Handicap Information

Dear Members,

I hope you will find these notes useful and informative. If you have any questions please contact Marion Hitchcock, Berkshire Handicap Advisor at handicapadvisor@bclga.co.uk.


The first port of call for all handicap queries should be directed to the Club/Ladies Handicap Secretary. Each Handicap Secretary should have a copy of the Updated CONGU Unified Handicapping System - 2018 book, now available online or from CONGU directly which should be referred to for queries. If a satisfactory answer cannot be found, please contact handicapadvisor@bclga.co.uk. If you have access to the CDH you can also open an enquiry through that channel which will be directed back to the County Handicap Advisor. If the County Handicap Advisor needs further advice it will be taken to the Regional Handicap Advisor and ultimately England Golf.


The Annual Review of Handicaps should be completed by 28 February 2018. Once the Annual Review Report has been run from the computer software the Handicap Committee should meet to discuss the recommendations. Individual playing records should be available and all evidence considered before any alterations are made (see Clause 23, pages 48-51 in CONGU Handicapping book). Once the Committee makes its recommendations, each player affected should be notified.

Things to remember:

  • The perfect golfer will only play in his/her buffer zone 1/3rd of the time.
  • Players who are incorrectly handicapped can have an effect on the CSS calculation and therefore the handicaps of all other players. (Cat 1-4)
  • You can go up as well as down at the Annual Review.
  • All players with exact handicaps of 28.0 or 36.0 should be reviewed as a handicap increase may be required.
  • Handicap adjustments are a committee decision – We advise that all committees keep notes on the decision made for each player so that supporting evidence can be provided should the player wish to appeal the decision.
  • The player has the right to appeal the decision of the club and this should be done in writing to the County Union/Association within 14 days of the player being informed of the decision.


A summary of the changes, which came into effect on the 1st of January 2018:

  • Retirement of Club & Disability Handicaps – As a result of their low impact these have been removed and replaced by a new Category 5 for Men and Category 6 for both Men and Women, providing for a maximum handicap of 54.0 for all golfers. Players will be able to maintain a Competition Handicap in all six categories. Upward adjustment for all categories will remain at 0.1 and downward adjustments for Net Differentials below Buffer Zones will be 0.5 for Category 5 and 0.6 for Category 6.
  • After 1st January 2018 Handicap Committees can increase handicaps above the current limits of 28.0 and 36.0, and they will also increase above those limits automatically as a result of above Buffer Zone returns in Qualifying Competitions and Supplementary Score submissions.
  • Supplementary Scores – Relaxation of the rules to allow an unlimited number of score submissions per year and removal of the restriction of one per week. However, the restriction on Category 1 players will remain in place.
  • Mixed Tee Competitions – Reinforcement of the single CSS Adjustment Calculation. Having a single CSS adjustment for two or more competitions will provide a more equitable value when one of the competitions has a very low number of players. To overcome the technical IT implementation issues, the approach agreed will be to enter all scores into a single competition (and so a single CSS Adjustment Factor is calculated) with a facility within the software to allow the results to be separated for each group of competitors.
  • Definitions – Confirmation that cards submitted for Initial Handicap Allocation are included in the definition of Qualifying Scores for handicap purposes. Accordingly a player whose handicap is allocated on the basis of such submitted scores under Clause 16 will automatically be allocated a Competition Handicap status.
  • 9 Hole Competitions – Introduce the option of 9-Hole Medal Competitions and 9-Hole Open Competitions. For handicap purposes, the 9-Hole Medal scores will be converted to Stableford and will appear as stableford on the players handicap record.
  • Handicap Adjustments – Confirmation that the adherence to Appendix M (Guidelines for Handicap Reviews) is mandatory, not optional.


The use of CDH numbers on entry forms for Open competitions should be encouraged. However, this can cause a problem when the organiser of the Open does not have access to the CDH. If any organisers would like these details please contact your Club Handicap Advisor handicapadvisor@bclga.co.uk

Handicap Advisor
January 2018

Further Information

County Handicap Advisor
Marion Hitchcock
October 2018 - Rules of Gold 2019 - Effects on CONGU Handicapping
July 2018 - World Handicap System FAQs
February 2018 - CONGU - Players Quick Guide to the Handicapping System
February 2018 - World Handicap System Announcement
February 2018 - Handicap Appeals Procedure
January 2018 - CONGU Changes 2018
January 2018 - CONGU Changes for 2018 - Questions and Answers
January 2018 - Why You Should Welcome 54 Handicappers to the Game