54 Handicappers - Scourge or Scarcity ?

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So...several threads reviewing the WHS and in amongst them there are comments around the issues of players receiving 54 shots....slow play, able bodied person shouldn't need 54 shots, need to learn to hit the ball before they play in a comp, cant compete against them etc etc etc.

Folks who recognise their own words above....don't take umbrage...this isn't aimed at you specifically...its a general observation that could have been made any time since 54 handicaps were introduced...an act that pre-dated the WHS by quite some time as it happens, and generated a similar raft of comments at the time it was announced.

So I thought..."I don't believe I actually know any 54 handicappers...I wonder if we have any at our club?"...and got digging in our handicapping systems database. I thought that 54 cappers themselves would inevitably be quite rare but there would surely be a sizeable number of players with 40+ handicaps if the grapevine/gossip/doom mongerers were to be believed....I set an arbitrary limit of the old ladies max handicap of 36 and decided to have a trawl through looking for our members with 36.1 indexes and above.

Out of 550 members we have a paltry 17 (7M, 11F) who have indexes above 36.1. Their indexes range from 36.1 to 54.0 (yes we have one!) with 11 golfers having indexes between 36.1 and 39.3, 4 golfers with indexes in the 40's and 2 golfers in the 50's. The ages of the 17 players are... 16,35,50,50,56,60,62,65,65,66,70,75,75,76,79,79,82 and 85. One might guess that the youngster is new to the game (they are certainly a new member) and I know for a fact that the 35 year old only took up the game earlier this summer and was allocated their first handicap index (high 30's) less than 6 weeks ago. But, as is plain to see, a significant number are "getting on a bit" and are possibly at ages where health might suffer as well as a general reduction in physical ability....certainly there are no strapping folks in the prime of their lives populating this list....you probably have to go another 18 golfers down to a 32 index player before you think...."come on fella...you should be doing better than that :LOL:".

Between these 17 players they have a grand total of 85 cards submitted for handicap purposes for the entire calendar year to date.....of which 36 were competetive rounds...actually, only 7 of them actually played competetive rounds, the other ten have never teed it up in a comp in 2020. Not once have any of these 7 golfers threatened a competition leaderboard.

I don't know if my club is representative of others, if it is an outlier and the world outside this tiny corner of Suffolk is a different place, where 50+ handicappers freely roam (albeit slowly) the course like zombies from a horror movie, lurching from side to side across the fairway (still similar to zombies from said horror movie) as they bat their ball left, right, left, right Army golf fashion.

But from this casual observers point of view I just do not see any of the oft repeated accusations against, well, lets just call them "extreme handicap golfers" rather than put a specific number gains them, standing up. I don't see that play has slowed any, I don't see such players coming remotely close to cleaning up in comps, as far as I can see those players that do hold such handicaps, for the most part probably have good reason to have those handicaps which are perfectly justifiable given their time playing the game or their general health/fitness.

So for me....I find the 50+ brigade "not guilty" on all charges.

Those of you have have access to fact based evidence...how do you see things? What proportion of your club is 36+, 40+, 50+ handicap golfers? Are they winning every thing in site? Are there a raft of youngsters (lets say sub 50 year olds :LOL:) playing off such handicaps?
 

wjemather

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Dec 3, 2020
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Bristol
I’d suggest that he should be playing of whatever tees are forwards of the yellow.

I’d like to see more people playing of tees appropriate to their ability rather than gender.
Exactly this. Unfortunately, the vast majority of clubs still do not their forward tees rated for men (or back tees rated for women) - partly the club's fault for not requesting (if they were even aware at the time), but the county rating teams must take a large portion of the blame.
 

DaveR

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So...several threads reviewing the WHS and in amongst them there are comments around the issues of players receiving 54 shots....slow play, able bodied person shouldn't need 54 shots, need to learn to hit the ball before they play in a comp, cant compete against them etc etc etc.

Folks who recognise their own words above....don't take umbrage...this isn't aimed at you specifically...its a general observation that could have been made any time since 54 handicaps were introduced...an act that pre-dated the WHS by quite some time as it happens, and generated a similar raft of comments at the time it was announced.

So I thought..."I don't believe I actually know any 54 handicappers...I wonder if we have any at our club?"...and got digging in our handicapping systems database. I thought that 54 cappers themselves would inevitably be quite rare but there would surely be a sizeable number of players with 40+ handicaps if the grapevine/gossip/doom mongerers were to be believed....I set an arbitrary limit of the old ladies max handicap of 36 and decided to have a trawl through looking for our members with 36.1 indexes and above.

