Handicaps will soon be available to golfers in England who are not members of a club, revealed England Golf CEO Jeremy Tomlinson.

Handicaps have already changed a lot recently with the introduction of the World Handicap System only happening a couple of months ago.

But now it seems like another big change is on the way very soon.

England Golf CEO Jeremy Tomlinson has declared that independent golfers, or those not attached to a club, will soon be offered the opportunity to get an official handicap through a new national platform.

Reach every golfer

Speaking to National Club Golfer magazine, he said the organisation were working on getting a business plan ready for this within the first half of this year.

England Golf is currently working with stakeholders and national organisations to decide exactly what the new national platform will involve, but he also said that the new World Handicap System will make it easier to implement.

The idea was prompted after R&A officials declared that they wanted to not only connect to ALL golfers across the country, but also give them the chance to get a handicap.

“It’s members of golf clubs who pay their affiliation fees to England Golf. So quite rightly we should look to prioritise them and we do,” he said.

“But if we are to truly look after the health and wellbeing of our golf clubs, we need to make sure that inspire and educate all golfers.

“There is a huge community of independent golfers that we really must reach out to."

He revealed that in England, between 1.2 and 1.8 million people play golf regularly but don't hold a club membership.

A threat to clubs?

Previous plans to introduce a handicap for 'nomad' golfers have been heavily criticised. In fact, just six months ago it was revealed that the governing body had scrapped another plan to do so.

Some club managers have expressed concern that their members would quit their clubs to join the scheme.

But Jeremy insisted this wouldn't be a problem.

“Ultimately, when you look at it, why would a member who’s enjoying their membership at a good golf club look to leave – to then a pay a fee to have a handicap and then have to pay green fees every time they play?

“And I’ve certainly never known anybody join a golf club just to get a handicap. So, for me, golf clubs need to continually look at their value proposition of membership."

He explained his position further in a webinar with the Golf Club Manager's Association, also reported by National Club Golfer.

He explained that each golf club would be given the option of whether or not to join the scheme, and offer independent golfers the chance to play in medals and other opportunities.

“England Golf is not going to dictate to any golf club on these options or opportunities. We are going to offer them. That’s what it’s all about.”

He also revealed that Scotland, Wales and Ireland had agreed to create similar platforms.

“We’ve never done anything like this in the past," he finished.

"I think that it’s not only a real shame, but I think we’re not looking after our future well enough if we’re not connecting with all golfers."

You can find out more about England Golf and the WHS HERE.