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Handicap Changes as of 1st April

This month we look at the following changes to the South African Handicap system and manual decided upon by The South African Golf Association (SAGA) and Women’s Golf South Africa (WGSA) according to international trends.


 Handicap Changes with effect from 1st April 2016

1. With effect from 1st April 2016 handicaps will be calculated overnight and any adjustment will be effective as of the next day.

Why the Change?

With all scores now captured electronically the system is able to immediately calculate a golfer’s current handicap - a process adopted by the majority of golf playing countries and in line with proposals for the World Handicap System planned for introduction in 2018.

The final details of the World Handicap System are still under investigation, but once the system has been finalised it will be introduced in South Africa.

The reason the handicap will be calculated overnight, and not immediately the score is entered, is that South Africa and the World Handicap System will be introducing an overnight adjustment to the course rating, whenever the system determines the scores for the day are statistically outside a buffer zone. This is currently done in Europe, England, Scotland and Australia.

Although players have 72 hours after completing a round to enter a score, before incurring a penalty, it is recommended that from 1st April, Clubs make it a condition of entry into their competitions, that all outstanding scores have been entered prior to the start of their competitions.

2. With effect from 1st April there is also a change to the score entry for golfers who do not finish their rounds.

Where a player has completed 7 or more but less than 14 holes, the score should be recorded as a 9 hole adjusted gross score. When 13 or more holes have been completed, the player should record an 18 hole adjusted gross score. For unfinished holes required to complete a 9 hole or 18 hole card, golfers need to record a score of par for the hole plus any handicap strokes for that hole, as detailed on the course score card.

Why the change?

The current manual indicates that only a 9 hole score should be recorded where a player has played more than 9 holes, but less than 18. For example if a player has to leave the course due to lightning after playing 17 holes, only a 9 hole score would currently be entered, and the system would record par plus half the players handicap for the remaining 9 holes.

In line with international systems, it is more accurate to record the player’s actual score where he has completed 13 holes or more and then par plus strokes for the remaining holes.

The revised handicap manual, which will be effective from 1st April 2016, will be circulated to all clubs and will be posted on the HNA and SAGA internet sites.

Further information or queries regarding these changes should be emailed to paul@handicaps.co.za or by telephone to HNA support at 086 000 1945.

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Handicap changes effective 1st February 2012

The South Africa Golf Association (SAGA) compared the South African handicap calculation to those in use by the other major golfing countries, especially those countries that play similar handicap competitions to South Africa. This investigation resulted in the decision to align South Africa more closely with the USGA and other international Handicap System.

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