At its most recent meeting, the GA Handicapping & Course Rating Committee formulated a series of updated regulations and procedures regarding the operation of the existing Australian Handicapping & Course Rating Systems. All of these items have now been approved by the Board and are effective immediately. CHANGES TO EXISTING AUSTRALIAN HANDICAP & COURSE RATING SYSTEMS WHICH ARE EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY
1. GA Advice Regarding Concurrent Four-ball and Singles Competitions (includes note on Swingers ). 2. Four-ball Handicapping Regulations Clarification of Interpretation. 3. Eligibility of Professional Golfer to Hold Australian Handicap. 4. Amendment to AWCR Regulations (Preferred Lies Through the Green). 5. Re-assessment of Handicaps – 5.1 Re-assessment of Australian Handicap Role & Authority of Club Committee. – 5.2 Determination of Special Competition Handicap in Extraordinary Circumstances. 6. General Decisions on Existing Australian Handicap Regulations. 1. GA Advice Regarding Concurrent Four-ball and Singles Competitions Click here to view the GA Advice Regarding Concurrent Four-ball and Singles Competitions 2. Four-ball Handicapping Regulations Clarification of Interpretation The Committee reviewed the amended regulations (which came into effect on 1 April 2009) relating to the handicapping of four-ball competitions. With a view to achieving greater simplification, and to continue the process of aligning our systems with the determined forward direction, as well as to clarify the procedures in light of various queries, the following amended regulations were adopted: Four-ball scores (including mixed events) MUST be used for handicapping an individual player but only if the following requirements are met: The pair has a score of at least 42 Stableford points (6 up in Par or net 6 under in Stroke events). The individual player&aposs score appears at least 9 times on the four-ball score card. The adjusted score (after the below method has been followed to create an individual score card) will result in a reduction to the individual player&aposs handicap. (GOLF Link clubs will enter these scores as ad-hoc scores; the AMCR/AWCR is to be used in all cases.) Note i WHERE AN INDIVIDUAL PLAYER S SCORE IS TO BE HANDICAPPED (irrespective of whether the competition is played as Par, Stroke, or Stableford), IT MUST BE PROCESSED AS A STABLEFORD SCORE in accordance with the procedures contained within this regulation. Note ii If two identical net scores are recorded by partners on a hole, both scores are eligible to be used on an adjusted individual score card. However, if the first player to hole out can be readily identified, the second player is deemed to have not recorded a score for that hole. PROCEDURE FOR COMPLETING FOUR-BALL SCORE CARD: When a player has no handicap stroke on a hole and their score is not recorded on the four-ball card, they are given 1 Stableford point. On holes where a player receives 1, 2, or 3 handicap strokes and their score is not recorded on the four-ball card, they are given 1 Stableford points. When a player s score is recorded on the four-ball card for a hole, they are given the appropriate number of Stableford points for that hole. When all the gaps in the card have been filled in, the points should be added, and where a half appears in the total, the points total should be rounded to the next lower whole number. The score obtained is recorded in the player s handicap record sheet and treated in the same way as all singles scores for handicap purposes. 3. Eligibility of Professional Golfer to Hold Australian Handicap With a view to achieving a more inclusive and accessible handicapping system, as well as a system that provides a mechanism for provision of more equitable handicaps to ALL competition entrants, GA has determined to allow professionals full eligibility to hold Australian Handicaps. (Note: A Committee is permitted to have a condition restricting entry to any (or all) event(s) it controls to Amateurs only (or to Professionals only).) 4. Amendment to AWCR Regulations (Preferred Lies Through the Green) The Committee noted and discussed the discrepancy in the manner by which the Australian Women’s Course Rating System and Australian Men’sCourse Rating System have treated the operation by a club of the preferred lies through the green local rule. (The women’s system automatically reduced the AWCR by two strokes whereas the men’s system makes no adjustments.) The Committee further noted that the purpose of this local rule is to allow a Committee to adopt a procedure which negates particularly adverse conditions (ie it is not for the improvement of standard conditions, it is to normalise poor conditions). The Committee consequently took the view that preferred lies through the green should not create an automatic adjustment to a course rating, or in any way automatically alter any course rating procedures. The Australian Women’s Course Rating System has been amended to reflect this policy (and to bring it in line with the Australian Men’sCourse Rating System). NOTE FOR GOLF LINK CLUBS REGARDING THE CHANGE Implementation by a club of the preferred lies through the green local rule must not prompt the person performing the Golf Link operations to tick the box which results in an automatic course rating adjustment (or choose any other option which will cause a similar outcome) . A course rating adjustment option must only be activated if the club is operating the tee-up through the green local rule. NOTE FOR NON-GOLF LINK CLUBS REGARDING THE CHANGE Preferred lies through the green does not create an automatic adjustment to a course rating, or in any way automatically alter any course rating procedures. However, when the tee-up through the green local rule is in place, women’s committees must still reduce the AWCR by 2 strokes; men’s committees must still allow the MCCR to be set at up to 4 strokes below the AMCR (ie the MCCR normally cannot be higher than 2 strokes above nor lower than 1 stroke below the course&aposs AMCR tee-up through the green alters this to cannot be higher than 2 strokes above nor lower than 4 strokes below ). 