Editor Emma Ballard and four friends sign up to iGolf. Follow their journey towards achieving official Handicap Indexes. It's time to get that first round in the books...

Last time we checked in, it was all about getting our iGolf subscription set up. My friends and I left it to the last minute (which I don’t recommend) and had ourselves ready to input our first nine holes in just 15 minutes.

I guess the rush to be ready for our tee time meant that we didn’t have too long to contemplate what lay ahead. I don’t mean to sound dramatic but when you go from just a casual round to one that will count towards your handicap, there is definitely a different feeling.

Regardless of the round, I think we probably all experience first tee nerves in varying degrees. Just because I’d usually be playing a casual round doesn’t mean I would be happy to top it 40 yards and although we’re not competing for anything, we all want to outdrive each other.

Teeing off for our first iGolf round

Four out of the five of us using iGolf were there. It all felt a little tense on the first tee as we all waited for someone to sacrifice themselves to our handicap cause. Luckily, for once, we all managed reasonably good drives and our quest for a handicap was underway.

I won’t bore you with details of a hole-by-hole account of how we got on but I was pretty happy to get a double bogey on the par-4 first just to get started. We were vigilant to keep track of the number of shots we had taken and after every hole we added ours and our playing partners' gross scores into the My EG app.

A useful feature in the app is that you get a notification if you have put in a different score to one of your playing partners. It meant that we could quickly check the score at the time, make sure we were all correct and then move on. This also meant we were sure we all had inputted the right scores at the end of the round.

We experienced a range of feelings during our first nine holes

The first round was a little odd for all of us. We were definitely more frustrated with our poor shots, took a little more time over our putts and couldn’t help but compare how we were doing against each other.

As I’ve said previously, we get a little wrapped up in handicaps and what the number means. After every hole, I would be looking to see how everyone else was doing compared to my score. Silly really that your competitive side starts to show when you’re essentially playing a friendly nine holes with friends!

The first round was a mixture of pleasure, pain and relief. Putting the score tracking aside it is always lovely to go out on a late Spring evening for nine holes with my friends. There really is nothing quite like it – great company mixed with some mediocre golf (on my part) with the odd flash of brilliance (that shot that keeps you coming back).

The pain part was the duffed chips, wayward iron shots and many three putts. Those shots that you are very capable of playing well but then doubt or a bad lie wreaks havoc on your score. With hindsight, I wish we hadn’t all put so much pressure on ourselves. We all know that we don’t play or practice often enough to have an extremely consistent round.

So, although we all enjoyed our first nine holes using iGolf, it was with some relief that it came to an end. We were pleased to have our first nine in the bag and having a number to work from for next time.

Time to become official golfers

As we signed our scores as the marker and then verified our playing partners within the My EG app, it was amazing to think it had taken six years to get to this point. The introduction of the World Handicapping System (WHS) and iGolf had finally given us the opportunity that most of us hadn’t realised we actually wanted. To become official golfers with a handicap.

With 54 holes needed to be played before a Handicap Index could be generated, we all came away motivated to get out again as soon as possible. This was a positive sign for two reasons, our golf hadn’t been amazing and we usually only manage once a week.

Soon we will have an official Handicap Index before we know it!

Next time we’ll look into why having a handicap after all this time is actually proving more important than we all first thought. We’ll also hear more about Debbie’s golf story.