Winter Golf and Handicap

Orikoru

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Usually when we get to this time of year, I stop entering comps or putting any cards in because it's winter golf and inevitably would just mean my handicap goes up, which I don't particularly want. I'm wondering now whether to do it differently this year though. This has been the first year where I've not been able to get my handicap down at all. So I'm asking myself, what would I rather? My handicap stays at 14.6 and then next Spring I resume trying to get it lower, possibly struggling again as I have this year. Or do I allow it to go up over winter and then get it back down in spring - same end result but a better feeling as at least I'll have had a cut then? And I suppose most of the spring comps are likely to be won by people who did go up over winter.

Which kind are you? No cards in winter so you don't go up, or just let it go up to get it back down again in spring?
 

sjw

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I'm hoping to be a third kind - keep it level through winter and hopefully get it down come spring!

In seriousness, though, I'll probably put a card in if playing with a mate and the conditions don't look too bad, but I'm not going to be putting in cards if the course is particularly wet, etc, because it then doesn't become a reflection of just your skill, but rather the outside conditions that you played in.

Obviously, that's true for all rounds, but if it gets past a certain point I'm not going to bother.
 

Lord Tyrion

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We don't have qualifying comps in the winter, haven't done at the past 3 clubs I've been a member of. One club tried to bring it it, no one played in the comps for 2 weeks and so they gave up. Winter golf is hard, you inevitably score higher and I would find it dispiriting for my h/c to go up after I've spent the last x number of months trying to bring it down.

If you are okay with it going up, down to course, weather etc rather than you, then put the cards in. If that would hack you off like it would me, wait until spring.
 

sjw

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I should also add that I haven't got 20 cards in yet and I'm keen to do so sooner rather than later. That might influence my decision to put a card in.
 

Banchory Buddha

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We don't have qualifying comps in the winter, haven't done at the past 3 clubs I've been a member of. One club tried to bring it it, no one played in the comps for 2 weeks and so they gave up. Winter golf is hard, you inevitably score higher and I would find it dispiriting for my h/c to go up after I've spent the last x number of months trying to bring it down.

If you are okay with it going up, down to course, weather etc rather than you, then put the cards in. If that would hack you off like it would me, wait until spring.
Same as his Lordship, lucky to not have counting comps at one club, and no comps at all at the other

usually my clubs go away, but I'm going to try to keep practicing through the winter this year
 

BiMGuy

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We’re qualifying all year. And off proper tees and greens so the course plays very long when it’s cold and soft.

But, the soft conditions make holding fairways and greens easier.

My handicap actually went down over winter last year.
 

Orikoru

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I don't think we have any major/board comps in winter - bar the matchplay foursomes knockout - but we still have the monthly Stablefords and medals. It's monthly Stableford this weekend on Sunday actually - I think I will enter it even though the chances of a good score are probably slim to none. When I cock that up my handicap will either go up one to 14.7 or stay the same, but then all my green counting rounds will be in my last 10 rounds somehow, so I guess I have some leeway before going up anyway. (I probably should have looked at that before posting this topic.) 😆

I'll probably still enter the monthly Stablefords but not put any additional cards in - since in winter it's more fun to just hack it round and have gimmes then get in for a drink anyway. Don't fancy the monthly medals however, winter is too punishing for that.
 

Orikoru

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We’re qualifying all year. And off proper tees and greens so the course plays very long when it’s cold and soft.

But, the soft conditions make holding fairways and greens easier.

My handicap actually went down over winter last year.
Our course goes to mats eventually, but unlike a lot of courses it actually makes some holes longer instead of shorter, bizarrely enough. And several are the same length. So it doesn't really make things any easier. As you say, without any roll the course plays longer.

I was talking to my mates about this the other day. I think there's a kind of handicap cut off where winter either makes it harder or easier for certain players. For us mid-handicappers and higher, it makes it harder for two reasons - 1. you can't get away with fatting the ball because soft ground just eats the bounce, and 2. the course playing longer means you have to hit longer clubs increasing the inconsistency factor.
For better players, let's say single figures and below, the better ball-strikers aren't affecting by the ground so much, they're just happy that the greens are soft so they can take aim straight at the pins, even if it means hitting 5 and 6 irons at it. I absolutely don't fit into this group.
 

mikejohnchapman

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Well England Golf are quite clear - there should be no off-season. Providing you can still play a measured course then you can / should put cards in. They are even happy if holes are taken out of play, bunkers are flooded, placing is in play, mats are mandated and you have a couple of temporary greens. In short nothing like golf played during the season.

