WORLDWIDE HANDICAP SYSTEM MEETING AAG’s outlook on a new system CONTENTS Handicaps in Argentina AAG Handicap System © General characteristics Valid scores – loading, processing and information Determining AAG Handicap Club Handicap Committee faculties AAG’s outlook on a new Worldwide Handicap System (WHS) Implementing the USGA Course Rating System Facilitating the submission of scores electronically Updating of handicaps immediately or as soon as practicable Mechanism for peer review Calculation of adjustment for playing conditions Conclusions HANDICAPS IN ARGENTINA 52,628 registered AAG handicaps, 44,978 men (85.5%) 7,650 women (14.5%) 303 clubs affiliated to AAG, includes all clubs in the country, most operate as semi-public courses There is a strong tradition of playing competitive golf almost every weekend during the year, and many clubs organize midweek competitions as well. General average and distribution of handicaps according to range: Gral. Hcap. Avg. MEN WOMEN Handicap range 19.6 26.2 +3 - 5 6 - 12 13 - 18 19 - 24 25 - 36 MEN 3.6% 16.1% 24.1% 24.9% 32.2% WOMEN 1.6% 5.0% 10.3% 18.6% 64.5% AAG Handicap System General characteristics The AAG has exclusive copyrights as well as administering and processing all registered handicaps in the country. Handicaps are collected through the clubs, players aged 25 to 75 pay a fee of approximately u$d 80 per annum. Players aged 14-24 pay 50% of total, players over 70 and under 14 get handicaps free of charge. All handicaps are used for all courses in the country, no index or slope rating implemented. All courses are rated by a system inspired loosely on USGA Course Rating System for a scratch golfer. Clubs with a large membership will usually play segmenting handicap categories and play off different tees; smaller clubs will favour one category, one tee. Course setting should accommodate to course conditions/climate. AAG Handicap System Valid scores - Loading, processing and information Only rounds valid for handicap are 18 hole stroke play rounds played in competition under the Rules of Golf. Club is responsible for loading all scores, be it for members or guests. Scores registered are sent digitally to AAG Processing Centre at annually pre determined dates. Once processed (usually between 22nd and 27th day of each month) resulting handicaps are published monthly, every first Monday. Handicaps are posted on AAG website and sent via email to each player. During 2012; 692,500 scores were processed, an average of 57,700 per month. Average scores posted by players with one or more scores during 2012 was 20.5; total average was 13.3. AAG Handicap System Percentage of golfers with scores posted during 2012: Number of scores posted Percentage of golfers with scores posted Percentage breakdown by gender Men Women 1 - 5 scores posted 4.6% 86.5% 13.5% 6 - 10 scores posted 7.2% 87.8% 12.2% 11 - 15 scores posted 9.1% 88.5% 11.5% 16 - 20 scores posted 10.2% 88.5% 11.5% 21 - 25 scores posted 10.5% 86.6% 13.4% 26 + scores posted 58.4% 87.3% 12.7% AAG Handicap System Average number of scores posted by handicap range during 2012: Handicap Range Average number of scores posted Average number of score posted by gender Men Women <5 25 25 31 5-9 22 21 27 10 - 14 21 21 26 15 - 19 20 19 24 20 - 24 18 17 22 25 - 29 13 12 18 30 - 36 12 12 11 AAG Handicap System Determining Handicap 8 best score differentials (gross score minus course rating) of last 16 scores entered. 8 best differentials are added and total number resulting is tallied against a table that assigns handicaps between +3 and 36. Resulting handicap is 86-87% of the average 8 best differentials. Entry of scorecard to the Committee after a round is mandatory, even if incomplete. Equitable Stroke Control not implemented. No stroke limit enforced and no limit on how many times you lower your handicap; though system only allows 6 increases through 12 month period, one stroke at a time. Maximum handicap allowed for men and women is 36, player is given an initial handicap of 25, after first 16 scores are processed, the system recalculates players handicap, this is only occasion a player is allowed an increase in excess of one stroke. AAG Handicap System Club Handicap Committee’s faculties Club Handicap Committee is responsible for proper application of AAG System: Verifies all posted scores and checks unusual results returned to the Committee. Controls abuse of system resulting from infrequent return of scorecards to protect handicap. Offers initial handicap to new golfers after they can prove basic knowledge of Rules and Etiquette and reasonable ability to play a round, albeit for a beginner. AAG Handicap System Club Handicap Committee’s faculties (cont.) The Committee is the only recognized authority to modify a players handicap: Handicap reduction through anticipated calculation. Handicap reduction as a result of perception of players ability. Use of penalizing score to adjust to players ability. At all times these methods of reduction must be used sparingly and only under exceptional circumstances. AAG’s outlook on a new WHS Implementing the USGA Course Rating System Before the announcement of WHS, the AAG was evaluating adopting the USGA Course Rating System. Although the current course rating system used by the AAG is satisfactory, we feel the moment is ripe to upgrade and re rate all courses in the country under more modern parameters. The AAG has only one qualified course rating team, it rates new courses and re rates those in need of updating. If a new system were to established, we would need to train new staff and establish teams in our regional federations, making it more cost effective. AAG’s outlook on a new WHS (cont.) Facilitating the submission of scores electronically Undoubtedly the most important change to the AAG system would be to allow players to enter their own scores. Entering scores by players would require a programme enabling clubs to have their own terminals for players to post their scores. Initially we foresee a phasing in period, that would require clubs to assist and control process. If a new system favoured players entering their own scores when not competing, it would differ with how handicapping has been administered so far in the country. It would be advisable the new system enabled the governing body to determine what scores are valid for handicapping (perhaps limited to scores posted when playing formats with own ball). AAG’s outlook on a new WHS (cont.) Updating of handicaps immediately or as soon as practicable With so many tournaments (36/54 holes stroke play) being played in Argentina every weekend it would not be advisable to adjust on less than a weekly basis. That said some clubs with small budgets could struggle to incorporate necessary technology, making it difficult to move away from current system of monthly adjustments. The handicap review period (day-week-month) should be a decision best left to each national governing body. Mechanism for peer review Handicap Committees at clubs would be instrumental to any system operating in Argentina. AAG’s outlook on a new WHS (cont.) Calculation of adjustment for playing conditions Current system, which does not allow post play adjustments, is observed as unfair by players in our country. Our system is based on Captains´ adjusting course set up to conditions, this happens infrequently and creates inconvenience when rating does not match playing conditions. It would be useful to incorporate a mechanism that allows/enforces Captains discretion to adjust rating to course conditions/climate, e.g. a scale from 1 to 7, with 4 being normal conditions. CONCLUSIONS Rating over 300 courses is expensive and slow, but the AAG had decided to proceed. Decision put on hold since WHS proposal. A strong communication plan, on the benefits of a new WHS by national and international governing bodies, would be advisable. Economic disparity (exchange rate, domestic costs) would result in an enormous spread in fees for the same system around the world, an issue that should be addressed. The AAG strongly supports a WHS, the benefits of consistency and universality should attract people to keep/adopt WHS and offset any initial difficulty of implementing the system.