sis­ten­cies be­tween golfers hand­i­capped at dif­fer­ent clubs.

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