An argument is you should expect your handicap to be higher in winter due to tougher conditions and come down in summer. Very much a sine curve rather than a straight line. Thus my response to you is to keep playing and your HI will reflect the way you are playing in the prevailing conditions.
 

Orikoru

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Well England Golf are quite clear - there should be no off-season. Providing you can still play a measured course then you can / should put cards in. They are even happy if holes are taken out of play, bunkers are flooded, placing is in play, mats are mandated and you have a couple of temporary greens. In short nothing like golf played during the season.

An argument is you should expect your handicap to be higher in winter due to tougher conditions and come down in summer. Very much a sine curve rather than a straight line. Thus my response to you is to keep playing and your HI will reflect the way you are playing in the prevailing conditions.
I feel like all this advice does is exacerbate the perceived problem of high handicappers winning comps - they're all likely to go up 2 or 3 shots over winter and then clean up come up spring before their handicaps have adjusted back down?
 

Imurg

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In some ways winter golf is easier for me..
There is minimal loss or roll so distances are only affected by wind and temperature
The greens are softer so you have a much better chance of keeping a ball on them, they're also slower
The downside is that greens can get a bit bobbly.
We put cards in all year as long as playing conditions are reasonable.
 

apj0524

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Well England Golf are quite clear - there should be no off-season. Providing you can still play a measured course then you can / should put cards in. They are even happy if holes are taken out of play, bunkers are flooded, placing is in play, mats are mandated and you have a couple of temporary greens. In short nothing like golf played during the season.

An argument is you should expect your handicap to be higher in winter due to tougher conditions and come down in summer. Very much a sine curve rather than a straight line. Thus my response to you is to keep playing and your HI will reflect the way you are playing in the prevailing conditions.
100%
 

patricks148

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no comps at Nairn during winter anyway, but we use matts from everywhere except deep rough and bunkers so we couldn't have qualifying comps. I have been a winter member at N Dunbar the last few years they have comps every weekend, but non qualifying . i. thinking of Joining Tain Again as as they have stopped dropping to the side or using mats, they have been running comps all winter so might be putting a few cards in this year for the first time in years
 

Tashyboy

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As I have mentioned, for this last season I have played off the yellows. It caused a stir in our fuddle. Anyway our fuddle has now gone off the yellows. A PP who has been quite vocal of me playing off the yellows stated the other day “ I reckon it’s five shots easier playing off the yellows. I told him he was “extracting the urine”. He moaned when I said “ am off yellows, coz am struggling off whites”. He now admits that moving to yellow pots is the right decision over the winter months. His thought process is to just enjoy the golf over the winter months and try to get some form going into the start of Q comps in April.
My sentiments exactly.
 

pendodave

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England golf can kiss my **** ;-)
I'll be going out later to play with a mate.
We'll play matchplay. We'll pick and place everywhere because it's horrid. If there's a group in front we'll cut out a couple of holes to keep moving. We've no idea how many holes we'll fit in before it's dark, but it definitely won't be 18.
This will be my golfing life until March.
 

WGCRider

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I don't think we have any major/board comps in winter - bar the matchplay foursomes knockout - but we still have the monthly Stablefords and medals. It's monthly Stableford this weekend on Sunday actually - I think I will enter it even though the chances of a good score are probably slim to none. When I cock that up my handicap will either go up one to 14.7 or stay the same, but then all my green counting rounds will be in my last 10 rounds somehow, so I guess I have some leeway before going up anyway. (I probably should have looked at that before posting this topic.) 😆

I'll probably still enter the monthly Stablefords but not put any additional cards in - since in winter it's more fun to just hack it round and have gimmes then get in for a drink anyway. Don't fancy the monthly medals however, winter is too punishing for that.
If only there was some kind of calculation that could be used to adjust the scores of the entire field to reflect the playing condition.
 

pauljames87

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Well England Golf are quite clear - there should be no off-season. Providing you can still play a measured course then you can / should put cards in. They are even happy if holes are taken out of play, bunkers are flooded, placing is in play, mats are mandated and you have a couple of temporary greens. In short nothing like golf played during the season.

An argument is you should expect your handicap to be higher in winter due to tougher conditions and come down in summer. Very much a sine curve rather than a straight line. Thus my response to you is to keep playing and your HI will reflect the way you are playing in the prevailing conditions.

I wish golf England would sort out the PCC , played few weeks back in 35mph guests with constant 20mph wind .. all of us struggled

Played again 2 days later with no wind at all and yet both days the PCC didn't kick in

First day was a clear 3 shot difference in difficulty minimum, I mean 3 club wind on most holes lol 🤣
 
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