Why You Can Still Play Handicap Qualifying Rounds This Winter


In years gone by, many golfers would put their clubs away at the end of the playing season, only bringing them out for the odd wistful polish or a putt on the carpet. The sticks would be dusted off properly at the unfurling of the first daffodil, or the first preview of Masters coverage between Ski Sunday and the Antiques Roadshow. There are still some who stick to the old ways, but many golfers have moved on and choose to continue golfing through the winter – They want to get more from their ‘annual’ membership subscription and simply more from the pastime they dedicate so much to. Times change and attitudes change. Something else about winter golf is changing but hasn’t had a chance to change fully yet: Playing handicap counting rounds through the winter.


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Since the implementation of the World Handicap System, we’ve been coming to terms with the concept of submitting General Play Scores alongside those from competitive rounds. The objective being that we all submit more scores for our WHS handicap to be as reflective as possible of our current playing ability. It makes sense, and if everybody does it whenever possible or appropriate to do so, the new system will work well. But something a huge number of us have ingrained in our playing psyche, (apart from those lucky enough to play on a hardy links or super-well drying inland course,) is that we don’t (or can’t play) for handicap in the winter months. Whether the club runs competitions or not, we think rounds can’t be handicap counting because of, “the shortened course, preferred lies, temporary greens, the use of mats… etc…”

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