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Competitions Committee Weekly Newsletter - September 18th

Saturday Competition – 20th September:

The Thwaites Bowl - This is an 18 hole medal event. Entry fee is £3. White tees.

Last Year’s Winner: Stuart Pearson 72-6-66.

This competition represents the final event of the 10 that count towards the Sir William Proctor Smith Golden Jubilee Plate, aka Golfer of the Year. The current standings are on the noticeboards.

Other Competitions:

Club Finals Day: Sunday 21st September - Spectators welcome.
Midweek Medal: Wednesday 24th September

Other Information:

Archie Preston Mixed Foursomes Semi-Final v Blackburn: Sale won 4-3. The final takes place at Blackburn Golf Club on Sunday 28th September at 8:30am.

City Glass Alliance Foursomes Semi-Final v Worsley: Sale won 5-2. The final takes place at Northenden Golf Club on Sunday 5th October at 8:30am.

Both these teams need your support so please come and cheer them on.

The Richard Burton Trophy
Congratulations to Ian Fitton on winning the re-scheduled Richard Burton Trophy with a score of 82-16-66, despite a double bogey on the 18th. Ian held off six players with nett 67’s.

Of the 172 competitors there were 24 no returns. The favourable weather allowed a scoring average of 89.3 which was 3.5 shots better than the rain affect Philip Smith Trophy.

The pin placement on the 8th hole meant that it played the second easiest hole of the year in a Saturday medal event with 57% of the field scoring par or better. The 2nd hole yielded only 16 pars which meant that 93% of the field made bogey or worse.

Doris Chambers Cup (aka the Dotty Potty)
Congratulations to Sophia Casey and Sue Barrett who won the Doris Chambers Cup played over 3 days at Delamere Forest.

Eclectic Competition
The current standings, up to and including the Richard Burton Trophy, are on the noticeboards.


This is the second of a number Q&A articles with our Handicap Committee - Chris Leonard and Dave Parsons.

Q: There are four handicap categories. What are the parameters of each category?

A: Handicaps from 5.4 and below fall within Category One, Category Two 5.5 to 12.4, Category Three 12.5 to 20.4, and Category Four 20.5 to 28.0. Handicaps within these categories are treated differently in certain situations.

Q: Most golfers in the club will be familiar with the process of adjusting handicaps UP and DOWN but we do have many new golfers who are still in the dark. This week, can you clarify how a handicap goes UP?

A: We can adjust a handicap UP at the Annual Review but we will cover this in a later article, otherwise a golfer’s handicap goes up 0.1 when they fail to score within or below what’s called the “Buffer Zone” in a Handicap Qualifying Competition.

Q: What constitutes a Handicap Qualifying Competition?

A: Almost every singles stroke play competition is a Handicap Qualifying Competition. Typical exceptions are when the course is altered for some reason, for example, when tees have been moved forward significantly or when a hole or holes are omitted as in winter, or a temporary green is introduced as was the case in the Captain’s 2nd qualifying round this year.

When this happens the golf course doesn’t reflect the official course Standard Scratch Score. This means that it is not possible to accurately calculate the Competition Standard Scratch (CSS) and CONGU does not permit handicaps to be adjusted.

Q: What is the Buffer Zone?

A: The Buffer Zone is the tolerance, above the calculated Competition Scratch Score (CSS), that is allowed in a nett score return, before an increase in handicap is applied. The Buffer Zone is different for each handicap category.

Q: This sounds complicated, can you explain what this means to each handicap category?

A: A player with a Category One handicap has a Buffer Zone CSS +1. This means that if CSS is 70 and he scores either 70 or 71, he is classed as being within his Buffer Zone and his exact handicap remains unchanged.

A player with a Category Two handicap has a Buffer Zone CSS +2. This means that if CSS is 70 and he scores either 70, 71 or 72, he is classed as being within his Buffer Zone and his exact handicap remains unchanged.

Category Three players have Buffer Zones CSS +3 and Category Four CSS +4.

If a golfer scores over his Buffer Zone then his handicap goes up 0.1.

Q: Now it sounds straightforward. So, if you play off a 14 handicap which is Category Three, and score gross 90 nett 76, when CSS is 70 the Buffer Zone goes up to 73 (CSS +3), will your handicap always go up 0.1?

A: Not necessarily!!! It depends on the golfer’s nett differential.

Q: Never heard of it. What is nett differential?

A: A golfer’s nett differential is their score in relation to CSS after the score on each hole has been limited to nett double bogey. It is only used for handicap calculations.

Q: Can you explain this using the example above?

A: Let’s say that in shooting 90, our 14 handicapper scored 7 on the 7th hole (stroke index 18) and scored 9 on the 12th hole (stroke index 1). By limiting both to nett double bogey, the 7 on the 7th is reduced to a 6 and, because he received a shot on the 12th, the 9 is reduced to a 7.

These reductions take his score down by 3 strokes to 73 and into the Buffer Zone. His nett differential is +3 i.e. the difference between his adjusted score (73) and CSS (70). Consequently his exact handicap remains the same.

Q: What if the golfer had not finished the 12th hole, entered “No Return” but had marked his score down for the other 17 holes?

A: The same principle applies. The “No Return” on the 12th hole is calculated to nett double bogey (7) and, purely for handicap purposes, he would be classed as in the Buffer Zone and his exact handicap would remain unchanged.

Q: Does this also mean you can submit a “No Return” and reduce your handicap?

A: Yes. For example, if you “No Return” on the 1st hole but completed the remaining 17 holes, and when the nett double bogey adjustment is applied to the 1st hole your score is under CSS, then your handicap would be reduced!

Q: Does the nett double bogey adjustment apply to stableford competitions?

A: Yes. For handicap purposes only, any hole where no points are scored is calculated to be a nett double bogey, so again, it’s possible to reduce your handicap even if you didn’t hole out on every hole.

Q: Why have CONGU introduced nett differential and nett double bogey adjustment?

A: By placing a limit on the maximum score that can be recorded at any hole, handicaps become more representative of a player’s potential ability. Remember, this control is for handicap purposes only. It has been introduced to lessen the impact of the occasional “bad” score on a player’s Stroke Play return and to reduce the incidence of “No Returns” that can, on occasions, represent an undesirable proportion of the competition entry.

It also allows a player who does not complete a hole, for any reason, to continue to record a score for handicap purposes, thus sustaining his golfing interest and at the same time providing useful handicap information.

Both the Handicap and Competitions Committees believe it’s very important that our members are now aware of the impact of nett differential and nett double bogey adjustment and we encourage everyone to take advantage of it.

CONGU has given affiliated golf clubs the discretion to deal with players who persistently submit incomplete cards or make “No Returns” if they consider they are attempting to “build a handicap”. This discretion would include the suspension of a player’s handicap or refusing to allot a handicap to a new player.

Next week we will discuss how handicaps are normally reduced and how they are adjusted following a period of exceptional scoring performance.


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