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New handicap system

  • 18-10-2021 9:44am
    Registered Users Posts: 1,429 ✭✭✭con___manx1

    Iv recently got back in to golf after not playing for a number of years and I am thinking of joining my local club again.

    I just want to hear some opionions from golfers on the new system. Is the system really as unfair as iv been told towards the lower hadicap players.

    What I have heard is the new handicap system really favours the higher handicap player as they are cleaning up in competitions and fourballs no longer exist.

    Iv also been told that when the winners of competitions are posted online or on the board in the club the winners hadicap is not posted beside their name anymore for obvious reasons as its causing war apparently.

    Is this the case in other golf clubs?



  • Registered Users Posts: 269 ✭✭Salvadoor

  • Registered Users Posts: 12,450 ✭✭✭✭prawnsambo

    Could mods move this to the WHS thread please? I can't seem to find a way to quote it in that thread in a way that preserves the OP details etc.

    Or perhaps the OP could repost it there themselves?

  • Registered Users Posts: 20,098 ✭✭✭✭Rikand

    Initially it was that that lot of higher handicap golfers were winning all the prizes but that has levelled off significantly as the year has gone on and lower handicaps have just as much chance of winning comps as higher. Now of course, a higher handicap is still more likely to have a monster score than a lower, but that's just because of variance. In general, the lower more consistent golfers are showing up in prizes now more often than not.

    Handicaps always posted in our club. You must have a lot of cribby bustards in your club if the competitions committee can't even include handicaps anymore. All that does is give higher handicappers a place to hide. It's only right that someone should be publicly mortified for beating their handicap by 20 shots. Comes with the territory.

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,422 ✭✭✭blue note

    My advice would be to ignore the opinions and wait for some actual data on it. Lots of people seem to hear of a few huge points scores and have decided that the whole system is shagged and that if you're not playing off a huge handicap you'll never win win prize again. This is simply not true.

    My observations would be

    People who in the past had a handicap that was too low for them now have one they can pay off. There are lots of these people and they can now feature in the prizes. Are they featuring at a greater rate than lower handicap golfers? I don't think so, others think they are. I'd be interested to see the figures on it.

    Handicaps can fluctuate more under this system. So if you're playing really badly, your handicap will reflect this much quicker. As opposed to in the past where you'd only get .1s back for each bad round.

    Unfortunately, the people who gamed the system under the old regime are still doing so and can do it better under this system. The lads that every club had that were playing off 14, but everyone knew they should be off something like 10 now have an extra couple of shots. All the stories about fellas having crazy scores in the captains prize seem to be these guys, not the guys who just took up the game. Those guys are no more likely to do it in captains than they are a Wednesday open.

    But the sensible thing to do would be to ignore people's observations. I'm sure there's an element of people seeing what they want to see and I don't see why I'd be any different. So ignore what I say above.

    Also, people care far too much about this. I don't know why. We all want to get better and what your handicap is is the measure of that. For all the "I'm starting to drive it really well, my putting has come on, my irons are definitely solid," etc, if you're wondering whether you're improving just check your handicap. It's based on the number of shots you take, not your ball flight or back spin or whatever else. But your handicap will move regardless of whatever scores other people are submitting. It's nice to pick up a few prizes along the way, but not picking them up shouldn't affect your enjoyment of the game.

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,228 ✭✭✭slingerz

    I don’t think you’ll need a high handicap to win. You just need a handicap that is considerably higher than your ability. My club had a guy off 24 win recently with 49pts & a scratch. For those single figure handicappers in the club they have to reach double figures under par to reach similar. 47/48pts not unusual for us to have this year

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  • Registered Users Posts: 1,429 ✭✭✭con___manx1

    Thats 13 shots better than that players handicap. I played off 11 when I was last a member of a club. Not a hope I could ever shoot 4 under to beat that guy. I doubt many 11 handicap players could. How many shots would that player be cut for that score?

  • Registered Users Posts: 142 ✭✭phelimb

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,228 ✭✭✭slingerz

    they’ve lost 3 shots off their handicap. Incidentally they only managed 19pts this weekend then

  • Registered Users Posts: 160 ✭✭NotCarrotRidge

    That's what you get with high handicappers, we're wildly inconsistent! I'm off 24 as well. I have parred every hole at my club plenty of times, and birdied most of them. If I averaged a birdie on every hole in one round, I'd have 42 points, which would get me in the prizes. Realistically, all that would take would be a 'flow ' day, particularly with the putter. It will probably never happen, but it's not beyond the bounds of possibility. What's a certainty is that I wouldn't repeat it anytime soon. Does the possibility of this happening mean that I should be off 14 instead? Or that I'm a bandit?

