Non-Golf Club Members To Be Able To Gain Official Handicap Index

The new Independent Golfer scheme is set to be introduced to allow non-members to gain official handicap indexes

Official Handicap Platform For Non-Members Set To Launch In July
(Image credit: Tom Miles)

The new scheme is set to be introduced to allow non-members to gain official handicap indexes

Non-Golf Club Members To Be Able To Gain Official Handicap Index

England Golf has confirmed that plans are in place for a platform where nomad golfers will be able to gain official handicaps.

Currently, only golfers that are members of affiliated golf clubs have access to an official handicap.

However, this new scheme will give non-members access to an official handicap index and personal liability insurance.

The initial aim, England Golf says, "is to inspire golfers to play more often and to increase the connection between an avid, independent golfer and their local club/facility."

Related: Reports suggest golf in England to return in March

"There is now clear consensus among the working group that inclusivity must be at the heart of this project with the connectivity platform open to all regardless of age, gender, ethnicity or ability."

There are worries that this will lead to max exoduses at golf clubs, with the potential of some members to give up their memberships to take up the Independent Golfer scheme.

However, England Golf says that the scheme could actually grow membership, with its core aim to encourage people to join clubs.

"We will create a best-in-class platform with the ultimate goal of educating independent golfers on the value of golf club membership and inspiring them to follow this pathway to greater participation," England Golf said.

"There is no evidence to suggest that significant numbers will make the journey in the opposite direction and leave a golf club to join an independent golfer scheme.

"The benefits of remaining at a club which offers not only full playing rights, but also a good value proposition to members should outweigh those provided to golfers through an independent golfer platform."

Similar schemes have been up-and-running, including in New Zealand where there is a system known as Flexiclub.

There are ongoing discussions as to whether members of golf clubs will be allowed to cancel their memberships and take up the Independent Golfer scheme immediately or with a lag of 12 months.

Related: What have been the initial reactions to the World Handicap System?

The England Golf working group on the Independent Golfer has already met four times this year and will continue to meet on a weekly basis.

Stay tuned to for all the latest on this story.

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Elliott Heath
News Editor

Elliott Heath is our News Editor and has been with Golf Monthly since early 2016 after graduating with a degree in Sports Journalism. He manages the Golf Monthly news, features, courses and travel sections as well as our large Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. He covered the 2022 Masters from Augusta National as well as four Open Championships on-site including the 150th at St Andrews. His first Open was in 2017 at Royal Birkdale, when he walked inside the ropes with Jordan Spieth during the Texan's memorable Claret Jug triumph. He has played 35 of our Top 100 golf courses, with his favourites being both Sunningdales, Woodhall Spa, Western Gailes, Old Head and Turnberry. He has been obsessed with the sport since the age of 8 and currently plays at West Byfleet Golf Club in Surrey, where his handicap index floats anywhere between 2-5. His golfing highlights are making albatross on the 9th hole on the Hotchkin Course at Woodhall Spa, shooting an under-par round, playing in the Aramco Team Series on the Ladies European Tour and making his one and only hole-in-one at the age of 15 - a long time ago now!

Elliott is currently playing:

Driver: Titleist TSR4

3 wood: Titleist TSi2 HL

Irons: Mizuno MP-H4 3-iron, Mizuno MP5 4-PW

Wedges: Cleveland RTX ZipCore 50, 54, 58

Putter: Odyssey White Hot OG #5