DON’T OBSESS OVER HANDICAPS
I can see both sides of the handicap debate, as mentioned by Paul Crowther in the October issue. On the one side, I totally agree with him that a handicap reduction is something to be celebrated. To me, the joy of a handicap cut far outweighs winning county competitions. This year I have seen a steady, but sure, reduction of my handicap, which has done wonders for my confidence. My total prize winnings have been less than £10, whereas I have seen friends enter far fewer qualifiers, retain their high handicaps and scoop the prizes. That is their choice; for me, it’s about gradually improving my weekly scores and knowing that I am developing the skills to consistently play better. On the other hand, I do understand what it is like to feel burdened with a handicap which is too low for my ability level.
Last year the handicap review committee cut nearly five shots off my handicap. When I returned from a break away, I actually felt humiliated as I started playing much worse than my playing partners, whose handicaps had not been cut. I actually put in 15 qualifying cards that were all at least 10 shots over my buffer zone. In the end, I had to convince myself that my handicap, nor my partners’ handicaps, mattered. Freed from worrying about winning or losing, I relaxed and started to play better. I would say to Paul, and to anyone else getting bothered by socalled handicap bandits and the perceived unfairness of the system, rise above it. I always leave the course knowing that I have tried my very hardest, as I am sure Paul does. I can’t imagine how it must feel to deliberately be carding high shots.