England Golf on behalf of CONGU have confirmed that the substantive changes, which come into effect on the 1st of January 2018, are:
Retirement of Club & Disability Handicaps
As a result of their low impact these have been removed and replaced by a new Category 5 for Men and Category 6 for both Men and Women, providing for a maximum handicap of 54.0 for all golfers. Category 4 will be up to 28.4 with Category 5 starting at 28.5 to 36.4, and category 6 being 36.5 to 54.0.
Players will be able to maintain a Competition Handicap in all six categories. Upward adjustment for all categories will remain at 0.1 and downward adjustments for Net Differentials below Buffer Zones will be 0.5 for Category 5 and 0.6 for Category 6.
After 1st January 2018, Handicap Committees can increase handicaps above the current limits of 28.0 and 36.0, and they will also increase above those limits automatically as a result of above Buffer Zone returns in Qualifying Competitions and Supplementary Score submissions.
In reality what this means is that whilst we will have to designate a number of our Qualifying competitions for removal of the current handicap restrictions of 28 (for Men) and 36 (for Women) to comply with the above, the vast majority of our Qualifying competitions will continue to be limited to maximum handicaps of 28 (for Men) and 36 (for Women).
Relaxation of the rules to allow an unlimited number of score submissions per year and removal of the restriction of one per week. However, the restriction on Category 1 players will remain in place.
Mixed Tee Competitions
Reinforcement of the single CSS Adjustment Calculation. Having a single CSS adjustment for two or more competitions will provide a more equitable value when one of the competitions has a very low number of players. To overcome the technical IT implementation issues, the approach agreed will be to enter all scores into a single competition (and so a single CSS Adjustment Factor is calculated) with a facility within the software to allow the results to be separated for each group of competitors.
Confirmation that cards submitted for Initial Handicap Allocation are included in the definition of Qualifying Scores for handicap purposes. Accordingly, a player whose handicap is allocated on the basis of such submitted scores under Clause 16 will automatically be allocated a Competition Handicap status.
Confirmation that the adherence to Appendix M (Guidelines for Handicap Reviews) is mandatory, not optional.