One Women & Golf reader tells us what she thinks of the increased handicap limit and shares her experience of the World Handicap System.

Last week, we shared the results of our recent handicap survey. We asked over 250 people what impact they felt raising the handicap limit to 54 had on women’s golf.

We spoke to new golfers and people who had played for years. Low handicappers, high handicappers and everyone in between.

And still, the results were pretty clear cut. 93% of the people we surveyed thought that increasing the handicap limit had been detrimental to women’s golf.

Learning from experience

Much like politics, handicaps are always an issue that will spark debate.

So we weren’t surprised when we received even more feedback – from men and women – on the topic after we published the results of the survey.

But all of those emails, comments and messages are really valuable. They’re not just moans and groans. They’re real-life stories and valid experiences that we – as an industry – should be listening to and learning from.

That’s the only way we can move the game forward. And why we’ll be sharing some of our readers’ stories with you all over the coming weeks.

Jane's story

Jane (we’ve changed the name of our reader to keep her anonymous) told us:

I think handicaps are ridiculously high. 

I didn’t start playing golf until I was 47. At that time, we started with a handicap of 36*P.   

I can’t remember the exact figure. But we had to play to something like 120 gross to get rid of the P. And then we had to play to 36 to get rid of the star.

We could play as much golf as we liked but couldn’t enter competitions until we had a proper handicap of 36.

It was a big incentive to get rid of the P and then the star; my handicap dropped from 36 to 30 in one fell swoop and then from 30 to 22.   

I managed to get down to 10 but couldn’t drop to single figures. Sadly, my handicap is now 21.6 and will go up again when one of my better cards drops off. 

I’m 79 now and still love the game but I hate the handicap system.

It’s no incentive when you get 37 Stableford points but your handicap goes up because one of your better cards has dropped below the 20 games mark. 

One of the main issues that people tell us about the new handicap system and increased handicap limit is incentive. Well, a lack of. There seems to be less incentive to compete and a lack of incentive to improve.

I'm all for people getting involved in golf at whatever level they want to. Whether it's to get as good as you can possibly get or just for a bit of exercise. But as an industry, we need to make sure we're catering equally to both. If you want to compete, you should be able to do so fairly and without feeling demoralised. And if you don't want to compete, that shouldn't have any impact on anyone else.

Failure to do that can only be detrimental to the game.

I'm also really pleased that Jane bought up her point about the previous 36*P handicaps. Looking back, it was a great way to achieve exactly what I think is sometimes lacking with the new system: the freedom to play competitively or for fun, without one impacting the other.

We'll be sharing more stories soon ... so watch this space! In the meantime, I'd love to hear what you think. Email me at [email protected]