Golfers may 'struggle to adapt' to new global handicapping system

Glenn Richards at Churston Golf Club.

Glenn Richards at Churston Golf Club. - Credit: Churston Golf Club

Glenn Richards and Dan Hendriksen, head pros at Churston and Torquay Golf Clubs, both believe that players returning after lockdown may struggle to adapt to the new global handicapping system which was introduced only four months ago.

To standardise the way that abilities are assessed, the law-making Royal & Ancient and the US Golf Association have acted, and many players had their handicaps changed before the latest lockdown which will finally be lifted on March 29.

"Perhaps the biggest thing is that there will be no difference between social golf and competitive golf," said Richards.

"We've all played friendly golf where you don't always putt out etc but now players are supposed to hand in their cards whenever they play and they're all used to check handicaps.

"It will certainly mean more work for staff like us, and for greenkeepers. And it will be interesting to see how members take it all on board."

Hendriksen said: "I believe they should have put it off until the world got over this Covid pandemic, maybe until 2022 so everyone could have got their heads round it.

"It should work OK eventually, but it's something we might have done without at the moment."

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When the first lockdown was lifted last October, only two-player games were allowed, but this time all combinations will be permitted.

"It's going to be very busy," said Richards, who confirmed that Churston's Men's 36-hole Open on April 25 is already an 86-player sell-out. 

"People on work-furloughs are going to add to the numbers wanting to play, both in the week and at weekends, but at least there'll be more daylight hours to get everyone out on the course."

Torquay are bracing themselves to handle new pressures.

Dan Hendricksen

Dan Hendricksen - Credit: Dan Hendricksen Golf

Hendriksen explained: "First, we're introducing a new tee-time booking system, and we've also got limited parking here, which could be a problem with people not being able to share cars at the moment.

"I'm sure we'll cope. Our plan is to get everybody back playing first, spend a month to get fully up and running and then enjoy a full summer and the major events we've got on the calendar."