Seniors Handicaps

Players Obligations as from January 1st 2017

Players must make every effort to maintain a handicap which reflects their current playing ability.

CONGU have made several directives which effect the way scores must now be reported to the Seniors Committee when a player takes part in Non-Qualifying Competitions at other clubs, Society Events and Non-Qualifying swindles at their own club.

It is now mandatory to return scores in the following circumstances:-

1. If a player has played in a society event using his CONGU handicap under competition play conditions, then the score must be reported.

2. Clubs need to be made aware of a player's performances in swindles such as roll ups so that the handicap committee can use this evidence at the annual general review.

3. The individual club member now has an obligation under the CONGU rules to return scores from Open Non-Qualifying competitions at other clubs. As well as Non-Qualifying Stableford competitions this also covers 4BBB and Bowmaker team events.

To avoid being deluged with returns, it is only necessary to return scores when you (and your partner) are in the prizes or you perform better than your handicap.

So what does this mean for a Farrington Senior?
Basically you need to return a card with your score/s for the course you played, but only if you are in the prizes or have played better than your current handicap.
Please fill in your card fully e.g. SSS, name/s, date, tee colour, competition details, signature of marker etc. Either post in the competition box or hand to the Handicap Secretary.

What sanctions can the club impose if a player fails to meet their obligations?
A club may suspend a member's handicap under CONGU rule 24.1 if a player consistently fails to meet their obligation to maintain a handicap which reflects their current playing abilities.

How will these returned scores be used by the handicap committee?
It is expected that the odd above average score for a player will be ignored but evidence of regularly outplaying their official handicap will be used at the annual general review to inform about the change to their handicap.

You do not need to report results for Wednesday Competitions.

General Information

Farrington Seniors’ Handicap Committee: Roger Stone / Phil Thompson / Dave Elliott / Chris Liberty

Any of the above can be approached for advice on handicaps e.g. how to get your first handicap, the procedures for handicap adjustments on medical grounds, the implications of opting to submit supplementary cards etc. They will consider any request to adjust handicaps (either up or down) but you must realise that this can only be done within the strict rules set down by CONGU. Some of your questions may be answered by the guidelines set out below:

The committee keep a record on the computer of all your scores from qualifiers, but if you have additional evidence e.g. scores from home/away courses etc., please give them to any member of the committee so that they can be considered as evidence for changes to your handicap. The committee can not make handicap cuts on one isolated good score so you must provide compelling evidence of your improvement (e.g. two or preferably more good cards over a short period).

So how do you first get a handicap?

Basically you must complete at least three rounds and get a fellow player who has a handicap to sign your card during a round of golf to ratify your score. You must make it clear which tees you use. One of these cards will need to be about 100 shots or less. These cards are used to determine your initial handicap. See below for exact details of how your handicap is calculated.
Any fully completed and signed cards that you wish to be considered as evidence for obtaining a handicap should be submitted to any member of the Senior Handicap Committee.

How Can We Ensure Handicaps Are Reflective of Playing Ability?

Every player will endeavour to make the best score they can at each hole in every qualifying round and report all rounds for handicapping purposes.
Every Golf Club will, whenever possible run stroke play competitions as qualifying competitions, calculate a CSS and make all handicap adjustments strictly in accordance with the UHS
Every player will return a sufficient number of qualifying scores to provide reasonable evidence of their playing ability.
The CONGU Unified Handicap System 2008-11 has introduced a number of new clauses, which prescribe the way we handle handicaps, the significant clauses are:-

Clause 17.3 – Qualifying Scores / Qualifying Competitions
The declaration that a competition is a Non Qualifying Competition disqualifies all scores returned in that competition being used directly for handicap purposes. Performance in Non Qualifying Competitions is one of a number of factors to be considered in the Annual Review of Members’ handicaps.

