Handicap System for 2021
All golfers will be aware of the new World Handicap System (WHS) introduced on 2/11/20. Golf Club members will be familiar with this system, as it requires them to adjust their handicap index according to charts displayed at their own and every other club. We will adopt the same system based on the tees we are playing off, usually the yellow tees for men and the red tees for women.
It is the intention to maintain a BGS handicap in line with the method used for the WHS, which will enable BGS-only non-club members to perform the correct adjustment at each event.
The process is straight-forward: know your handicap index, find the appropriate chart at the golf club you are visiting (usually near or in the pro shop or around the first tee), look down the column for the range your index falls in, and read across to find your course handicap for the day. A typical result might be “Men’s Yellow Tees; index 15.2 to 16.0, course handicap 17”. This course handicap will be your playing handicap for the event, unless you have any unexpired awards.
If handicap awards are still current from recent successes they are applied to this course handicap. The reductions awarded are one stroke to the runner-up and two to the winner, and one will be removed after two months and, for winners, the other after four months (on the 1st of the following month). December, January and February are not counted when removing these reductions. Awards are only given for performance in our Championship strokeplay events (Stableford) and only apply to those events.
In matchplay events any additional strokes for away players are applied to your course handicap before calculating the strokes to be taken from the lowest handicap player, which may then be adjusted, for example by taking 90% of the difference in fourball play, depending on the competition rules in force.
This system will commence with the first event in the Spring 2021 season.
Questions and Answers
Why change the present system?
To fall in line with the World Handicap System and to give BGS members who do not have a WHS handicap index the opportunity to have a handicap updated in an equivalent way, and have it adjusted according to the difficulty of the course being played, which is the prime purpose of the official system.
How will non-members of clubs have their handicaps maintained?
The handicap secretary will apply simplified WHS rules for each event played and post the new handicap index on the website handicap list. General play adjustments may also be made during the season or annually where the system is not keeping up with improving or deteriorating play. It is the member’s responsibility to check their handicap index on the day of play.
In what way are the WHS rules being simplified for the BGS?
The WHS has detailed methods for evaluating the difficulty of a course on a particular day by evaluating all the scores recorded. Adjustments may be applied to BGS scores and handicaps for similar reasons but by assessment not automatically.
Will cards from other events be accepted for the system?
Bona fide cards from other events or casual play will be acceptable. They should be sent to the handicap secretary as a photo or scan by email. They will be welcome and will improve the accuracy of the member’s handicap.
Will occasional and new players have a BGS handicap?
The system, in common with the WHS, needs a minimum of two completed scorecards in order to establish a handicap index. These may be from the first rounds played in our events, during which the player will not be eligible for the main prizes, or independent cards submitted from other events or observed casual rounds.
Handicap Awards and Reductions for First and Second Place
What happens if a player earns more reductions before earlier ones have expired?
They are cumulative and each will expire according to the date it was earned.
What happens if a player’s club handicap changes during the reduction period?
Any unexpired reduction is applied to the player’s current course handicap on the date of the event, whether that handicap has increased, decreased, or remained the same.
How about the winter warmer and AGM events?
Only events from the first designated Champion’s Cup event to the last and including the Spring, Summer and Autumn trophies will be used for winner and second-place reduction awards. Rounds in other competitions such as the winter warmer will be used in the BGS handicap system as they will be observed rounds.
So players who win or come second not having played to their handicap will get awards?
Yes, as they will have scored best on the day against all the other participants.
Which trophy category – A or B – will a player be in if his or her club handicap index at the start of a year or season gives a course handicap of 21 or 22 (both category B) but they have a stroke reduction award still unexpired?
If their initial course handicap (not handicap index) is 20 (A) that will be the category for the annual and current seasonal trophies. It is possible for a player to be in one category for the Spring season and that year’s Championship, and another for the Summer and/or Autumn season. It depends on the actual course handicap before applying the reduction for any awards, on the first event they play in that season or year.