WHS (World Handicapping System)/Winter Leagues - Club Update

The World Handicapping System (WHS) went live at the beginning of this week and already it has thrown up a number of anomalies with some handicaps either rising or decreasing significantly, and completed competitions not being included in handicap calculations and slope rating errors.

Under the old CONGU system of handicapping where the Club had responsibility for the members’ handicap – alterations and adjustments could be rectified at Club level. Now all control has passed to Scottish Golf, it is already clear that there will be an element of teething problems as the new system beds in.

We are asking for clarification from Scottish Golf on any issue that affects everyone’s handicap but we are unable to respond to individual handicap questions as Scottish Golf will not or cannot respond to individual handicap questions. What we can tell you is the WHS works based on your best 8 out of your last 20 scores. It is not beyond the realms of possibility that a good medal round may result in your handicap going up if the score dropping off is better than your most recent round!! We will continue to run Wednesday and Sunday medals as long as is possible to allow the system to bed in prior to the start of the main season next year but at some stage we will have to move to winter tees, mats and winter greens.

Which leads to the absence of Winter League’s this year. Why? It is the intention of all the national federations, of which Scottish Golf is one, that there is a 12-month handicapping season and the PCC (the new equivalent to CSS) is designed to account for daily playing conditions and handicaps are calculated against this. However, we are not Portugal or South Africa and Scotland can be an icy place mid-winter, with rough forward tees and challenging winter greens to say the least. We have always considered this as fun golf for the very hardy, and there is a ground swell of opinion across golf clubs in Scotland that Scottish Golf have missed a trick in that golf is not just about competitive golf – it’s about golf as a healthy pursuit.

Currently therefore, we are faced with 2 options:

a) We run winter leagues in their present format but as non-qualifying competitions, so handicaps do not move for the duration of the winter regardless of your score, or

b) We measure the course based on winter tees and greens and/or winter tees and summer greens (when available) and submit this detail to Scottish Golf for ratification, so that scores become part of the national handicap.

Neither option is ideal and the former is probably the lesser of two evils, but we would welcome your feedback.

We have also explored the possibility of designing spreadsheets with a view to processing the results (circa-25 years ago) but with 2 winter leagues and 180 members now playing across them, it simply isn’t viable in the present format of the winter leagues.

The irony is that the software, to allow for a winter handicap, was removed at the start of the week so this is a deliberate decision on the part of the national federations to restrict fun golf in favour of year round competitive golf.

We will introduce the winter leagues as soon as practicable after the medals end but we would appreciate your feedback in the interim as to how you would like us to proceed.

D D Smith
Managing Secretary