Competitions going forward 2022
Drivers for change WHS
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Diary Event

2021 Season Review and Drivers for Change

The introduction of the World Handicap System has been a source of frustration for both members and competition administrators alike. This shock to the system has not just been exclusive to Burslem Golf Club. It’s been the hot topic in clubhouses throughout the UK. However, it is now a season old
It appears that there are signs of increasing stability in the system as it collects more data and members increase their knowledge into its workings and become more accepting of it.
There is no doubt though that it has had an impact on our competitions. This was mainly due to: many players struggling to hold on to the handicaps they once held under the CONGU system making it more difficult for them to stay in their divisions, the production of some very high initial handicap indexes which marginalised lower handicap golfers and it also highlighted difficulties in some multi-tee situations.

We have therefore decided to realign our competitions in order to mitigate the effects of its introduction.

The summary of the changes are as follows:

• Changing our divisional parameters

• Introducing divisions to individual major competitions

• Imposing handicap limits on some Major competitions

• The removal of the men’s Red Tee Sets in weekend competitions

• Imposing a requirement for women to play as a pair in ‘pair’s competitions’

The committee’s focus has concentrated around inclusion, where ‘golf for all’ was our main objective. We will endeavour to provide the opportunity for ALL golfers to play competitive golf in a fair and equitable manner in all of our competitions.

As mentioned above the WHS has produced some initial handicap indexes the likes of which we have never been seen before. These have been for comparatively younger players too.
We know that the ‘improvement curve’ for the player who has a higher handicap index or is new to the game can be quite steep and that their potential to play considerably under handicap is relatively high.
Conversely, the potential for our established lower handicap players to play considerably under handicap is much lower and highly improbable.

A quote from ‘The Rules of Handicapping’ says, “There should be no advantage to holding a high or low handicap if the player is handicapped correctly”.

This is easier said than done however, with a constant stream of new members and time required for them to build a full handicap record. Time is also required for a handicap committee to discover their true potential and make whatever interventions that they can, within the constraints of the system.
In the meantime, the best part of a season has passed and the integrity of a substantial proportion of our competitions has been challenged, compromised or exposed to risk. This, as anyone knows who has been around for a while, is a perpetual cycle.

The role of the competitions committee is to: ensure that our competitions are: fair, equitable, they are aligned to the expectations of the regulating bodies and above all, there integrity is maintained.

With the above points in mind, following a meeting of the Competitions & Handicaps Committee on 13/10/2021 it was agreed that our competitions would be subject to the following changes which will be effective from 1st January 2022.

1. Adjustment of Divisions

Presently we have three divisions: Div1 (plus to11), Div2 (11 to17) and Div 3 (18 to 36 [read 54]) and the players in each division that may enter our competitions are as follows:

Div 1 = 26, Div 2 = 58, Div 3 = 101

It is clear that there is too much disparity here and disadvantages the players in the higher divisions as the fields are much larger. That being said, our aim is to incentivise players to improve their golf and reach the lower divisions by layering the fields in terms of numbers.
It has also become apparent that since moving from the old CONGU incremental system to the new averaging system of the WHS, whilst a small number of players have been ‘bucking the trend’, a significant number of players are finding it increasingly difficult to hold on to the handicaps that they once held even though it is a truer reflection of a players current form.
The general trend has been upwards! This means that more players are falling out of the top end of their divisions and with reference to the first division no one enters at the bottom.
So after examining our demographic, we have adjusted the divisional parameters based on Handicap Indexes as follows:

Div 1 - (plus to 13.4) read (plus to 13) = 40ish players ( The mandatory 95% handicap allowance impacts Handicap Indexes 11,12 and 13 so the highest playing handicap will be 12)

Div 2 - (13.5 to 19.4) read (14 to 19) = 60ish players

Div 3 - (19.5 to 54.0) read (20 to 54) = 90ish players (it must be born in mind that the majority of non-participating players occupy this division and parity is improved once they have been considered)

2) Introduction of Divisions and Handicap Limits to Major Competitions

We are introducing divisions (as above) to individual Major Competitions that are played solely from the White Tee Sets.

Each division will be playing for a prize of equal value (£40) but eligibility for the trophy will be subject to a maximum (or minimum) handicap index limit. These will be clearly stated in the terms of the competition.

In summary:

All individual Major competitions will be subject to a maximum handicap index limit of 19.4 with the exception of the Stanway Cup which will have a minimum handicap index limit of 19.5. The Wood Cup remains unchanged.

Question from a higher handicap player

“Can I still win the trophy and get my name on the honours board if my handicap index is higher than the maximum handicap index limit?


Yes you can - but the maximum handicap index limit will be used to calculate your nett score.

Question from a lower handicap player

“Can I still win the trophy and get my name on the honours board if my handicap index is lower than the minimum handicap index limit?


No. This competition is aimed at higher handicaps but you are still playing for your divisional prize.

As a result of these changes, members will no longer be notified of the results automatically by HowDidiDo or club V1 Members Hub in competitions that have a handicap index limit. This is because they will need to be managed manually. Members will be notified by email or club news at the earliest convenience.

3) Men’s Red Tee Sets (65 years + & HI 22.5 or higher)

Throughout the 2021 season the men’s Red tee sets (read ‘Forward Tees’) were assigned to every competition to allow all members to participate.
As the season closed however, it became apparent that for all the competitions that were played on Sundays, the men’s Red tees were used by those targeted players less than a dozen times. This meant that the handicaps of the two thousand or so White tee players (read ‘Back Tees’) that participated in those competitions were adjusted upwards in the order of 4 or 6 strokes depending on the format.
This was completely unnecessary because although the Red tees were assigned to the competitions, in reality no one used them. This meant that there were actually no ‘forward tee opponents’. This proved to be a source of frustration to members, although finishing positions were unaffected.

Considering the above, it was decided that moving forward to the 2022 season, ALL competitions will be White Tee competitions with the exception of those competitions listed below.
For these competitions, both the Men’s White and Men’s Red Tee Sets will be assigned.

All 9 Hole competitions

June Medal

July Medal

Wood Cup

The few players that did use the Red tee sets in Weekend competitions had handicap indexes in the mid to high twenties range. The Committee felt that there were plenty of strokes remaining in the WHS to help them play their difficult holes, should they wish to participate.

Women are unaffected by this change.

4) Pairs Competitions

Since adopting the WHS in its entirety, it has proved difficult to accommodate a mixed pair playing off different tees, hence different courses against a non-mixed pair playing off the same tees, hence the same course in a fair and equitable manner. The ‘software competition templates’ will not allow these permutations.
The only equitable way to accommodate women in ‘Pairs Competitions’ is for them to play together as a ‘women’s pair’.

A full digest of competition information can be found in a ‘Competitions Information Folder’ that will be situated in the main reception area and in the documents section in your ClubV1 app

Forwarded for your information

Des Keeling
Competitions and Handicaps

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