DON’T OB­SESS OVER HAND­I­CAPS

Today's Golfer (UK) - - FIRST TEE - JAKKI MOXON

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.

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