The Hacker: Keith loses handicap battle but can still win the Boar war

It is sad to hear of a hacker in distress. I don't mean on the golf course, where distress is an inevitable part of a hacker's lot, but off it where we should at least get what we're entitled to.

Keith Boar is so disillusioned with the way high handicappers are treated at his club in Lancashire he has given up playing the game.

I highlighted Keith's problem last year after he wrote complaining that his club was ignoring the new directive that full handicap allowance had to be given in club competitions.

His club insisted on sticking to the old rule giving only three-quarters of the difference in match play which was officially denounced as being "enormously favourable" to the lower handicappers. Congu, which runs the handicapping system on behalf of all the golf unions and associations in GB and Ireland, concluded after years of research that the full difference would be much fairer.

Keith now tells me that after a long and futile fight to be allowed to play off his full handicap in competitions he has reverted to being just a social member. But he shouldn't give up just yet. I spoke to the Congu secretary, Kevin McIntyre, last week and he assured me that the new handicap rule was not a matter of choice for clubs. It is mandatory and it was up to national unions to enforce it.

I've heard since of one prominent club who refused to obey the new rule and were told by their union that they faced losing their affiliation, which makes it very difficult for them to function as a club. The full allowance quickly followed.

I suggest Keith takes his complaint further and I'd be interested to hear of any other hackers who are being robbed of their stroke entitlements.

As Keith says: "All amateur golfers are allowed to play on courses that the greats have played. This is unique in sport as is the system that allows the high handicapper to give the scratch player a reasonable game. Why should committees load the dice in the low handicappers' favour by imposing handicap limits?" It is a question Congu found increasingly unanswerable the more they looked into it. They couldn't even find the reason why the three-quarter limit ever existed.

When the new rule was introduced a couple of years ago there was uproar among the better players. Some refused to play in match-play competition because they felt the odds had been stacked against them. That was a nonsense as subsequent results have proved.

The advantage still lies with the better player and they still get looked kindly upon by the competition organisers.

For some reason Congu retained the three-quarter rule for better-ball matches. We had a better-ball medal last week and my partner Andy and I, both off 27, had our handicaps reduced to 20 each.

Had a pair of two handicappers been playing neither would have lost a shot so Andy and I, pathetic creatures that we are, would be giving them seven shots each before we even started. Hardly fair, is it?

I had a drink with a European Tour pro on Thursday and said that stars like him had no idea what it is like to be a high handicapper. "I certainly do," he said. "I used to be off 40. Mind you, I was only 10 at the time."

We can take the mockery but don't take our shots away.

p.corrigan@independent.co.uk

Tip of the week

No 28: three-wood for safety?

How many times do you stand on a tee and reach for the three-wood because you feel it's safer than the driver? That may have been the case 10 years ago but with modern drivers you may need to think again. The new drivers have loft options up to 16 degrees (more than a three-wood), so they reduce the amount of sidespin. A three-wood today is designed with a shallow, elongated face to make it easy to get the ball airborne from the fairways – though not as ideal from the tee. With the right driver fitting, it should be every bit as forgiving as a three-wood from the tee and you'll get a few more yards!

Simon Iliffe, Head Professional, Purley Downs GC Surrey. www.theshortgame.co.uk

Suggested Topics
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence
Public relations as 'art'? Surely not

Confessions of a former PR man

The 'art' of public relations is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef succumbs to his sugar cravings with super-luxurious sweet treats

Bill Granger's luxurious sweet treats

Our chef loves to stop for 30 minutes to catch up on the day's gossip, while nibbling on something sweet
London Marathon 2015: Paula Radcliffe and the mother of all goodbyes

The mother of all goodbyes

Paula Radcliffe's farewell to the London Marathon will be a family affair
Everton vs Manchester United: Steven Naismith demands 'better' if Toffees are to upset the odds against United

Steven Naismith: 'We know we must do better'

The Everton forward explains the reasons behind club's decline this season
Arsenal vs Chelsea: Praise to Arsene Wenger for having the courage of his convictions

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Praise to Wenger for having the courage of his convictions