Fair Go: Handicap system to change again

The method of calculating handicaps will change again following a nationwide review of the current system, Golf Australia has announced.

Simon Magdulski, head of rules and handicapping said taking the best 10 out of 20 rounds method has swung too much in favour of higher markers, leaving lower markers struggling for prizes in their regular club competitions. He said this was particularly the case in larger men’s fields.

Fair Go: Handicap system to change again Handicap system set to change again to give low markers a fair chance

“You are getting some very high stableford scores wining competitions, which has priced low markers out of competing. For example if you need 46 pts to win a comp it is pretty tricky for a one marker to have 46 points,” he said.

However, Magdulski defended the best 10 out of 20 method saying the old calculation system was not without its faults.

“We were certainly mindful that what was happening under the old system was the unfair bias towards the low markers so the correction of that was desired,” Magdulski said.

“That it has gone quite as far as it has is certainly an undesirable outcome, if I can put it that way.”

It makes mathematical sense that higher markers would be the main beneficiaries of the latest handicapping system.

Looking at the old method if you were a 25 marker and you played to 18 you could have dropped down to at least 21 considering the CCR would also be taken into account.

So that meant the next game you played, you were off 21. A lot harder to sneak those three pointers meaning the more consistent players, typically lower markers, would be more likely to win the days’ event.

But now with higher markers taking their top 10 out of 20 rounds, due to their poorer consistency they have a greater fluctuation in their scores, meaning their handicap stays high.

Just how Golf Australian will change the method of handicap calculation is still to be worked out but Magdulski said one thing is certain, it will happen as soon as is practicable.

“Within the next six months, that is certainly the aim,” he said.

“It’s the one that we need to get into as soon as possible but we need to make software coding changes so you can’ t get it done overnight.”

Golf Australia will continue to tweak the handicapping system and is working closely with the US Golf Association to have the changes completed by the end of 2012.

Magdulski said after extensive feedback from clubs all around Australia it appears we will only take components of the US system when the rollout begins.

“It is clear that because of the different nature of Australian golf to US golf we will be using components of the US system such as slope indexing here in Australia.

“The USGA are very comfortable with that but we wouldn’t be calling it the US system we would be calling it the Australian system with some US components in it.”

Already Golf Australia has ruled out using social scores for handicapping purposes but Magdulski ruefully added we might never see the end of change.

“The rules of golf get changed every four years. You never have a system where it is done it is finished you never change it. You’re always going to be revising things,” he said.

“Handicapping is certainly one of those things that people around the bar like to talk about, it will continue to drive interest.”