By Stu­art McLean, Editor

Golf Digest (South Africa) - - Play -

t wasn’t quite shock news, but Hand­i­caps Net­work Africa caught golfers by sur­prise at the end of March when they an­nounced there was to be an im­me­di­ate daily re­vi­sion of our hand­i­caps, e ec­tive April 1 (they could have cho­sen a more plau­si­ble date). For those of us who be­long to the BBC gen­er­a­tion (Born Be­fore Com­put­ers), this is noth­ing new though. In days gone by, win­ning a club com­pe­ti­tion with a hot round would nearly al­ways re­sult in your hand­i­cap be­ing re­vised down­wards as you went up to col­lect the prize. The club cap­tain per­son­ally did it for you; he didn’t con­sult a com­puter.

It was the price you paid, and most ac­cepted the hand­i­cap cut in good grace. There was also a cer­tain pride about now be­ing a lower hand­i­cap; you knew you weren’t go­ing to get your old hand­i­cap back any­time soon. To­day, though, club cap­tains rely on com­put­ers to mon­i­tor the hand­i­caps of mem­bers, and at prize­giv­ings they wouldn’t dare make an ar­bi­trary de­ci­sion to cut some­one “on the oor,” no mat­ter how ex­tra­or­di­nary their score.

Now, how­ever, one ex­cep­tional round – rather than the two which has au­to­matic reper­cus­sions in re­spect of our hand­i­caps – is likely to see golfers be­ing cut overnight, and that is pos­si­bly a good thing for the game. Yes, there will be con­tin­ued ma­nip­u­la­tion, but that con­cept was al­ready in play among golfers who like to work the hand­i­cap sys­tem to their ad­van­tage.

The ob­vi­ous area of ma­nip­u­la­tion will be golfers tak­ing ad­van­tage of the 72-hour pe­riod of grace in which to en­ter a score be­fore be­ing hit with a penalty score. This could “un­level” the play­ing eld, and I’m sur­prised that an im­me­di­ate change hasn’t been con­sid­ered here too. Two golfers could play in

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