You are in Handicapping
The CONGU® Unified Handicapping System - Section 2
Table of Contents
Section 1 - Introduction
Section 2 - Competitions
Section 3 - General Play
Section 4 - Memberships
Section 5 - Handicap Suspension
Section 2 - Handicap changes after a competition
If I enter a competition, will my handicap change?
Not necessarily. For each competition which your Club organises, the committee should advise whether the competition will be a ‘Handicap Qualifying Competition’ at the time you enter. Only competitions that are Handicap Qualifying Competitions will automatically trigger handicap revisions.
Which type of competitions can be ‘Handicap Qualifying’?
The Handicapping system in fact defines the types of competition which cannot be handicap qualifiers. Those competitions that cannot be handicap qualifiers are
- Competitions not played over either 9 or 18 holes
- Competitions not run in line with the R&A rules of golf. (Example, competitions limited to 3 clubs)
- Competitions where a competitor may choose how many rounds he will play or which day he will play
- Any pairs events (such as Fourball Better-ball, etc).
- Stableford or Par competitions played off less than full handicap
- Competitions run by organisations not recognised by the authorities (such as Golf Societies).
The exceptions to these, which can qualify, are
- Fourball Aggregate competitions (provided partners do not play in the same group)
- Extended competitions where only one score is permitted from each entrant and the competition is not over more than two days (not consecutive).
- Competitions over three or more days where the sole reason is to accommodate the number of entrants.
How do handicaps change after a ‘Handicap Qualifying’ Competition?
The competition committee will perform the following calculations:
- Compute a ‘Competition Scratch Score’ (CSS) for the competition,
- Calculate a ‘nett differential’ for each player. This is the difference between the players’ nett score (score less current handicap) and the CSS,
- If the competition is a medal round, possibly adjust the nett differentials under ‘Stableford Adjustment’,
- Use each players’ nett differential to adjust their handicap according to the following formula:
|Handicap of player||Buffer Zone||Nett Differentials below zero||Nett Differentials above buffer zone|
Handicaps up to 5
|0 to +1||Handicap reduced by 0.1 for each stroke Nett Differential is below zero||Handicap increased by 0.1|
Handicaps 6 to 12
|0 to +2||Handicap reduced by 0.2 for each stroke Nett Differential is below zero||Handicap increased by 0.1|
Handicaps 13 to 20
|0 to +3||Handicap reduced by 0.3 for each stroke Nett Differential is below zero||Handicap increased by 0.1|
Handicaps 21 to 28
|0 to +4||Handicap reduced by 0.4 for each stroke Nett Differential is below zero||Handicap increased by 0.1|
Handicaps 29 to 36 (*)
|0 to +5 (*)||Handicap reduced by 0.5 for each stroke Nett Differential is below zero (*)||Handicap increased by 0.1 (*)|
Where the Nett Differential is within Buffer Zone, no adjustment to handicap is made.
How is the Competition Scratch Score calculated?
This is not a straightforward calculation. Broadly speaking, the calculations follow
- For Men; Discount all scores returned by category 4 players (handicaps 21 to 28), for Ladies; Discount all scores returned by category 5 players (handicaps 29 to 36)
- Calculate the percentage of players who competed in the competition in each of categories 1, 2 and 3 [and 4 for Ladies],
- Calculate the percentage of scores returned by the category 1, 2 and 3 [and 4] players which were two over the Standard Scratch Score of the course, or better.
- Use the percentages from (2) and (3) to determine the Competition Scratch Score by referring to a table supplied by CONGU for the purpose.
What is ‘Stableford Adjustment’?
Clubs must apply ‘Stableford Adjustments’ to Nett Differentials calculated after a Medal Competition. This adjustment has the effect of converting Nett Differentials under medal play to those which would have been calculated had the competition been played under Stableford format, eliminating any distortions resulting from unusually high scores (such as a 10 on a hole, for example).
Here, players’ Nett Differentials are reduced for each stroke scored on the players card which is more than two over Par after any handicap strokes have been subtracted for that hole (a ‘ Nett Double Bogey’).
How is a Nett Differential calculated if the competition is played as Stableford format?
A players’ Nett Differential is calculated as
36 - (Points scored) + (Par of Course) - (Competition Scratch Score)
What is a ‘Buffer Zone’?
A player’s ‘Buffer Zone’ is a range of scores returned in competitions where the player’s handicap will not be changed. The buffer zone is different depending upon the player’s handicap category. A player returns a score within his Buffer Zone when his Nett Differential is within specified limits.
Handicap of player
Buffer Zone(Nett Differential)
Category 1: Handicaps up to 5
0 to +1
Category 2: Handicaps 6 to 12
0 to +2
Category 3: Handicaps 13 to 20
0 to +3
Category 4: Handicaps 21 to 28
0 to +4
Category 5: Ladies Handicaps 29 to 36
0 to +5
I have returned a score outside buffer zone but my handicap has not changed. How is this possible?
Under some circumstances (when few nett scores in a competition are close to the Standard Scratch Score of the course or better) the Competition Scratch Score will be identified as "Reductions Only". Here, no increases of 0.1 may be applied to a handicap (although anyone returning a Nett Differential below zero will still have his handicap reduced!).
I have played in a competition away from my Home Club. Do I need to tell my Home Club?
Under most circumstances, you will be responsible for reporting your score to your Home Club. You are required to
1) Report the following to your club as soon as possible after the competition:
- The Date of the Competition,
- The Venue,
- The Competition Scratch Score,
- If the competition was Strokeplay, your Gross Score,
- If the competition was Stableford, your number of Points and the Par of the course,
- If the competition was a PAR format, your score against Par and the Par of the course.
2) If the competition was abandoned, report the above information only if your Nett Differential is below zero.
If you fail to report scores when you are required to do so, you will be at risk of having your handicap ‘suspended’.
The National Unions, at their discretion, may advise that competitors with handicaps in Category 3 or 4 (handicap 13 or over) need not return scores which would result in an increase in handicap.
Do I need to report scores from Society competitions?
Normally, this is not so.
However, if your club is in Ireland, the Golfing Union of Ireland require all Society scores where you have played better than your handicap to be reported to your Home Club.