Golf

Scheme to offer non-club members an official handicap to launch this summer


England Golf have confirmed their independent golfer project will run alongside a push to encourage people to sign up to golf clubs

England Golf’s independent golfer scheme will be launched by the end of June, it has been confirmed.

Answering ‘common club queries’ in an FAQ on their website, the governing body said all golfers would be able to obtain an official handicap index by then, although the exact date has yet to be finalised.

England Golf have been posting weekly updates from a working group set up to implement of the project, which will give non-members a World Handicap System index along with personal liability insurance.

They also addressed two questions frequently asked by clubs: ‘Why would golfers join a club if they can get as handicap from England Golf?’ and ‘Will introducing a handicap for independent golfers have a detrimental effect on membership numbers?’

On the first, England Golf said: “There is so much more to being a member of a good golf club than the provision of a handicap. The benefits of membership far outweigh those being offered to an independent golfer through the new connectivity platform.

“We will support clubs to focus on the many added positives of golf club membership. These include important playing rights, social opportunities, regular competition play and a sense of belonging.

“During 2021, the ‘Membership: Give it a shot’ campaign will once again be central to our promotion of the game.”

On the effects on membership, they added: “In other countries where a similar scheme has been rolled out there is no significant negative effect on membership numbers.

“In fact, by drawing avid, independent golfers closer to a local club it provides that club with the opportunity to showcase what it has on offer and to profit from an increased regular spend on food and beverage, tuition, green fees and merchandise.”

The working group affirmed that independent golfers would use the My England Golf app to input scores and added they had started to “explore the roles and responsibilities of a centralised England Golf Handicap Committee.”

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