Clause 19 - Stableford Adjustment

All stroke play scores shall be converted to stableford points for handicapping purposes.
Applies to Away Scores as well as scores returned at the Home Club.
It is imperative members submit all completed holes into the system as this may prevent an increase in handicap or in some cases result in a decrease in handicap.
How does it affect your handicap?
Even in medal play a no score or a 12 on 1 hole will do no more damage than a 0 on a stableford card. So in a medal it is possible to return a card with one or more disastrous holes yet remain in the buffer zone or even merit a handicap cut. ONE OR MORE POOR HOLE SHOULD NO LONGER JUSTIFY A N/R. because this will automatically produce a 0.1 HCP increase. To protect your handicap you need to enter scores for every hole you play.

Clause 21 - Supplementary Scores
‘The Clause that helps members to submit qualifying scores to ensure handicaps are reflective of their current competitive playing ability’
This is explained fully below.

Clause 23 – Review of Handicaps
Annual Review
The Annual Handicap review is designed to ensure that members have handicaps that are reflective of their current playing ability. This is based on:
· Players scores returned in qualifying competition
· Performances in singles and better ball match play events
· Scores returned in Social golf must not be used
· An Annual Review Report is now included in software to aid Committees in the review

Farrington Annual Review of Handicaps
In January the Handicap Committee will use the computer to analyse the previous years records for all members and produce “The Annual Review Report”. The report is a list of all members who should be considered for a handicap change. It does this by producing a “Performance against Target” analysis. Don’t ask me how it does this!!!! The resulting figure, which is a mathematical comparison of the year’s competition results for each member, indicates whether they are eligible for an increase or decrease in their handicap and suggests the amount of the change. The committee uses this figure and a range of other evidence provided to them e.g. performances in non-qualifying competitions including Knock Outs, 4BBB Competitions, requests to raise handicaps on age or medical grounds etc. to inform them.
General Play Revisions of handicap are not subject to appeal as long as they are carried out within the CONGU rules.

Clause 23 – General Play Adjustment
General Play adjustments should only be made through the playing season under exceptional circumstances.
This may include:
· A member requiring adjustment for medical reasons.
· Member given initial handicap that from qualifying scores returned is not reflective of current ability.
· The return of a series of good scores in Qualifying Competitions within a short timeframe by an infrequent competitor.
· Players may be infrequent competitors in Qualifying Competitions and so have few opportunities to reduce their handicap in line with their improved standard of play. They may compete frequently, however, with success in other forms of golf and their handicap may require further adjustment to reflect this.

Competitive Handicaps
As of 2014 the English Golf Union & English Women’s Golf Association will be implementing a competitive handicapping system.

To enable Clubs to identify whether a player has submitted a number of qualifying scores per year to ensure their handicap is reflective of their current playing ability without the need to lapse a handicap.

· Applies to players in all handicap categories 1-4(5).
· Players will be required to submit 3 qualifying scores per year (Supplementary Scores & 9 Hole Qualifying events included). Failure to do so will lead to an inactive handicap.
· A competitive handicap shown as small 'c" after your handicap denotes a competitive handicap on the submission of 3 qualifying scores. during any year.
· Qualifying scores will be accepted from both Home & Away qualifying competitions.
· Handicap certificates will identify whether a player has a competitive handicap e.g. 12.4 c
· Clubs may impose a condition that prevents players with non-competitive handicaps entering events (not however permitted to make it a blanket condition).
· non-competitive handicaps may still be used for golfing holidays, social trips where handicap certificates are required.
· Players may have a non-competitive handicap removed because of a medical exemption.
· The EGU will monitor the situation and will decide whether to increase the number of qualifying scores from 3.

How does it affect you as a senior?
If you fail to complete at least three qualifying competitions this year, next year you will be credited with a non-competitive handicap which will make you ineligible to enter many competitions e.g. the Senior Opens for most other clubs. Farrington Seniors have taken a view on inactive handicaps and members with non-competitive handicaps will be ineligibile for our major competitions? (e.g. K.O’s, Senior Club Championship etc.).
They can enter qualifying stableford and medals but are not eligible for prizes.
They cannot enter Wednesday Team Competition until they have made their handicap competitive.

