The Council of National Golf Unions (CONGU) has announced that the Unified Handicapping System has been revised. Changes will take effect on 1st January 2016, with an implementation date for clubs of 1st March 2016.
The new CONGU manual (see below) is in the process of being published and is the culmination of a four-year review cycle with the aim of assisting club members to have handicaps which truly reflect their playing ability. Among the most significant changes in the 2016 edition are the following:
The handicap year will now follow the calendar year, 1 January to 31 December, and a player’s handicap will be based on scores returned within that period.
- Four Ball Better-Ball Handicap Allowance:
Increased from 75% (3/4) to 90% for both stroke play and match play.
A great deal of four- ball better ball golf is played throughout GB&I and research has shown that setting the handicap allowance at 75% for such competitions is not fair for those players with a higher handicap. Consequently the allowance has been increased to 90% to ensure more equitable competition.
No such direction is made regarding AM-AM's and other team better-balls as it is not qualifying golf, but rather it is up to the organising committee to make a directive in their Conditions of Competition under Rule 33-1. However, CONGU advise that the limit should be 90% in order to avoid confusion.
Therefore Mapperley G.C. will implement a 90% allowance across the board for better-ball team competitions from 1st January 2016.
- Club Handicaps:
It is now possible for handicap committees to allocate initial handicaps up to 54. This will give all beginners a yardstick against which their progress can be monitored and can enable players of declining ability to have a more realistic handicap above the current maximum for their gender. Players in this handicap range can submit unlimited Supplementary Scores so they can have more opportunity to reduce their handicap. Of course any handicaps over the current limits (28 for men and 36 for women) are Club Handicaps and it is up to each club to decide if such players may play in competitions alongside those with competition handicaps or clubs can set up separate competitions for them.
- Continuous Handicap Review:
To assist with this process there will now be a computer generated report which highlights those players with 7 consecutive 0.1 increases. Handicap Committees are now recommended to review the performance of such players and to give due consideration to applying a handicap increase where applicable or required.
- Qualifying 9 hole score recording:
Playing better than or to the buffer zone still requires 18 points to be added to achieve a similar 18-hole outcome and for players within their buffer zones or better this points total continues to be recorded on the handicap record. For handicap purposes only, however, players retuning a score outside the buffer zone have their points total doubled on their handicap record to avoid anomalies within the Annual Review process.
Click to view the draft CONGU manual: