Golf handicapping debate rumbles on

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It seems that the most hotly debated subject in Stornoway Golf Club over the past three weeks is not the course layout. Nor is it the prickly topic of slow play. Not even the thorny issue of how and to which opponent losing team members pay their obligatory pound has raised the temperature in the clubhouse.

What is causing restlessness amongst members is the handicapping system for the Car Hire Hebrides Winter League. The problem is that, through the vagaries of the system, it is possible for some participants to have a similar or, indeed, higher handicap over twelve holes in the winter than they had over eighteen in the summer.

The fact is that the same handicapping system can produce similar results in any competition with a team, rather than an individual, handicap. The summer match-play Consolation Cup competition and various Texas Scramble events are examples close to home.

No system is perfect and it is important to remember that the winter competition is intended to be fun. Admittedly, it is difficult to bear that in mind while standing over a provisional ball on the Gunsite tee after two hours of unremitting rain. Regardless of the outcome of the debate, this current Winter League will be decided under the existing rules.

For a full report and pictures from all the play at the Stornoway course see this week’s Stornoway Gazette out on Thursday, November 1st.