A CONGU handicap is based on the ability of a player in qualifying competitions, not social golf.
The introduction of Supplementary Scores, 9 hole qualifying competitions and the EGU competitve handicap system should lead to more members returning qualifying information and less use of General Play adjustment by Handicapping Committees.
This in turn should lead to a more unified system of handicapping.

EGU Central Handicap Database (CHD)
Every golf club will be given it’s own unique ID number and every club golfer will also be given his own unique ID number (10 characters long). Plastic cards with their own unique ID number will be issued to all members. This unique ID number will follow you if you move to another club as will all your qualifying handicap and competition records. The Central Handicap Database holds the records of every golfer in every club in England.

By going online members can use their unique ID number to:-
· View their current handicap
· View their complete record of competition scores
· Request handicap certificates
· There is an option to access handicap changes by SMS text

Clubs can view handicaps of any English Club Golfer from their name/dob and also find that golfers unique ID number.

In future clubs will almost certainly ask for your unique ID number when you enter Open competitions, as this will enable them-to:-
· Establish if you have an active handicap (usually a requirement of entry)
· Simplify the entry of away players details into the computer and check on their handicap
· Automatically return your competition score to your home club for handicap changes

Qualifying Competitions
The majority of changes to Seniors’ Handicaps is expected to take place as a result of taking part in qualifying competitions. Such competitions are the Wednesday monthly medal / monthly stableford, Senior Opens and other Farrington weekend qualifiers. The scores from any qualifier are entered into the computer and after comparing the score to the computer produced ‘Competition Scratch Score’ the computer applies a calculation and automatically adjusts handicaps. Any changes will be posted on the Senior Notice Board.

General Play
Any fully completed and signed cards that you wish to be considered as evidence for handicap changes should be submitted to any member of the Senior Handicap Committee. Since the latest directive from the EGU is that 'Scores returned in Social Golf must not be used to adjust handicaps' These cards can only be used as part of the evidence for the Annual Handicap Review held in January.
REMEMBER: Reduction in Handicap is a reward not a penalty

What value do we put on a handicap?

An extract from the English Golf Union Website helps us to understand how we value a handicap.

“The way the CONGU system works is that a typical Category 1 player is expected to play about 2 strokes above his handicap on an average day. Category 4 players can expect a short fall of about 6 or 7. Put another way a player who finds that he plays to an average handicap of 28 will probably find that he has a handicap of 21/22.”
Players with an inactive handicap will not be permitted to enter The Senior 18 hole and 9 hole Club Championship, The Senior Committe Cup and our Senior Open. Most other clubs will also not allow you to enter open competitions such as Senior Opens.
To make your handicap competitive you will need to play three qualifiers or supplementary cards by 28th February 2015 or your number of qualifying scores resets to zero.
NON COMPETITIVE handicap players may enter senior qualifiers (medal or stableford) but are not eligible for prizes.
NON COMPETITIVE handicap players cannot enter Wednesday Team Competitons.
Supplementary cards
From 2012 all golfers can now submit supplementary cards to adjust their handicap. These will require the player to indicate their intention to play such a round before starting to play and will be subject to a handicap increase where the player is outside their “buffer zone”. Handicaps will be adjusted on the same basis as qualifying competitions. A maximum of one card per week can be submitted. The exact details of how this will operate are outlined below..
Please note members found abusing this procedure can be suspended.

Seniors’ Supplementary Scores

1. A maximum of 10 Supplementary Scores may be returned each handicap year.

2. Supplementary Scores are Stableford scores, which may only be returned at the Home Club of the player, subject to the above limit.

3. Supplementary Scores are available to all players.

4. A maximum of one card per week may be returned (A week commences on a Monday).

5. The round must comply with the Rules of Golf and the completed card must be counter signed by a playing partner who has a recognised handicap.

6. Supplementary Scores are now available to players in Categories 1, 2, 3, 4 [and 5].

7. Players must register their intention to take out a Supplementary Score before going out to play. To do this collect a stamped and dated score card from the Pro shop and enter your name in the Supplementary Card Book.

8. Play must be over a Measured Course under Competition Play Conditions. No CSS to be calculated. Changes of handicap to be against the SSS.

