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Golf: Changes in the handicap rules for club golfers.

Byline: TIM TAYLOR

THE 50,000-plus club golfers in the North-East will have no excuse for not having an accurate handicap as a result of new regulations which will come into force for the 2008 season.

Even those who never compete in club competitions or who only play nine-hole tournaments will be able to benefit from the tireless efforts of The Council of National Golf Unions (CONGU) .

Yesterday, they published the CONGU UHS (Unified Handicap System) 2008-2011 manual, which is the result of voluntary work by Council members during the last four years.

CONGU is the governing body for handicapping matters in Great Britain & Ireland and comprises members from the men's and ladies' Golf Unions/Associations in England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales, with representatives from The R&A and the LGU.

The 2004-2007 manual included, for the first time, a unified approach for handicapping men and ladies under the same system. The 2008 UHS has built on this success and has been expanded to include new concepts.

These include Supplementary Scores, Nine Hole Handicap Competitions, a Competition Scratch Score (CSS) calculation for "home" and "away" players in Open competitions and assistance for handicap committees in carrying out the time consuming Annual Handicap Review (AHR).

The manual has been totally revised to make it more user friendly to clubs and their members by placing the clauses in a more logical order and adding explanations to relevant clauses.

The section on Supplementary Scores has been included to assist golfers who, for whatever reason, play in few or no competitions each year, by allowing them to return cards outside competitions for handicap purposes. At the discretion of affiliated clubs, a limited number of Nine-Hole qualifying competitions may be run and such scores shall be used to adjust handicaps.

This option is designed to attract more players into the Unified Handicapping System.

Common sense has always suggested that in Open competitions, the 'away' player is often at a disadvantage compared to the 'home' player and subsequent statistical analysis showed this to be on average between one and two shots.

Since this unfairly affects adjustments of handicaps, there will now be a separate CSS for 'home' and 'away' players to take account of this factor and to provide a more equitable basis .

CONGU believes the revised manual and the incorporation of the new concepts will assist in meeting the demands of the modern game and the changing needs of club members.

The CONGU website - www.congu.com - is being updated to explain the changes and also to answer many queries about the UHS. The "Myths and Misconceptions" and "Frequently Asked Questions" sections should be of particular interest to the club golfer. All the constituent Unions/Associations websites have links to the CONGU website.
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Nov 15, 2007
Words:458
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