5. Re-assessment of Handicaps 5.1 Re-assessment of Australian Handicap Role & Authority of Club Committee The Committee discussed the regulations regarding the formal re-assessment of a member s Australian Men’sHandicap or Australian Women’s Handicap. The issue was considered generally with a view to identifying any potential amendments that may yield a more equitable handicapping process. As it is the determined forward direction of Australian handicapping, the Committee also took note of the manner in which the USGA Handicap System handles such matters. In working through this issue, the Committee was mindful that whilst golf clubs perform the most significant administrative function in the maintenance of an individual handicap, the handicap is not owned by the club, nor is it owned by the individual member. All handicaps are owned by Golf Australia; which has the achievement of an equitable playing field as its primary objective. (It was also noted that Golf Australia delegates to its Member States the power to administer on its behalf the handicapping of all players who are members of clubs affiliated with such States.) Further to this, the Committee identified as a significant concern the disproportionate incapacity of a non-Home Club to be directly involved in the ongoing handicapping of a player who is a multi-club member. The specific concern with this is that it generates far too many holes in the mechanism which provides for review and monitoring of players scores and handicaps. As a result, GA has amended the Australian Handicapping Systems to reflect that any affiliated club of which a player is a member shall hold the same authority to re-assess and adjust that player s Australian Handicap as is currently held by the Home Club. (The regulations have been amended to require a non-Home Club to conform to the same re-assessment requirements as were previously required of Home Clubs, except that advice of amendment must be advised to both the Home Club and the respective State Association. Once such advice has been forwarded, any competition committee should consider the new figure to be the player s current Australian Handicap. The Home Club will be obliged to immediately amend the player s Australian Handicap and handicap record accordingly. Should the Home Club, or any other club of which the player is a member, wish to challenge the decision of the non-Home Club, it must do so in writing to the respective State Association.) 5.2 Determination of Special Competition Handicap in Extraordinary Circumstances After considered discussion, the Committee took the view that the existing Australian Handicapping System regulations unfairly limit the capacity of a committee in charge of a competition to set the conditions of an event (hence restricting the operation of Rule 33-1, Rules of Golf). Just as Golf Australia does not seek to control the conditions regarding entry of an event with which it has no involvement, so the Committee acknowledged that extraordinary circumstances may arise which justify a player (or group of players) being required to play off a handicap higher or lower than their Australian Handicap/s. (Note The consideration of this issue relates to situations other than those covered by the imposition on a competition of a general handicap limit or ceiling.) Accordingly, and primarily to protect the authority conferred by Rule 33-1, a committee in charge of a competition will now be authorised to allocate to a competitor (or group of competitors) a Special Competition Handicap if the following requirements are met: The State Association must first have been consulted to determine whether a general adjustment of the player s Australian Handicap is warranted. (NB That the State Association may have decided a general adjustment of the player s Australian Handicap is unwarranted does not prevent a committee in charge of a competition from allocating a Special Competition Handicap. A committee in charge of a competition will be eligible to allocate a Special Competition Handicap as soon as it has lodged in writing with the State Association a submission or notice regarding re-assessment of the player s Australian Handicap.) The committee in charge of the competition must accumulate a body of evidence (eg data, cards, scores, competition results) that would indicate the application of a Special Competition Handicap is necessary. The body of evidence need not be extensive but it must be compelling. (NB It will be for the committee in charge of the competition to determine whether or not this requirement has been met.) The Special Competition Handicap must reflect the accumulated body of evidence. (NB It will be for the committee in charge of the competition to determine whether or not this requirement has been met.) Note i Any committee in charge of a competition which allocates a Special Competition Handicap will be solely responsible for all associated outcomes. Note ii Neither Golf Australia, nor any State Association, will be obliged to assist with any outcomes associated with the allocation of a specific Special Competition Handicap. Note iii When entering a score into a player s handicap record (or when processing a competition for handicap purposes), it is the player s Australian Handicap that must be used to calculate a net score, NOT any Special Competition Handicap that may have been used for the purposes of determining; competition placings, allocation of prizes, or event/match winners or results. As it is the determined forward direction of Australian handicapping, the Committee was mindful of the manner in which the USGA Handicap System handles such matters. 6. General Decisions on Existing Australian Handicap Regulations To provide enhanced guidance for State Associations and Clubs, the following table of Decisions has been inserted into the Australian Women’s Handicapping System, the Australian Men’sHandicapping System, the Australian Women’s Course Rating System, and the Australian Men’sCourse Rating System. (Note This table replaces the previous similar table which was contained within the Australian Women’s Calculated Course Rating System.) Click here to view the General Decisions on Australian Handicap Regulations Please contact your State Association or GA should you have any queries regarding any of the above.