9. Supplementary Scores are for increase as well as reduction of handicap.

10. Stroke Play returns shall be subject to Stableford/Nett Double Bogey adjustments (maximum net double bogey on any hole) in compliance with Clause 19 before the card is used for handicap adjustment.

11. Supplementary scores are recorded in your Player Handicap Record.

12. Players who have recently been awarded a CONGU handicap qualify immediately for the return of Supplementary Scores.

13. Remember a 0.1 increase should be applied when a player does not return a score after signing their intention to use the round for a Supplementary Score.

14. Returns may be subject to action under Clause 23 if ‘manipulation’ is suspected.

How your Initial CONGU golf handicap is calculated

To calculate your first (initial) golf handicap you need to enter three golf cards. The computer system will then assess your 3 cards to determine which one will provide the best Nett Differential Score (NDS); essentially this is done by reducing any holes that are greater than 2 shots over par to being 2 shots over par, for example, if you have entered an 8 on a par 5 then, for the sake of this calculation, the system will read it as a 7.
Although CONGU rules does not put a limit on the number of holes that are reduced, most systems limit it to a maximum of six holes to ensure that they only provide handicaps to players that they feel can play to 28.0 or 36.0, at worst. If the system fails to calculate your handicap it is because the maximum number of adjusted holes has been reached. In these situations cards can be reviewed manually to assess if it is possible to provide the maximum handicap.

Let’s assume that 4 holes have been adjusted to double-bogeys (2 over par) resulting in a total reduction of 5 shots for your round. If your gross score was 95 then the resulting Nett Differential Score would now be 90. To calculate the handicap based on this card the course SSS (Standard Scratch Score) is then subtracted from the Nett Differential, for example if the SSS (for the tee colour in question) is 67 then it would be 90 - 67 = 23. This calculation is applied to all 3 cards to determine which one gives the lowest golf handicap, this then becomes your golf handicap.

Note: the Course Par plays no part in the initial golf handicap calculation.

How your CONGU golf handicap is adjusted ongoing

Golf handicaps are divided into 5 categories as shown here, each of these categories has a respective buffer zone that is used to assess whether or not a handicap should change. The table below displays the categories along with relevant Adjustment Factors.

Handicap category
Playing handicap
Within buffer zone
Above buffer zone
Below buffer zone

Subtract for each stroke below
Up to 5
0 to 1 shot
6 to 12
0 to 2 shots
13 to 20
0 to 3 shots
21 to 28
0 to 4 shots
5 (ladies only)
29 to 36
0 to 5 shots
Each time you enter a new card in a qualifying competition it is your responsibility to adjust your golf handicap. You must then immediately play to this new handicap until at a later stage a Competition Scratch Score will be calculated from all category 1 to 3 cards from the competition and used instead of the Standard Scratch Score to produce a final adjusted handicap. All changes will then be published on the Senior Notice Board.

So how do you do this? Depending on which Category you fall in to a Buffer Zone and respective Adjustment Factor is applied, essentially this allows you to enter cards that are higher than your Handicap without your handicap being increased. To demonstrate how this works, please study the two examples shown below.

Examples of adjustments:

Lets assume that your golf handicap is 17.0 (Cat 3) and the card that you entered was with a gross score of 87 and the SSS for the tee colour is 67, in this case your net score would be 3 shots (87 – 67 = 20) above your handicap . As your Buffer Zone allows you to be between 0 and 3 Shots above your handicap (17 3) then no adjustment is made. If your gross score was 89 resulting in your net score being 2 shots higher than your Buffer Zone, then your handicap would increase by 0.1, which is the Maximum increase allowed. However, if your gross score was 82 with course SSS of 67 resulting in your net score being 2 shots below your handicap (82 – 67 = 15) Then your are below the Buffer Zone of zero so an adjustment is required. The adjustment would be the number of shots below handicap x the Adjustment Factor i.e. 2 x 0.3 resulting in a cut of 0.6 shots. Your new Exact Handicap would now Be 17.0 – 0.6 = 16.4 giving you a Playing Handicap of 16.

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