It is disappointing that, despite the best efforts of GolfRSA, CMASA and the PGA, we have not yet been able to resume playing golf. We are all hoping that Government will soon accept that we can begin playing golf again, while at the same time maintaining social distancing protocols and mitigating risks for the club staff.
In this month’s newsletter, we take a look at the controls in the HNA Handicap system, and we would like to get your feedback on whether you feel we need to implement more control measures or not.
The HNA Handicap System
Golf is a game of honour and we estimate that over 99% of golfers are honest. However, we all know there are a few individuals who try and manipulate their handicaps. Unsurprisingly, these sorts of people are also the types who will cheat on the golf course.
So, the question is: do we increase the controls in the system to try and catch those few cheats or not?
Any handicap system is not really there to catch people cheating; it is designed to make it as easy as possible for you to enter scores, calculate your Handicap Index, and let you access your handicap information 24/7.
Controls currently in place
1. Peer Review
Every round recorded is visible to all golfers and clubs on the HNA Handicap system.
Peer review is the main control measure in the system and you can, and should, check the scores entered by the people you played golf with, especially if you have a question in your mind about their ability when compared to their Handicap Index. You can do this via the Lookup Golfer function on the HNA App, HNA terminal or the HNA website.
A common technique used by handicap cheats to keep their Handicap Index inflated is to simply not enter their good scores. This is why it is so important for all rounds to be opened on the HNA system before the round is played. The system also keeps a check on scores entered for which rounds were not opened before play, so please make sure you and the golfers you play with have either had the round opened on the system by the club (recommended) or on the HNA App or HNA terminal prior to teeing off.
If your club doesn’t open rounds on check-in and you only open the round after playing – for example, when entering your score – it will be flagged to be investigated.
If someone you play with fails to enter their score, or enters an incorrect score, please advise your Club Handicap Committee Chair or the Club Manager, and they will investigate the issue. You can advise the club whether you wish to remain anonymous to the golfer in question or not.
Ultimately, the key control in the system is actually you – and we are sure you all know the people who need close scrutiny at your club.
2. The Club Handicap Committee
The second key control in the WHS / HNA Handicap System is the Club Handicap Committee. It is a key requirement of the system that every club has at least one person responsible for overseeing and reviewing their members’ handicaps.
GolfRSA and Provincial Union members will, over the next six months, be meeting with clubs and training their staff and the Handicap Committee on the roles and responsibilities of the Handicap Committee, as well as how to use the existing and new reports available from the HNA system. GolfRSA has also put together a set of recommended procedures and proposed sanctions for different handicap-related transgressions.
There is a World Handicap System (WHS) requirement that all club members’ handicaps are reviewed at least once annually. The WHS has developed a review algorithm that can assist the Clubs in identifying golfers whose Handicap Indexes need further investigation.
There are also a few extreme examples of handicap cheats who enter fictitious scores (Fake Rounds) on the HNA Handicap system in order to manipulate their Handicap Indexes. Clubs can easily verify whether the player played on the day or not, and we trust that any player caught doing this would be subjected to a full disciplinary procedure, as per the GolfRSA recommendations. Severe penalties include having their handicap suspended by the club and their membership reviewed.
To summarise, we have a Round Opening function before play, we have Peer Review available for all scores entered or not entered, and we have a Club Handicap Committee overseeing their members’ handicaps, with a variety of reports generated by the system to assist them.
It is possible to go further and put more controls into the system. Examples of this include adding things like having your marker verify the score you enter into the system and looking at developing technology to make sure you were at the club for each score you enter.
Since this is your handicap system, it is up to golfers to decide whether it is worth adding further controls to the system to try and catch those few cheats or not.
Please click here or on the link below to have your say by answering the question, “Do you think HNA should increase the controls in the HNA Handicap system?”
This will give us the guidance we need to look at ways we can increase the controls and to then approach GolfRSA with possible solutions, which we would further discuss with you and the clubs before any implementation.
We will let you know the result of the survey next month.
Quote of the Month
“Golf is the only sport I know of where a player pays for every mistake. A man can muff a serve in tennis, miss a strike in baseball, or throw an incomplete pass in football and still have another chance to square himself. In golf, every swing counts against you.” – Lloyd Mangrum