CONGU and England Golf have announced a number of changes to the handicap system for 2016/18.
The changes will take effect from the 1st of January 2016, and the highlights include:
New 28+ handicaps for men
It was agreed that no change would be made to the existing handicap category boundaries. However a new ‘Club Handicap’ will be introduced for clubs who wish to allocate a handicap higher than 28/36 for use in club run events. This handicap will only be valid at the player’s home club and cannot be used in opens etc.
CSS to include Cat. 4 players
The Competition Scratch Score for men will now to include Category 4 players in the same manner as Ladies CSS calculation.
Nine hole qualifying scores
If you score better than, or within, buffer you will have 18 points added to create an 18 hole score. If your score returned is outside buffer, it will be doubled, while nine hole scores will also be included in the ESR process.
Continuous handicap reviews
A new process is to be introduced that will flag players who notch up seven consecutive 0.1 handicap increases, allowing their Handicap Committees to review and apply an immediate handicap increase if required.
4BBB handicap change
The allowance for fourball better ball has been increased from 3⁄4 to 90%.
Re-allocation of ‘c’ status handicap will require scorecards for 54 holes, in any permutation of nine and 18-hole scores. All Unions and Associations are to use ‘c’ Competition Handicap Status from 1st January 2016. Reactivation of ‘c’ status after a handicap is lost is now possible if a player with a Competition Handicap leaves club membership but re-joins within a period of 12 months.
Supplementary scores may now be returned at all GB&I clubs of which a player is a member, and are acceptable over nine holes for handicap categories of 2 and above, while there is no limit for handicaps 28/36 to 54.
Exceptional Scoring Reductions (ESRs)
The ESR table has been amended to reduce severity of reductions, and ESRs will only be applied based on a pair of exceptional scores.
Each National Union to have discretion to adopt a preferred lie period within their jurisdiction. England Golf will remain as the 1st of October to the 30th of April. Any clubs using preferred lies outside this period must be authorised by its County Union or Association.