The South African Golf Association (SAGA) today announced a few modifications to the handicap system which take effect on 1 April 2013.
Your handicap is one of the most important aspects of the game and it was announced by the SAGA that there’ll be numerous changes to the system from 1st April 2013.
Of special interest to the 160 000 golfers with an official handicap is the change to the maximum score allowed per hole for handicap purposes: a golfer may now enter a maximum score of 2-over- par on any hole, except where a player has 2 handicap strokes in which case a player may enter a maximum score of 3-over on that hole.
The major reason given for the change was that golfers felt that a maximum score of 3 over on every hole for handicaps 19 and above, made it difficult for these golfers to reduce their handicaps.
In 2012 the SAGA implemented changes to align more closely with the USGA handicap system, and recent polls by HNA have indicated that more than 90% of golfers were happy with the functioning and accuracy of the local handicap system. But the majority of club captains were unhappy with the maximum score ruling introduced in 2012 and over 95% voted in favour of the change.
The majority of South African golfers have handicaps between 6 and 24 and the changes introduced in 2012 resulted in the average handicap for men increasing from 15.98 to 16.48 and from 25.18 to 25.71 for women. We expect the reduction in maximum score to have a slight impact on these averages.
1. Most likely score replacing conceded putt rule
The current manual says:
5.3.3 When a putt is conceded in an event in which completion of every hole is not essential, the actual score for the hole shall be entered, counting the conceded putt as one stroke.
This section will be changed to read as follows:
5.4 Unfinished Holes, Conceded Strokes
A player who starts but does not finish a hole or is conceded a stroke must record the most likely score (see 3.15) they would have achieved. The number of strokes most likely to have been achieved should not exceed the maximum allowed on each hole as detailed in 5.3 above.
3.15 Most Likely Score
A most likely score is the score a player would most likely have achieved if he started the hole but did not complete the hole or if a player is conceded a stroke. This should be calculated as to the number of strokes already taken plus the number of strokes the player was most likely to have achieved more than 50% of the time.
2. Maximum score on a Hole
Based on recent surveys, the majority of Golfers, Club Captains and Club Managers have advised that the current maximum score per hole makes it difficult for players with handicaps over 18 to reduce their handicaps. The SAGA have therefore revised the maximum score allowed per hole and this section in the SAGA handicap manual will be revised as follows:
5.3 Maximum score on any hole
The maximum score on a hole for handicap purposes is 2 over par except where a player has two handicap strokes on a hole, in which case the maximum score allowed is 3 over par for that hole.
Players should, where possible, complete every hole regardless of their partner’s or their opposition’s score. Where a player does not complete a hole they should record their most likely score. (See 3.15- Most Likely Score)
3. Removal of the dynamic Calculated Rating (CR) calculation
The SAGA has decided to remove the CR calculation from the system. The CR calculation adjusts course ratings based on adverse weather conditions. This calculation was suspended 13 months ago. It has been removed because the SAGA handicap is based on an average of the best 10 of the last 20 scores, so adverse weather on a particular day will have a minimal influence on the player’s average handicap.
The CR calculation is mainly used in countries that use individual competition scores for handicap calculations and where every designated competition score is considered in the player’s handicap.