New handicap changes: what to expect

30 August 2018 – On September 3rd 2018, amateur golf in South Africa moves a step closer to the World Handicap System when GolfRSA introduces some noteworthy changes to the handicap system.

As of Monday, club golfers in South Africa will no longer make use of the traditional Handicap that they have used for years. Instead, before they tee it up, they will first select the club and the colour course (tee) they wish to play and use their new  Handicap Index to look up their Course Handicap for the day.

Acquiring a Course Handicap is a simple enough process – it can either be done during the check-in procedure, or golfers can easily look it up on the Conversion Table at the club. Other options include using the HNA Handicaps terminals or the HNA Handicaps App.

All of this has come about as countries across the world move towards a single method of handicapping golfers, known as the World Handicap System. In preparation for this, GolfRSA completed a process of re-rating all golf courses in the country using the USGA Course Rating System.

The USGA Course Rating System comprises two components – a more accurate Course Rating method and a Slope Rating for each course. Both these figures have influenced the rating of the course, which in turn affects golfers’ score differentials, from which their Handicap Index is calculated.

One of the strengths of the new handicap system is that golfers can effectively choose which course they wish to play – and their Course Handicap will adjust up or down according to the difficulty of the tee or course. A golfer playing a course with a high Course and Slope Rating will have a Course Handicap for the day that will be higher than when they elect to play an “easier” course, with a lower Course and Slope Rating.

Another significant change is that golf clubs will do away with the traditional labelling of their tees into categories such as Ladies’ tees, Club Tees or  Forward Tees. Instead, each set of tees will be colour coded and will effectively represent a different course for the golfer to play.

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Written and released by Brendan Barratt on behalf of GolfRSA and Handicaps SA.