  • Registered Users Posts: 12,450 ✭✭✭✭prawnsambo

    Unless I'm reading you wrong, you'd have a lot more than 42 points if you averaged a birdie on each hole. Unless you're talking about net birdie which would still give you 54 points.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 723 ✭✭✭Dayor Knight

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,429 ✭✭✭con___manx1

    Maybe trying now t get the 3 shots back. Wont be long getting point 6 back every week. I couldnt believe that. I think the old system was better. It lasted over 100 years after all.

  • Registered Users Posts: 12,450 ✭✭✭✭prawnsambo

    CONGU as a name is only in place since the 1960s. But the handicap system has changed radically over the 95 years handicapping has been in place. Even the different countries had different variations. Ireland was the only country with the 1 stroke upward limit on handicaps. The other countries had higher limits.

    Even the 54 handicap that people are attributing to WHS came into force under CONGU.

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,228 ✭✭✭slingerz

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,228 ✭✭✭slingerz

    Similarly have seen lads move from 7 to 11 and then win comps to come back down.

    too much variation in handicap. the only way where people only went up 1 shot a year was better IMO

  • Registered Users Posts: 12,450 ✭✭✭✭prawnsambo

    It clearly wasn't better. It was an outlier even in CONGU. No system is going to stop cheating and that's before you get to the course and all the shenanigans that shouldn't go on there either.

  • Registered Users Posts: 160 ✭✭NotCarrotRidge

  • Registered Users Posts: 160 ✭✭NotCarrotRidge

    Bloody hell, I didn't even mean par, I meant bogey. Smh.

  • Registered Users Posts: 20,297 ✭✭✭✭FixdePitchmark

    I think the new system is good - as it corrects incorrect handicaps quicker. I struggled under the old system for years on a handicap I couldn't play to. The main objection I would have - is if we are going to have such high handicaps - we need to place re-emphasis on category golf - I know in matchplay etc these things could come into play anyway - but the overall prize and overall medal is actually pointless with such high handicaps.

    Whilst it is excellent to have a whs and enable you to play with other golfers all over the world - the problem we have in Ireland (and this is a great thing about our golf) - we take competition fairly serious . A big problem for Golf Ireland is that the guys who play week in week out , have suddenly had their reason to play golf - their competitive nature completely taken away. The player of the year and medals are taken very serious in my club. People might laugh at these guys "thinking they are going on tour" - but they are key stakeholders who are 365 day golfer - life long golfers - people who spend money on the game and at the club - life long family members.

    If we are going to keep the system (which of course we are) . I'd recommend no overall competitions at all. Or if you must have one. A boundary, something like..........

    Sorry to say, a handicap limit of the old system ? or some other local agreed number. I'd love say something lower - but to be somewhat inclusive - 27 or lower.

    People give out to me saying I take it too serious - but I genuinely enter every comp trying to win - and in the old system whilst I rarely did - I genuinely felt I had a chance. These handicaps are stupid in this context.

  • Registered Users Posts: 612 ✭✭✭mjsc1970

    Don't disagree with a lot of what you say Fix. I'd be the same, I'm trying to win every comp I enter ( or at least try my best and compete )

    Not too many in my club over the 30 hcp range. And those that are are people who have played all their life at 20+ and now due to age have gone out in handicap. I would say not one is a bandit. Not one. They turn up every Wednesday and Saturday for the game, enjoy it with their pals like they always have.

    The 54 handicap limit was brought in pre WHS was it not?

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  • Registered Users Posts: 8,292 ✭✭✭spacecoyote

    The interim solution they had a couple of years ago was limiting a handicap for away opens if i remember correctly. When they first went above 28 for men, you could only play off higher than 28 in your home club and were capped to 28 away.

    Could introduce similar, a capped competition and uncapped casual handicap?

  • Registered Users Posts: 20,297 ✭✭✭✭FixdePitchmark

    It possibility was - but I guess we are seeing a true application of it now - People are moving to the higher numbers quickly - the focus on 54 is probably not the point - it is guys getting out at the the late 20s and 30s that makes a complete nonsense of the competition.

