GOLF AUSTRALIA has announced an immediate change making it easier for golfers to retain an official Australian Men’s Handicap.
Effective immediately, golfers now need only three or more “live scores” as at 1 January each year to retain their handicaps. The previous requirement was for five or more.
Golf Australia says the change brings the relevant Australian men’s and women’s regulations into line and is more consistent with international standards.
The move is part of a number of recent changes and part of an ongoing process of moving towards a single Golf Australia Handicapping & Course Rating System for both men and women.
Golf Australia says further important changes to the women’s and men’s Australian Handicapping Systems will be announced on Monday 2 March 2009.
“Live Scores” include official competition rounds played within the year but can now also include “Extra Day Scores”.
Golf Australia also recently released Explanatory Notes stipulating that “Extra Day Scores” will have the same capacity to amend a player’s handicap as a competition score.
The GA note states: “An Extra Day Score is any completed stroke round not in competition and may be returned on any day of the week. All Extra Day Scores must be returned on the course of an affiliated club and marked by any affiliated female or male golfer of any recognised golf club. If no WCCR/MCCR is available, the course AWCR/AMCR must be used in place of a CCR. (Note – A Committee is permitted to introduce a condition requiring players to nominate prior to playing that their round is to count as an Extra Day Score.)
Extra Day Scores will be accepted only for the purpose of obtaining an initial Australian Women’s/Men’s Handicap or to enable sufficient cards to maintain an Australian Women’s/Men’s Handicap (Extra Day
Scores may be used at any time of the year to enable a player to accrue a sufficient number of cards to maintain their Australian Women’s/Men’s Handicap). Extra Day scores WILL be used to adjust a player’s handicap.
The marker must be responsible for ensuring that the player conforms to the Golf Australia regulations, the Rules of Golf, and the Club’s Local Rules and By-Laws and that they play from the correct tees.”
Regarding the increase in the men’s maximum handicap, GA says that at the National Handicapping & Course Rating Forum held in Melbourne in August, there was widespread support for the maximum Australian Men’s Handicap being increased to 36.4.
The Golf Australia Handicapping & Course Rating Committee has adopted this recommendation and, together with several other changes, it is forecast for implementation on 1 April 2008.
GA says the reason these changes are being held back until this time is they require changes to Golf Link and need to be managed accordingly.