Need to Know

Over the period of its operation our Club has gathered a comprehensive set of guidance material covering rules, etiquette and scoring that commonly apply on the courses and in the conditions under which we play.

Players should familiarise themselves with the guidelines contained on our Rules, Etiquette and Scoring pages.

If there is any doubt about anything contained on these web pages or the interpretations of the guidelines set out here, or any aspect of play, please refer to Mr Handicapper or, on the course, to the lowest handicapped player in your group. Where, on the course, the issue is one of taking a drop or the lifting of a player's ball other than on the green or under the preferred lie rule, players should initially consult with their marker. If the player and the marker disagree as to the correct procedure, the lowest handicapped player in the group will make a decision.

A great deal of information is available from the websites of the official golfing authorities listed below. Over recent years these sites have become increasingly easier to navigate and to locate information you might be searching for.

Golf Australia (GA)
Royal and Ancient (R&A)
US Golf Association (USGA)

Our Handicapping system

It's not essential to know how we calculate handicaps but, especially because it is not the same as the official GA method, Mr Handicapper provides the following explanation.

Exact handicaps are calculated to 1 decimal point. Playing handicaps are found by rounding the exact handicap to the nearest whole number. Rounding is down for exact numbers ending in .4 and below, and up for exact numbers ending in .5 and above. 

Mr Handicapper has your stroke scores and handicap details going back to mid 2005. He also has stableford scores for every round you’ve played with us since the beginning of 2007. For a copy of your history, email a request to Mr Handicapper. 

Official systems

In 2011, after more than a decade spent working through a succession of variations, GA settled on a system under which a player's handicap is the product of a figure derived from the best eight scores of their last twenty rounds, a factor of 0.96 and ratings relating to the weather on the day and a Slope Rating for the course being played.

We have four players who have handicaps under both our system and the current GA system. Their St Leonards handicaps are generally close to their GA handicaps. We are not contemplating changing to the GA system as special software is required.

Our system

The system we use for the St Leonards Golf Club was the official method used in Australia for many years. Some still say it was the best.

It works this way:

1) We start with your strokes for a game including strokes required to record any wipes.*
2) From that we subtract your handicap to arrive at a net stroke score.
3) Then we deduct the course par to find your number of strokes under or over par.
4) Finally, we subtract the number of holes you wiped.**

There’s a slightly different treatment for results over par as against results under par.

I If the result is over the course par, your exact handicap is increased by:

o 0.5 for players with handicaps greater than 36
o 0.4 for players with handicaps of 19 to 36
o 0.3 for players with handicaps of 13 to 18
o 0.2 for players with handicaps of 7 to 12
o 0.1 for players with handicaps of 1 to 6

I If the result is under course par your exact handicap is reduced for each stroke under par by:

o 0.5 for players with handicaps greater than 36
o 0.4 for players with handicaps of 19 to 36
o 0.3 for players with handicaps of 13 to 18
o 0.2 for players with handicaps of 7 to 12
o 0.1 for players with handicaps of 1 to 6

* For the purpose of calculating handicaps under our system, the only useful data for a wiped hole are
    • the number of strokes required for you to score zero stableford points and
    • the fact of the wipe itself, which you should indicate on your card with a horizontal slash.

If you play a greater number of real strokes on a wiped hole (meaning a greater number than the number at which you score the wipe), the number of real strokes is not useful for counting anything. The strokes you record on your card for a wipe is the number required for you to score zero stableford points on that hole. That is what Mr Handicapper wants you record there, not the actual strokes taken.

** If you are ever looking at this information from the spreadsheet that we use for these calculations, you may care to note that, for historical reasons, we enter wipes into the spreadsheet as negative numbers so, while our spreadsheet calculation appears to add wipes (if you were to deconstruct the formula), the effect of the negative numbers is that they are subtracted.

It is possible to use your stableford score to find a good approximation for how your handicap is affected by a round of golf. Remember that par for a hole, after applying your handicap, is 2 stableford points and that course par is therefore worth 36 points. To get an idea of your handicap fluctuation, add the number of wipes to your stableford score and apply the multiplier for your handicap range as set out under point 4, above.

For example, if your handicap is more than 18 and you score 34 points, that equates to 2 “over” “stableford par”. You would get 0.4 back on your handicap. However, if that score includes 4 wipes, then the total is 38 (2 under par), and you would lose 0.8 of a shot.

Of course this is only an approximation. Mr Handicapper has much to consider before your handicap for the next round can be announced.