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Worldwide Golf Handicapping System on the cards

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ALL those still coming to terms with Australia’s recent major golf handicapping changes might be taken aback somewhat with the news Golf Australia  has just foreshadowed a new worldwide golf handicapping system could be introduced “within the next few years”.

Golf Australia has foreshadowed the new worldwide handicapping system in a letter to all Australian golf clubs this week.

Fortunately, from what Golf Australia is suggesting, it won’t mean turning the new Australian system on its head. After all, it should be remembered the new Australian system was in many respects introduced to bring it more in line with international conventions.

In a letter to Australian clubs on Thursday, GA Chairman John Hopkins had two main communication points, firstly that statistical auditing of the new handicap system was underway, and secondly that an internationally agreed system was very much on the cards.

Hopkins said that before introducing the existing system that now includes Slope, Stableford Handicapping, DSR, etc in January 2014 Golf Australia conducted detailed statistical modelling and trialing of the new system to gauge its effectiveness.

“Regular statistical audits are scheduled to occur into the future to ensure the handicap system continues to operate in accordance with industry preferences,” Hopkins said.

“The current audit is extensive and is involving analysis of over 20 million scores.  We look forward to communicating the findings to clubs in the near future.”

Worldwide Handicap System

He then moved on to say the R&A and the USGA have for the past few years been leading a project to develop a Worldwide Handicap System.

Five other organisations are involved in this project including Golf Australia, the European Golf Association (EGA), CONGU (which is the British & Irish handicapping authority), the South African Golf Association, and the Argentine Golf Association.

“This project has now developed to a point where we believe a worldwide handicap system will be on offer to all countries around the world within the next few years,” Hopkins wrote.

“Whilst there will be no obligation on a country to be involved in the new worldwide system, GA believes that significant benefits can be delivered to world golf by having a single parent body for handicapping.”

Hopkins said GA had “invested heavily” in the Worldwide Handicap System process and the board was looking forward to receiving the final proposals.

“We are mindful of the amount of handicapping change that has occurred in Australia in recent times.  We also believe that the Worldwide System is likely to provide the flexibility to ensure there would be only minimal (if any) further adjustment required for Australian clubs and golfers.”

“Net competitions are more important to the culture of Australian clubs than they are to the club culture in any other country.  This is a proud feature of Australian golf.  The GA Board is committed to ensuring that the handicap system in use in Australia provides the best possible service for our clubs and golfers.”

The full GA letter is here

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About Brian O'Hare

Brian is the editor and founder of ASG. He is a former Sydney journalist and is now an avid "senior" golfer. Brian is a member of the Australian Golf Writers Association.

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