Out of 550 members we have a paltry 17 (7M, 11F) who have indexes above 36.1. Their indexes range from 36.1 to 54.0 (yes we have one!) with 11 golfers having indexes between 36.1 and 39.3, 4 golfers with indexes in the 40's and 2 golfers in the 50's. The ages of the 17 players are... 16,35,50,50,56,60,62,65,65,66,70,75,75,76,79,79,82 and 85. One might guess that the youngster is new to the game (they are certainly a new member) and I know for a fact that the 35 year old only took up the game earlier this summer and was allocated their first handicap index (high 30's) less than 6 weeks ago. But, as is plain to see, a significant number are "getting on a bit" and are possibly at ages where health might suffer as well as a general reduction in physical ability....certainly there are no strapping folks in the prime of their lives populating this list....you probably have to go another 18 golfers down to a 32 index player before you think...."come on fella...you should be doing better than that :LOL:".

Between these 17 players they have a grand total of 85 cards submitted for handicap purposes for the entire calendar year to date.....of which 36 were competetive rounds...actually, only 7 of them actually played competetive rounds, the other ten have never teed it up in a comp in 2020. Not once have any of these 7 golfers threatened a competition leaderboard.

I don't know if my club is representative of others, if it is an outlier and the world outside this tiny corner of Suffolk is a different place, where 50+ handicappers freely roam (albeit slowly) the course like zombies from a horror movie, lurching from side to side across the fairway (still similar to zombies from said horror movie) as they bat their ball left, right, left, right Army golf fashion.

But from this casual observers point of view I just do not see any of the oft repeated accusations against, well, lets just call them "extreme handicap golfers" rather than put a specific number gains them, standing up. I don't see that play has slowed any, I don't see such players coming remotely close to cleaning up in comps, as far as I can see those players that do hold such handicaps, for the most part probably have good reason to have those handicaps which are perfectly justifiable given their time playing the game or their general health/fitness.

So for me....I find the 50+ brigade "not guilty" on all charges.

Those of you have have access to fact based evidence...how do you see things? What proportion of your club is 36+, 40+, 50+ handicap golfers? Are they winning every thing in site? Are there a raft of youngsters (lets say sub 50 year olds :LOL:) playing off such handicaps?
The course itself can have a lot to do with it. My course has quite a few long carries regardless of which tees you are playing off and it is also quite undulating. Most of our old boys leave and go to a flat 9 hole course down the road as they tend to enjoy their golf there a bit more.
 

davidy233

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The Tayside Riviera
Just under 700 men at my club have handicaps - 3 of them are over 36 with the highest off 44, there are 12 over 30 hcp - for comparison we've got more than a dozen plus handicap guys.

We've got two courses - An Open qualifying course and a much shorter links - the main course is rated for men off the red tees as well as yellow and white.
 

IanMcC

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Joined
Sep 19, 2019
Messages
577
Agree with everything the OP said. We have 469 members listed. 19 of them over 36.0. 15 of them Ladies. Most very elderly. 3 of the 15 are semi regular players. The rest, including the 4 men, are not submitting cards. I would gladly play any of them in a tie, off of any of our tees.
 

jim8flog

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Yeovil
I no longer have full access to the list but when I last checked we had 4 above 50 3 of whom were juniors just starting out.

Mind you we have over 100 players with no real record for several years before January 2018 who might well get big increases if they were bothered.

When the CONGU 54 handicap limit came in in Jan 2018 we used a simple formula (basically the same as a newly handicapped player) and we had just one male player whose handicap was increased to 40 and he has remained at that handicap since (he plays in a lot of comps).
 

Jensen

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Gateshead, Tyne & Wear
Whilst golf should be inclusive, competition play should be restricted to those with a handicap of 28 and below. It’s no enjoyment playing competitive golf with someone whose handicap is above 28. It effects everyone and I think it’s poor etiquette from the 28+ player, not to consider others.
Social golf, yes they should be welcomed and encouraged.
I certainly didn’t play in competitions until I fell confident of not holding up and spoiling others enjoyment
I
 

BiMGuy

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Messages
2,418
Whilst golf should be inclusive, competition play should be restricted to those with a handicap of 28 and below. It’s no enjoyment playing competitive golf with someone whose handicap is above 28. It effects everyone and I think it’s poor etiquette from the 28+ player, not to consider others.
Social golf, yes they should be welcomed and encouraged.
I certainly didn’t play in competitions until I fell confident of not holding up and spoiling others enjoyment
I
May I ask why 28?
 

wjemather

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Bristol
Whilst golf should be inclusive, competition play should be restricted to those with a handicap of 28 and below. It’s no enjoyment playing competitive golf with someone whose handicap is above 28. It effects everyone and I think it’s poor etiquette from the 28+ player, not to consider others.
Social golf, yes they should be welcomed and encouraged.
These two phrases, I agree with. The rest is plainly discriminatory.
 
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