Action by England Golf

England Golf has taken action to stop rogue players manipulating the handicap system to their advantage.

Now everyone who plays in non-qualifying competitions away from home must declare their scores to their home club. Players who ignore this responsibility could, as a last resort, have their handicaps suspended.

Golf England say that over recent years there have been a number of cases where players protect inflated handicaps only to repeatedly collect high-value prizes when playing in competitions away from home.

England Golf have introduced a clause in the CONGU handicapping system to provide its affiliated clubs with evidence to support handicap reviews. The new system will highlight players who, for example, take part in as many competitions as possible at home and whose handicaps creep up 0.1 on every occasion – but who repeatedly win prizes away from home. Similarly, it will show up the players who play the bare minimum of competitions at home, but who are known for their away successes.

It applies to all stroke play scores returned under competition conditions, including team events. It’s not about recording every score in a fourball betterball, but returning the team score. If the same individuals or teams keeping winning or coming near the top of leaderboards at events away from home, that should at least indicate to their club handicapping officials that further investigations are required – and the only way to achieve that is by asking for all the scores to be reported.

England Golf also recommends that clubs which run non-qualifying open competitions should inform the prize winners’ home clubs of their scores.
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