Handicap Hub: New Season, Old System (For A While Anyway)
By Kelly Neely, Sr. Director, Handicapping & Course Rating
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Though you may be striving to interpret the current weather forecast in addition to the new Rules of Golf, the season will still start on Friday, March 1. Rolling around like clockwork, we can at least take comfort in a date on the calendar that represents a familiar beginning.
While the onset of the season will see business-as-usual in the handicapping realm, big changes are brewing with both the tech side (GHIN products and services) and the impending launch of the World Handicap System (January 2020). We are eager for the advancement of both and will share important information from the USGA on these subjects as we receive them throughout the year.
For now, it’s time to dust off the clubs, head out to the range, get the foursome together and yes, start posting scores. Here are a few tidbits and reminders –
Activating your Membership
If you’ve attempted to log into your GHIN mobile app and have received the message “No Memberships” this means you’ve not been activated by your club. Through ghin.com, the login message would be “Golfer Inactive”. Contact your club to make sure your dues are current. Or, check out our Regional Club options. Click here to renew / sign up online
NH – No Handicap
What if you’ve paid your dues and your status is active, yet your Handicap indicates NH? Don’t worry – your scores haven’t disappeared. The NH will be removed and your Handicap Index will be displayed when you pass the next revision (on the 1st or 15th). Entering a tournament and can’t wait for the revision? Contact the OGA office and we’ll force an update for you.
As the season begins March 1, you must post any rounds played on or after that date, even if your club’s activities don’t start then. Did you travel down south during the off season and forget to post your desert rounds? Please get those scores in ASAP. If you don’t, your friends won’t only be annoyed by your tan. It’s good to get used to posting scores right after you play, as this will be even more important in the World Handicap System when handicaps are updated daily (yep, you read that correctly).
Most Likely Score & Par-Plus Adjustments
When you start, but don’t finish a hole, don’t toss out your round! Simply post your Most Likely Score on that hole. This is the number of strokes you’ve already taken, plus the number of strokes it will take you to finish the hole (not exceeding your ESC max, of course. When the World Handicap System rolls around the max will be Net Double Bogey, but I’m getting ahead of myself again). What if you didn’t finish your round? Let’s say a downpour started just as you finished No. 14 and its drier in the bar. Just post par plus any handicap strokes you’re entitled to on holes 15-18 and post your score.
Preferred Lies or “Winter Rules” and Posting Scores
As often occurs in early spring, less-than-ideal weather can create unpleasant playing conditions. Has your Committee invoked a Local Rule for Preferred Lies? You’ve still got to post your score. No Local Rule and you’ve applied your own form of Preferred Lies? You’ve still got to post your score. I’m a broken record on this subject. Sorry, not sorry.
Temporary Greens / Tees
Spring is a typical time of course maintenance and construction projects that can impact tee and / or green placement and other parts of the course. If the Rules of Golf can be followed during the reconstruction period, scores must be posted. The course should contact the OGA for advice. Depending on the situation, we may make a temporary modification to the Course Ratings for yardage loss or recommend posting ‘par plus’ on holes out of play.
GHIN Mobile App
If you don’t already have it, please download the GHIN mobile app available for both iPhone and Android. Though this app is being redesigned and will offer even more features when the new GHIN platform is launched, it’s a very efficient tool right now. Especially helpful is the My Card display (those old handicap labels will cease to exist anyway) and the ability to store Partners’ Handicaps and get automated adjustments. This way if you’re playing a tougher tee than your buddy, he can’t short you out of extra strokes.