England Golf persists with the mandatory affiliation fee which it makes the liability of the club. Their rules are clear. If a golfer doesn’t pay it does not exonerate his club for paying the fee for him. The club is liable and not the golfer. England Golf suggests that having a golf handicap is essential to playing golf. Clearly it isn’t. England Golf says there are another 1.5 million golfers in England who aren’t club members. They don’t have handicaps and manage without one.
The Royal and Ancient gave a ruling 12 years ago which was clear. There is no official handicap system. A group of people can devise their own handicap system. That is why there are different handicap systems all over the world. CONGU isn’t essential.
AGCO is busy devising a simple handicap system that can be used by any golfer and any club without payment. We think it should be based on the old LGU system, using the average of scores, handicap reducing during the year and increasing if necessary at the end of it. And it shouldn’t have to be linked to a computer programme or web-based. We say it should be a simple system of scoring.
You can play snooker and know the black ball is worth 7 points. You can play tennis and score 15-love, 30-love and so on. You can use those rules of scoring without having to pay someone for the privilege.
Golf should be the same. We say there can only be two reasons for the Centralised Handicap System. One is that golf’s governing bodies assume that all golfers cheat their handicaps unless Big Brother watches them. The other is that the governing bodies want a process of data capture and direct marketing to golfers. Is the central handicapping to stop cheating or for direct marketing?!
Let’s get back to a system where people tried to improve and thus reduce their handicaps. It was this that gave the sense of achievement, rather than using a dodgy handicap to win prizes!
Click here to read on: AGCO’s VAT case