New South African Handicapping System Available

The new South African Handicap System for Men and Woman, which comes into effect on 1 July 2007 is now available on the SAGA and WGSA websites for viewing. The new System, which is an improvement on the old has the following important changes to the system;

1. Introduction

This specification should be read in conjunction with the manual defining the operation of the South African Handicapping System for Men – 2007. It is intended to provide application development guidelines for Service Providers having handicapping calculation support as part of their offerings to Golf Clubs.

2. Principal Change from 2003 System

Previously the handicap was calculated from the best 10 of the last 20 differentials. The resultant average was reduced by 15% to adjust for “performance potential”. The 2007 version of the system is similar in that the best 10 of 20 are still used, but are not reduced by 15%. This will be known as the Full Handicap and is roughly equivalent to most handicaps elsewhere in the world. This handicap will be reduced for all forms of Better-Ball play except Aggregate competitions.

3. Frequency of Revision

Previously handicaps were computed twice per month, where both increases and reductions were allowed. The system now requires that there is only one such handicap run per month, where handicap increases are limited to one. There is no limit to the size of the handicap reduction for this monthly run. Dynamic Revision has been introduced where any net score, using the new Full Handicap, of 3 better than Par or less, results in an immediate recalculation of the player’s handicap. For a normal Par 72 course this figure would be 69. If the player’s handicap is reduced as a result of this recalculation, the new reduced Full Handicap becomes effective immediately. Vendors will need to carry the Par of a course in their system, remembering that Par for Men and Ladies may be different. The base to be used for increasing a handicap by one stroke is the player’s last handicap, whether this was computed in the previous monthly run, or was dynamically revised.

4. Better-Ball handicap

For most forms of Better-Ball play the Full Handicap must be reduced by 25%. This is known as the Better-Ball Handicap allowance and a table specifying total differential ranges, equivalent to the Full Handicap table, is provided in the new Handicap Manual. Wherever possible, this ¾ handicap allowance should be carried alongside the Full Handicap and displayed on all provided interfaces, including office administration, member capture screens and pro-shop interfaces such as till slips.

5. Calculated Rating

The principle of a Calculated Rating is to select a point in the ranked net scores of all participating players and use this player’s net score as the Calculated Rating. This point is determined as a percentage and is currently set at 20%. As the system is refined, this percentage may change and a facility for rapidly distributing this changed percentage to member clubs should be provided. Separate Calculated Ratings must be computed for AM and PM fields. For a field of 24 or more, the Standard Rating, as defaulted by clubs, or entered by members, must be over-ridden by a Calculated Rating for all participating players. All detail records for players where the Rating has been over-ridden must carry an indicator that classifies these records as “competition rounds”. The size of the competition field must be calculated. Multiply this figure by 0.2 to determine the 20% point, round this to the nearest whole number. Using the Full Handicap, compute the net scores of all players, excluding those with penalty scores. Rank the valid net scores from lowest to highest and select the net score that corresponds to the 20% point. This is the proposed Calculated Rating. Since the allowable range of the Calculated Rating is one below to four above the Standard Rating, the proposed Calculated Rating must be adjusted if it is outside the range. In other words, if the 20% point yields a net score of 78 on a course with a Standard Rating of 71, the Calculated Rating will be 75 (limit of 4 above Standard Rating). Due to possible delays in players entering scores, a proper Calculated Rating cannot be derived until at least 72 hours have elapsed. Penalty scores will be assigned to players who do not enter their scores within this period.

6. Handicap Calculation

When a monthly calculation is done, Calculated Ratings must be determined for all days up to and including a date 3 days (i.e. 72 hours) prior to the run date. For example if the run date is 31st July, then Calculated Ratings are required for all data from 27 June (the previous cut-off date) to 28 July (the current cut-off date) inclusive. An alternative to using the range table specified in the new Handicap Manual is simply to total the best 10 of the last 20 differentials and then divide the result by 10. This shall be known as the detailed (or exact) handicap and is accurate to one decimal place. The exact handicap is rounded to the nearest whole number to arrive at the player’s Full Handicap. When needing to compute the Better-Ball allowance, consult the Better-Ball handicap allowance table in the new handicap manual to determine the appropriate differential range. Alternatively, multiply the exact handicap by 0.75 and round the result to the nearest whole number. This is the Better-Ball handicap allowance.

7. Penalty Scores

Penalty scores are allotted to a player when: a) A player does not submit a score within 72 hours of playing a round. These scores may not be altered unless exceptional circumstances exist. All such changes must be tracked and recorded in the system for possible Union review. b) A player submits a score higher than that actually achieved and the handicapper wishes to allocate a penalty score. This cannot be automatically detected by a computer system but the facility for the handicapper must be provided. The penalty score to be allocated is the lesser of either: c) The player’s lowest differential of the last twenty, using both the rating and gross for that particular round or d) A gross of 6 less than Par of the course, plus the player’s handicap in effect on the day of penalty

8. Miscellaneous

Player’s whose handicaps have been reduced by Dynamic Revision (net score of 3 better than Par or less) must still be included in the monthly handicap run. Dynamic Revision should obviate the need for handicap reductions of greater than one at the end of a month. For competition days, the club should preset the Rating for the course being played and this should not be modifiable by a player when entering his score for the day. For non-competition days the rating should be modifiable by the person entering a score otherwise an incorrect default Rating may be in effect. Ideally, a player that enters a round for an away club, which was part of a competition, should have the Calculated Rating retrospectively applied to his scoring record, when such Calculated Rating becomes available. Inherent design of Service Provider systems may preclude this facility. Clubs should be notified by the system of all entered Ratings that differ from the majority of the scoring records entered for a particular day and AM/PM combination. Note that Ratings for Men’s and Ladies Tees are frequently different.

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