For the first time ever, non-members in England can now gain an official handicap index thanks to the newly-launched iGolf system
England Golf Launches Non-Member Handicap Scheme – iGolf
After months of discussions, England Golf has revealed its brand new scheme to allow non-members to gain official World Handicap System (WHS) handicap indexes.
A handicap was previously only ever attainable via membership at an affiliated club.
Known as iGolf, the initiative sees ‘independent golfers’, of which there are an estimated 2.3 million in England, given the opportunity to pay £40 per year to obtain a WHS index.
It has been designed to help non-members play more golf, track their performance, input scores, calculate course handicaps and compete with friends, in the same way club members do under the WHS, which was introduced and rolled out by England Golf last November.
Personal liability insurance also comes as part of the £40 subscription.
Revenue generated through the iGolf platform will be reinvested into the work being done by England Golf to help grow the game across all levels, support clubs and the wider golfing community as well as providing a more inclusive and accessible sport for everyone.
To subscribe, golfers simply need to head to www.englandigolf.co.uk to get started, pay their subscription, download the My EG app and start entering verifiable scores to obtain a handicap index.
Golfers who were previously club members will, where possible, have their handicap index reinstated through their iGolf subscription.
England Golf stresses that the scheme is not designed to replace club membership, but actually help golfers find a way into becoming members.
“By encouraging increased play amongst the wider golfing public, England Golf believes iGolf could act as a key pathway to membership as the non-club member segment of the golfing population experience more courses, and the benefits of regular play and practise,” England Golf says.
It is also expected that iGolf will provide new revenue streams for golf clubs through increased demand for green fees and spend in pro shops and clubhouses.
A system of checks and balances have been included in the iGolf platform to ensure the integrity of handicaps, while education on the rules and etiquette of golf are also included in the programme.
“iGolf is an exciting progression for the amateur game in England and one that we believe will help safeguard the future of our sport. This new platform will help us to connect with a large proportion of the golfing public who we weren’t reaching before, providing a new avenue to grow the game across the country,” said England Golf CEO, Jeremy Tomlinson.
“When people have a measurement for performance in any activity, they naturally want to do it more in order to improve.
“By providing an official measure of performance for non-club members via a WHS handicap index, we can break down many of the barriers to uptake of the game.
“Our primary aim is to encourage play, increase the connection between non-club members and their local facilities and provide avid golfers with a clear pathway to club membership should they choose to make this progression.
“Through iGolf we can look to bring more revenue into the sport generally, and specifically for our 1,800 affiliated golf clubs and facilities in England.”
“We firmly believe that iGolf provides significant opportunities for clubs and alongside our membership campaign and other resources, we will continue to support the wider golfing community,” concluded Tomlinson.