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Official handicaps for golf societies? Yes, please!

England Golf iGolf handicap
England Golf iGolf

With the introduction of England Golf’s new iGolf scheme, there has never been a better time to be a member of a golf society than right now.

Thanks to this innovative, inclusive system, gone are the days of squabbles over what various society golfers’ handicaps should or shouldn’t be, and no more will there be a reliance on unofficial handicap providers. Instead, your golf society will be able to host completely fair and equal competitive outings for the first time in living memory.

Unveiled in the summer of 2021, iGolf is a scheme that is designed to allow non-club members to obtain a Handicap Index administered by the World Handicap System (WHS).

So-called ‘nomadic golfers’ can subscribe to the scheme via the England Golf website for just £40 a year and, after downloading the ‘My EG’ app, can start inputting scores that will count towards their WHS Handicap Index. They will also receive personal liability insurance, the latest news and offers from England Golf and partners, and access to education on golf rules and etiquette.

For those golfers in society groups who may not have official handicaps, this is a much-anticipated, long overdue development. For one thing, it makes the game considerably more inclusive, allowing society members access to a handicap on the same terms as all other golfers, whether they be club members or independent golfers.

What’s more, because society golfers tend to visit a wide variety of courses, the ability to calculate Course Handicaps – as provided on the My EG app for iGolf – will help to ensure that all competitions are administered properly. A Course Handicap is the number of strokes a player receives, before handicap allowances, from a specific set of tees as determined by the Slope Rating.

it is adjusted for any handicap allowances and represents the actual number of strokes the player gives or receives for the format of golf being played.

With most golf societies placing an emphasis firmly on fun, any round can be as a ‘general play’ score for handicap purposes.

It’s a flexible, inclusive system that is designed to make golf more representative of every type of golfer, not just a select few.

So, how does a society golfer start playing ‘officially’ under the World Handicap System? It’s extremely straightforward.

  • Sign up for iGolf (full details here)
  • Start by submitting three cards to get your Handicap Index (unless you have a membership number, which used to be a CDH number, from previously being a member of an affiliated club). In order to be valid, your scores must be verified by another My EG user, so encourage your society friends to sign up, too
  • As you continue to play, your Handicap Index will continue to build and, ultimately, become the average of the best eight scores you’ve submitted out of your last 20 rounds

That Handicap Index can then be used by your society organiser to create fair and accurate competitions on your outings.

It should be noted that scores you’ve previously registered within your society meetings don’t contribute towards your new Handicap Index but that’s no bad thing. Think of it like a levelling of the playing field to produce a more equitable outcome – isn't that what everybody wants?

As England Golf Chief Operating Officer Richard Flint explained: “It’s all about inclusion. The more people playing the game, and playing the game regularly, the more everybody benefits.”

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