More changes to Australian Handicap System

GOLF AUSTRALIA has today foreshadowed impending changes to the new Australian Handicap System.

This will include an adjustment to the best 10 of 20 rounds calculation method which will be implemented in the next few months.

In a memo to clubs GA says it will be making an announcement on the implementation of the changes before the end of May.

The refinements follow extensive consultations with Australian and USGA golf officials and a wide scale survey of the first nine months of the operation of the new system.

“Although I don’t wish to pre-empt the announcement in May, I do want to give an assurance on three key points on which we have received consistent feedback,” Simon Magdulski, GA Manager – Rules & Handicapping, said in the memo.

“Firstly, an adjustment to the 10 of 20 calculation method will be addressed as a matter of priority and will be implemented within the next few months.

“Secondly, the Slope Indexing System will be included in the Australian Handicap System.

“Thirdly, the regulation which requires the conversion of Stroke rounds into Stableford scores for the purposes of entry into a player’s handicap record will be included.”

Magdulski said GA was still to make final decisions on daily course ratings and the regulations surrounding the use of noncompetition cards.

All club and Member Associations are now being given the opportunity to provide input into these two key areas.

Golf Handicap Statistical Analysis

GA recently commissioned a statistical analysis of handicap and competition trends under both the ‘Old Handicap System’ and the ‘New Handicap System’. The analysis included over 27,000 competition rounds involving 400,000 individual golfers

The key findings of the statistical analysis are:

· The scores required to win competitions, or to win prizes (eg balls) in competitions, vary depending on the field size.

· Under the New System, the low marker finds it harder to compete as the field size increases.

Under the New System, the field size value at which a low marker is disadvantaged is about 50 for men, and 100 for women. Low markers do still compete and are winning competitions in very high field sizes, but as the field size increases the bias becomes more and more unfavourable for the low markers and favourable for the high markers.

· Under the New System the most frequent winning score for field sizes of between 6 and 10 is 37 points. As the field size increases this steadily rises to 43 points.

· Under the Old System, there was a significant advantage to the low markers, which actually grew with field size.

· Under the Old System, the high markers were disadvantaged so they won far fewer competitions than their representation in the field. Many of them were chronically playing at handicap levels far in excess of their playing handicaps. Essentially this was due to the uneven way that differentials were applied. Handicaps for high markers only “eased out” by 0.1 stroke for a poor round, no matter how poor, but they were tightened far more quickly if the player had the occasional good


· Has there been any ‘settling down’ in the period since the New System was introduced on 9 April 2010? No, there is no significant variation between the month-on-month distribution of handicaps in the months following the introduction of the New System.

The reports and an Executive Summary are available from the GA website here.

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Brian is an award winning golf writer and is the founder and editor of Australian Senior Golfer. He is a former Sydney journalist who had little interest in golf till he hit his first ball at the age of 49 (and a half). Since then golf has just about overtaken his life. Brian founded ASG in April 2008 and has since covered every Australian Open, Presidents Cups, World Cups and numerous other big men’s and women’s tournaments, spending days inside the ropes with the likes of Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Rory McIlroy, Jordan Spieth, Tom Watson, Fred Couples, Greg Norman, Adam Scott, Jason Day, Karrie Webb, and many others. He has also played in, and reported on, numerous amateur tournaments, particularly senior and veteran events, around the country. Brian is a member of the Australian Golf Media Association and won the award for Best News Report for 2016 - 2017


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