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Handicap limits and general play adjustments

Posted by: user21020 | Tue 11th May 2010 08:33 | Last Reply

Does anyone know why 28 is regarded by most as the limit for a male handicap?  When was it 28 became established across the game?

And does anyone know what the principles are for making a 'general play' adjustment to a player's handicap?  I'm particularly looking at increases (rather than decreases) to a player's handicap.  I understand how a handicap can increase by submitting cards, and the resulting 0.1 increase that is possible, but what about when a handicap committee judges a player should increase by a full stroke or two, in what circumstances does this normally happen?  I assume it's when a player hasn't played to his handicap for sometime, by some distance, but over what period of time and by what margin?  Are there any guidelines?



re: Handicap limits and general play adjustments
Reply : Tue 11th May 2010 08:45

You are now realising that the handicap system is completely flawed, Tom.

In my opinion it was a bad decision to move from max 24 to 28 handicaps, especially with the huge increases in technology which has made the game easier, or so they say.

The old system was much better, worked better in practice and was fairer to all.

We should return to those days, with 7/8ths for Stableford, full handicap for medals and 3/4 the difference in matchplay.

24 was first introduced so that under the 3/4 rule, no one could receive more tha one shot per hole. 2 shots a hole is a total disgrace and does nothing to enhance the games reputation for fairness.

Last edit : Tue 11th May 2010 08:45
re: Handicap limits and general play adjustments
Reply : Tue 11th May 2010 14:30

John and Christopher - thanks very much for your responses, very helpful.

Background to the question relates to a twice-yearly Ryder Cup style competition that I organise.  Next instalment is over the weekend of 22-23 May, 8 vs 8, playing at the Kendleshire near Bristol.

Vast majority of players play fairly regularly and are on golfshake or have club handicaps, so fairly straightforward, but a few players are trying to make a case for extra shots due to not playing very well at the moment etc.  Your explanations help to support my stance against upward revisions simply for a bad period of form, or handicaps over the 28 limit for a couple of beginners.

Thanks again



re: Handicap limits and general play adjustments
Reply : Tue 11th May 2010 15:12

This is what happened to me tail end of last year congu put me up 1 full shot much to my annoyance but seemed to bother others even more.

re: Handicap limits and general play adjustments
Reply : Tue 11th May 2010 16:14

Steady on Santo, in my last ten games I've only shot one round under (net) par (-2), 2 pars, 6 up to +5 and one +11.  Matchplay rounds don't count and I'm 2 wins out of 4 on that front.

Generally I agree that the maximum handicap is too high, I really don't see why anyone should get 2 shots on any par 3 and the three-quarter handicap rule to get a maximum 18 is about right.  Personally I'd like to see 3/4 handicaps in all proper comps (says me now I've got to play off 17).   

re: Handicap limits and general play adjustments
Reply : Fri 2nd Oct 2015 21:44

When did the limit change from 24 to28?

Last edit : Fri 2nd Oct 2015 21:44

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