CONGU and England Golf have announced a number of changes to the handicap system for 2016/17 that will take effect from 1st January 2016


CONGU changes explained


CONGU and England Golf have announced a number of changes to the handicap system for 2016/17.

The changes will take effect from the 1st of January 2016, and the highlights include:

New 28+ handicaps for men

It was agreed that no change would be made to the existing handicap category boundaries. However a new ‘Club Handicap’ will be introduced for clubs who wish to allocate a handicap higher than 28/36 for use in club run events. This handicap will only be valid at the player’s home club and cannot be used in opens etc.

CSS to include Cat. 4 players

The Competition Scratch Score for men will now to include Category 4 players in the same manner as Ladies CSS calculation.

Related: SSS and CSS in a nutshell

Nine hole qualifying scores

If you score better than, or within, buffer you will have 18 points added to create an 18 hole score. If your score returned is outside buffer, it will be doubled, while nine hole scores will also be included in the ESR process.

Continuous handicap reviews

A new process is to be introduced that will flag players who notch up seven consecutive 0.1 handicap increases, allowing their Handicap Committees to review and apply an immediate handicap increase if required.

4BBB handicap change

The allowance for fourball better ball has been increased from 3⁄4 to 90%.

Competition Status

Re-allocation of ‘c’ status handicap will require scorecards for 54 holes, in any permutation of nine and 18-hole scores. All Unions and Associations are to use ‘c’ Competition Handicap Status from 1st January 2016. Reactivation of ‘c’ status after a handicap is lost is now possible if a player with a Competition Handicap leaves club membership but re-joins within a period of 12 months.

Supplementary scores

Supplementary scores may now be returned at all GB&I clubs of which a player is a member, and are acceptable over nine holes for handicap categories of 2 and above, while there is no limit for handicaps 28/36 to 54.

Exceptional Scoring Reductions (ESRs)

The ESR table has been amended to reduce severity of reductions, and ESRs will only be applied based on a pair of exceptional scores.

Preferred Lies

Each National Union to have discretion to adopt a preferred lie period within their jurisdiction. England Golf will remain as the 1st of October to the 30th of April. Any clubs using preferred lies outside this period must be authorised by its County Union or Association.

  • Rob Aston

    I’m sorry but I think that the tinkering has to stop. Making it easier to win a competition or a match is encouraging lazy golfers. My old history teacher always quoted “success comes before work only in the dictionary” if CONGU have there way the lazy and inept will be inheriting all the trophies. Regardless of success in competition the other outcome will be slower golf and the removal of fun from all those golfers who aspire to finish a round within 4hrs.

  • Peter Baker

    Change to 90% a joke, the previous change to full handicap for singles matchplay was bad enough now this. As a player with a 3 handicap this would have been ok but too many clubs play competitions from forward tees. The rule of 90% and or 100% in singles should only apply if playing from the very back of every tee.

  • tebbitforpm

    When I started golf in 1962 the highest handicap was 24 in England and 18 in Scotland. Since then the game has got EASIER because we have better equipment, a better understanding of the golf swing and manicured golf courses hence scores are lower. So why introduce higher handicaps than 28 ??????? Another race to the bottom of mediocrity. Get lessons, practice and get your handicap down not up. The game will just get slower than it already is and put people off playing. I agree that the video could have done without the wind interference and who were the guys anyway ? Very amateurish.

  • Pat_Roadie_Rrryan

    9 hole qualifying will allow even more people to build handicaps more quickly.
    I expected to read that if they get 7 0.1’s that they would have their handicap building reviewed and perhaps even cut rather than increased more quickly.
    Who is the game being run for? The good golfers or the bad golfers or the paid officials and bureaucrats?
    Higher handicaps will slow up play even more. 90% handicap allowance for fourballs will do likewise.
    We have 4 man rumbles in our club, with full handicaps, that take 5 hours to play. This is being done to keep the high handicappers from moaning about losing 25% in a fourball. The slowest golfers are the committee members. The high handicappers win most of these comps now with ridiculous scores. This is not golf and having the game fundamentally changed to satisfy the worst golfers is not good enough.

    Who is driving these changes and why are they being introduced?
    Has any research been done to show conclusively that they will benefit the game?

  • Debbie Whiting

    I recently played golf in Spain where lots of younger people and many more women play. I think this is because golf clubs are not divided into sections and competitions are club competitions – not men’s or ladies. Everyone enters regardless of age or gender – no ladies seniors etc. ladies sections are generally not that welcoming and I certainly prefer playing with the men – off an 11 handicap I can more than hold my own! To get more people playing get rid of the sections and just have categories of prizes if that is what us wanted.
    Handicap allowances for better ball were fine and the increases that came in for foursomes and greensomes have resulted in poorer players winning everything which can’t be good. You want the better players to win!

  • Maggs Norris

    9 Hole Qualifying Competitions were introduced in 2008 !!!! nothing new here Brendy..
    The 2008 CONGU UHS now provides the facility for a Golf Club to run 9 Hole Qualifying Competitions. These competitions are at the discretion of the Golf Club.

  • Frkgolf

    Very important changes, so you would have thought the audio would be better suited to a clubhouse recording. Not very professional chaps, ! 😉

  • Jonathan Hawker

    Anything that encourages new golfers onto a course is a good thing. Nine hole qualifying scores are a great move for modern families too busy to do a full round.

  • Brendy Nelson

    9 hole qualifiers? That is a mistake. How many times have we went out and shot the lights out for 9 holes and crumbled in the back nine or vice versa. I am not sure dumbing the game down with huge handicaps etc is better or worse for the game and at the moment am leaning more towards the latter.

    Golf should have tiers, of course it should but not all tiers need to be competitive.
    I think that like swimming etc until you have reasonable ability, perhaps you should not be allowed into “the bigger pools and competitions” as it were. Handicaps, I believe, should end at 27.5, maybe running to 28.0 for reference. 28.0 hides a lot of novice/inaccurate handicaps which oscillate every round a lot more than more established player and in my mind is not a proper competitive level.
    Many believe that any fit and well man or woman should never need more than 1 shot per hole. I think this would be middle ground. If you aren’t capable then you aren’t competitive. Speed of play and course etiquette should improve too.

    By the way, this is not an elitism thing, it is common sense.