Why Golf Clubs Need New Competitions Under WHS

Golf clubs need new competitions under WHS to reward consistency as well as the rogue score.

Golf clubs need new competitions under WHS
Golf Clubs need new competitions under WHS
(Image credit: Tom Miles)

Golf clubs need new competitions under WHS to reward consistency as well as the out of the blue rogue score.

Why Golf Clubs Need New Competitions Under WHS

After almost a full year under the World Handicap System (WHS), it’s clear golfers and golf clubs in this country need to accept, and act on changes in the dynamics of play and scoring, both in and out of competition, to maximise the benefits of the new system.

I’ve written before about the importance of players putting in “general play” scores whenever possible to ensure their handicap is as representative as it can be. And it’s key that golf clubs encourage members to do this.

I also think clubs need to be more open minded when it comes to making changes to their annual fixture list and competitive calendar – Golf Clubs need new competitions under WHS to keep members interested.

The reason for this is that the WHS rewards consistency rather than rogue scoring and club competitions should reflect this more.

Players who repeatedly post decent rounds, at the level of their ability, have generally seen a reduction in their handicap, or at least stasis.

Those who don’t post regular scores and play erratically may still have handicaps that are higher than their potential.

These are the players who appear to be most frequently winning traditional, one-round club competitions around the country.

On the golfing grapevine and, at my home club of Banchory, a common refrain is – “they won it with a nett what? … Off a handicap of what?”

At my club, and from what I understand many others around the country, trophies have been won this season by players having blistering, out of the blue, rounds and posting nett totals that are simply un-matchable by anyone who puts in regular competitive and general play scores and has a handicap accurately reflecting their current form.

I’m not saying that shouldn’t happen at all – A player who has an epic round should be rewarded for it and should enjoy their day in the sun.

What I am saying is that clubs need to find a way to reward consistency as well as one-off brilliance.

A season-long order of merit is a good idea and one that I know the committee at Banchory is considering.

We may run two orders of merit through next year – one for scratch and one for handicap. These will give points for good finishes in competitions and for simply participating.

I think clubs could go even further and run monthly events that reward solid play – The July Cup for the best four nett scores posted through the month for example.

There could even be monthly prizes for most significant relative or % reduction in handicap.

That would also be a way to encourage people to enter more general play scores, thereby making the WHS work as effectively as it can for more golfers.

Or perhaps, to really reward consistency, there might be a season prize for the smallest variance between a player’s lowest and highest handicap index (for golfers who post at least, say, 15 or 20 scores.)

As the WHS beds in and more people get used to entering general play scores, instances of rogue scoring should reduce.

But in fields of 150 golfers, as we have at my club, each week there will always be one or two who have that “round of the year,” making it nigh on impossible for those who play frequently and consistently to pick up any silverware.

Golf Clubs need new competitions under WHS to give those frequent and consistent golfers something to play for.

Fergus Bisset
Contributing Editor

Fergus is a golf obsessive and 1-handicapper. Growing up in the North East of Scotland, golf runs through his veins and his passion for the sport was bolstered during his time at St Andrews university studying history. He went on to earn a post graduate diploma from the London School of Journalism. Fergus has worked for Golf Monthly since 2004 and has written two books on the game; "Great Golf Debates" together with Jezz Ellwood of Golf Monthly and "The Ultimate Golf Book" together with Neil Tappin (also of Golf Monthly)... Fergus once shanked a ball from just over Granny Clark's Wynd on the 18th of the Old Course that struck the St Andrews Golf Club and rebounded into the Valley of Sin, from where he saved par. Who says there's no golfing god?