Date: March 30, 2014
Author: Golf NSW

Determining Competition Grades

Should Competition Grades be Determined on the Basis of GA Handicaps or Daily Handicaps? We have had many queries regarding how to set up Grades , relevant to the newly introduced GA Handicap System. In order to answer this each club must assess their own reasons for the structuring of their grades. There is no mandated structure from any governing bodies regarding grades and clubs may structure their own grades to have best effect for their membership. In the majority of clubs, grades have been set up for allocation of trophies. Many clubs have endeavoured to have fairly equal numbers in each grade for prize allocation. As many clubs will have variations on the number of high, mid and low handicap golfers, they may structure their grades accordingly. The GA recommendation on this is provided at Section 6(ii)(K) of the new handicap system. The recommendation is as follows: To enable comparisons and consistency from club to club and from one set of tees to another set of tees, it is recommended that handicap competition grades be determined on the basis of GA Handicaps.

Note that this is just guidance

There is no objection to a club that chooses to use Daily Handicaps for this purpose it makes no difference from a handicapping perspective and GA takes the view that clubs should do what they feel is right for them.

Women’s Golf NSW Medal Competition

This competition is open to Clubs across NSW, whose members GA Handicaps have both gone up and down as a result of the recent handicap changes. The Grades for the 2014 event will be the same as for 2013, with a review to occur for 2015.

Other Golf NSW Events

Similarly, Golf NSW will not be amending the handicap limits for its events at this point in time, and will be using the GA Handicaps to determine eligibility. We offer the following points for consideration:

  • Remember that the GA handicap (shown on Golflink) is not designed to be the handicap to be played off on any given day. It is calculated to indicate what a golfer would play off at a course rated 113 (neutral course). It is the base to be used to calculate your Daily Handicap from the slope rating of the course you are to play. The calculated Daily Handicap is the handicap to be played off.
  • At any club with more than one set of rated tees, a player could potentially play from a different Daily Handicap from each set of tees. If a club elected to structure grades by the Daily Handicap, a player could move between grades from one day to another. We believe this would likely create much confusion.
  • The GA Handicap shown on Golflink is the only fixed point. As the GA handicap does not fluctuate according to the course to be played, it s use should be less ambiguous and less confusing in the longer term.

Please consider, over many years the handicap system has had changes and alterations whereby handicaps have increased or decreased and clubs have not felt the necessity to change their grade structures. More than two years ago, when we went to the best 10 of 20 cards, most handicaps increased but clubs did not rush in and change grades. It is also opportune time to revisit the structure of your grades and make them relevant to your clubs current requirements. Clubs may choose to simply apply their old handicap structures to the GA Handicap and set grades by this manner.

How you can structure grades using the GA Handicap (to reflect current parameters)

Comment we have received from some clubs is that they wish to maintain the status quo that existed for their member grades (e.g. A= up to 12, B= 13-19, C=20-36) but because the GA Handicap adjusted to 113 has created a reduction or increase in handicaps they do not feel this is equitable. Using the example A= up to 12, B= 13-19, C=20-36, and a sample club with Slope rating 125, the following will show how a club can use the GA Handicap to structure grades and effectively maintain their current parameters. We refer this as reverse engineering and would suggest using the Slope Look Up Chart for your championship course (e.g. 125), then;

  • Look up the chart to establish the upper handicap of 12 for A grade for man to play off 12 at a course rated 125 his GA handicap would fall in the bracket of 10.4 11.2. Therefore, make A Grade up to GA handicap 11.2
  • B Grade would them be from 11.3. The upper of handicap limit 19 would be GA handicap bracket 16.8-17.6. Therefore B grade = 11.3 to 17.6 GA Handicap
  • C grade would then be 17.7 GA handicap and above After conversion by this manner from the GA Handicap, the Daily Handicaps would see them competing at your club much the same as before the changes. Use of the GA handicap to set grades will comply with the recommendations of the governing bodies and will be the method used for events conducted by the them. It will also be beneficial to golfers if such a uniform position is attained. Ultimately, your club can set grades by any means that you select, we hope the above information will assist you in making informed decision on this matter.