Mandatory social round scores scrapped

The requirement that all golfers’ social rounds be used for handicapping purposes will not be introduced by Golf Australia.

As part of its continual refinement of the handicapping system in this country, Australia’s peak amateur body also announced that the adoption of the US Golf Association’s ‘most likely score’ method when playing in a team or 4 Ball event, will not proceed.

Mandatory social round scores scrapped Mandatory social round scores scrapped

Golf Australia’s Rules and Handicapping boss, Simon Magdulski, said that following feedback from clubs all over Australia, it was felt that these two components of the USGA’s handicapping system were not suitable for playing golf Down Under.

“Some of the estimates were that it could double the amount of rounds that were put through the system for handicap purposes,” Magdulski said.

“The concern was that it was placing a pretty significant impost on the handicapper and could discourage people from wanting to take up those sort of roles.”

This was particularly important when considering that dedicated volunteers run many of Australia’s smaller country clubs, Magdulski added.

Another issue raised during the feedback period and acknowledged by Golf Australia, was that some players may struggle to comply with the new regulations.

“Some people are happy to do what they are asked, while for others it is a little bit more challenging to get them to do everything,” he said.

“People may intend to fully comply but when it comes to putting scores in, particularly with social scores, that can become a more challenging exercise.

“It was felt that that you would end up with a regulation that is effective in letter but perhaps not in practice.”

How Are We Placed?

So after almost a year of the new handicapping system being operational, how are we placed?

At the moment we are in a holding pattern as Golf Australia await the outcome of talks with the US Golf Association.

At the crux of the discussions is whether the US Golf Association is happy for Australia to drop the above two regulations.

This decision needs to please USGA officials if the desired Golf Australia option of adopting the “Slope” course rating system is to go ahead.

“The slope indexing system is USGA’s intellectual property,” Magdulski explained.

“If we are to use the Slope Rating system, we need a licence from USGA.”

The USGA slope rating system, Magdulski said, is one that feedback suggests Australians are keen to adopt.

“Slope indexing was always something I think that was seen as being a positive, something that was quite attractive to an array of Australians brought about by their experience of playing golf in New Zealand,” he said.

New Zealand Success

New Zealand has operated the USGA handicapping system for ten years and it has been very successful.

“A lot of Australians come back from New Zealand and say this is a terrific system and why aren’t we doing this here?”

“It was that experience that was largely dictating our thoughts.”

Whether Golf Australia does adopt the highly respected USGA Slope Rating system or not, one thing that will not change is the ongoing course rating of all 1650 clubs across the country.

“This was something that needed to be done regardless of whether we adopt the USGA system,” Magdulski said.

The impression that Golf Australia was always going to adopt the USGA system is not true Magdulski added.

“Absolutely not. What we are trying to do is find out the best offer we can get from the US and the board will look at that and work out whether that is going to be the best way forward for Australian golf.”