  • Registered Users Posts: 20,297 ✭✭✭✭FixdePitchmark

    I've a society - and to be inclusive years ago - I put the max out to 36 , it was kind of radical and comical at the time. It was clear that the guys who did not play golf - or even want to, were not competing off 36. After a few years , I asked them do they want me to increase the 36. Typically Irish - and the brilliant competitive spirit that we have - the 36 guys all said - that would be joke, if the guys who literally don't play golf or can't play golf or wont practice can win. They said - they like the target to try win and to try get to 36. After about 6 years - one of them won the event.

    I think the new system stems from a different culture of competitiveness - of equality - it makes sense in an inclusive context. Also perhaps people expect to be equal and compete straight away - modern society seems to have lost respect for a right of passage. Golf is so hard - it takes years. But this system does reduce that time aspect.

    Perhaps that is a good thing - but I'm a little too old school - excellence takes time and effort , true excellence something even more. This system is dumbing down that aspect - a guy I was reading about had 2 out of 3 medals and won golfer of the year with one of these WHS handicaps. Call me old school - but something inside me dies a little when I hear that.

    But the problem is , locally it is a bad fit (IMO).

    Anyway - I'm only interested in gross score anyway - so , I'll stick to that.

  • Registered Users Posts: 12,450 ✭✭✭✭prawnsambo

    Probably requires more data, but I just checked our club and only 8% have indexes >28. Of those, the vast majority are beginners/juniors. Would like to see more data like this to see if it's replicated around the country.

  • Registered Users Posts: 20,297 ✭✭✭✭FixdePitchmark

    I guess the point is - guys floating in this area can rise very quick - use casual rounds and be all set for the big club events.

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,422 ✭✭✭blue note

    Until we have actual data on it I'd be completely opposed to capping handicaps for comps. If the data shows that a 30 handicapper is twice as likely to win a comp than the average golfer than fair enough we should look at addressing it, but without that knowledge you'd be punishing these guys based on a hunch.

    And how much more unfair is it that a 30 handicapper come in with 45 points than an 18? Both scores are equally difficult for a scratch golfer to match - almost impossible. And both happen occasionally. How is it fine that we get a few guys with around the 18 handicap coming in with that score each year, but not the 30 handicapper?

  • Registered Users Posts: 20,297 ✭✭✭✭FixdePitchmark

    Because 18 is a fairly well established gold reference standard.

    Isn't a club golfer who would have genuine issues with anybody off 18.

    There is slagging etc. But we understand 18 and if you want to win something, get to 18.

    I'm not a fan myself of any handicaps over 18. But I've had to change my internal tolerances.

  • Registered Users Posts: 12,450 ✭✭✭✭prawnsambo

    Very quick up to three index points and half as quick up to a maximum of five. Which would be one sixth of their index and proportionately a lot less than the same five index points onto a ten index player. I'd reckon the guy on ten would be in a much better position to take advantage of those five shots than the guy on 30.

    Also the point you seem to be missing is that there aren't that many people at that level (from my data) and the overwhelming majority of them being beginners means that they will go down and not up.

    Edit: Just to add to this, checked out handicap change report and all but one of our members who started over 30 at the beginning of the year have come down. Half of those that came down have dropped under the thirty mark.

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,422 ✭✭✭blue note

    We can adjust our perception of normal. A new gold standard reference can be established.

    It's either fair or not that a player can shoot a score that makes it virtually impossible for a scratch golfer to equal. If it's not fair, then it's not acceptable that 18 handicappers play against scratch guys. Maybe not even acceptable that 10 handicappers do. If it is acceptable for an 18 handicapper to do it, then it should also be acceptable for a 28 handicapper or a 38 or whatever.

    I always had a major problem with the old system making increases to your handicap so slow. This coupled with the norm for clubs to not give a fella a handicap higher than 20 regardless of whether or not he could play to anything like that handicap made it a very unfair system. It was essentially a minimum standard to compete in competitions and I fundamentally disagree with it in a golf club. I've gone out to 18.3 now so sometimes get two shots on a hole, but I had the same opinions when I was playing off 11. I'll have a better chance of winning if they introduce a max, but I'd rather everyone have a fair chance of winning.

    And as I said, if the higher guys are shown to have a higher chance of winning - then it should be looked at. And needing a minimum number of cards to be recorded before you can win a comp sounds fair to me too. If you've 3 cards in your handicap is based off one score. I don't think that guy should be competing to win the Captains prize. And probably not any competition.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 20,297 ✭✭✭✭FixdePitchmark

    I suppose - and I know I'm an outlier - I agree with the concept of a min standard to compete.

    I simply would prefer if golf was categorized only.

    So this is just another step past what I like in sport.