MAJOR FLAW IN NEW HANDICAP ASSESSMENTS
WE write as concerned members of Durbanville GC regarding the latest edict from HNA on the subject of handicap assessment. Following the introduction of ‘overnight’ handicap adjustments, and the reintroduction of a so-called ‘bu er zone,’ one of us played well on a Saturday and his handicap was cut by one.The next day he played a social round and explained to his friends that he would not be trying hard as he wanted to see if he could get the stroke back overnight. Call it, if you like, a deliberate manipulation, but within the rules of the game here. He awoke the next morning with his original handicap restored. A yo-yoing that would not have occurred previously.
The rst score was arrived at in a competition, the second in a social round, and here is the fundamental aw in our handicap system, particularly when we review the R&A handicap rider: Throughout the world, a golf handicap is recognised as representing the number of strokes that need to be deducted from the player’s actual (gross) score so that, when he plays to his average ability, his nett score equals a “Standard Score. ”The amount deducted (i.e. the player’s “handicap”) is calculated so as to be representative of the player’s current ability and potential at the point in time that they play in a competition.
However, our handicap system relies almost entirely on ‘form,’ not ‘ability and potential,’ to arrive at a player’s handicap; ‘form’ based on the spurious need to enter every score – competitive, social or just plain rigged. Nowhere is the word ‘form’ used in the R&A rule, where a handicap is supposed to represent ‘ability and potential. ’With this in mind the SA handicapping philosophy and therefore the basis for its handicapping system seems awed from the outset. Only scores achieved in ‘open’ competition should be used to assess any change in handicap. One could go further and limit scores for handicapping purposes to individual competition rounds only, as happens in the UK.
HNA talk of the intended adoption of a worldwide handicapping system by 2018. With our social golf and better ball and alliance competitions an anathema when it comes to handicapping, how will this be achieved when the UK and SA systems currently run not on parallel lines, but on divergent ones. Our second point relates to the plan to reintroduce a Daily Course Rating. HNA talk of a bu er zone, but neither de ne nor explain what that will mean.We don’t think the average golfer knows what a bu er zone is (the range of two strokes above the Daily Course Rating whereby your handicap remains una ected). Under a system where all scores count, no score can be unaffected so we are struggling to see where and how a bu er zone can be accommodated.
The problem we see here is that HNA is trying to adapt to a system which works in the UK and elsewhere only in individual competitions.
The main question raised by this latest HNA initiative is surely whether this calculation – or something close to it – can be genuinely established by assessing every score, from every player, every day of the week, playing from di erent tees and playing a di erent format (alliance, betterball, friendly etc). And when you then add the potential for several scores missing from the calculation because players are allowed 72 hours grace, the already rocky edi ce will surely crumble even more.