The Hacker: Secret feeling of fairness comes from robbing the poor box

Thanks to the weather, we haven't been able to get on the course much since Christmas, but that hasn't stopped the rumblings of a minor rebellion about our contentious old friend the handicap allowance.

Last year there were anguished protests from the better players when the governing body Congu decreed that those with higher handicaps should be given the full difference between the two handicaps in competitions instead of the previous three-quarters.

The better players thought such generosity was uncalled for and some refused to take part in knockout tournaments because their chances of winning had been drastically reduced. Congu promptly produced irrefutable statistical evidence that this was nonsense. Most clubs around the country duly, if reluctantly, accepted the change.

But hackers at my club reckon there's still a bit to do in this quest for fairness. During mid-winter we play Saturday fun competitions such as Texas Scrambles, and we had a four-ball team Stableford event recently, with the best three scores on each hole to count.

Our team were surprised to find that there was a three-quarters handicap limit. As a 26-handicapper it meant that I lost six shots, and between us the team had lost 20. The odd thing about a three-quarters limit is that if you play off three or less, you don't lose any shots. So a hot team would be untroubled by the limit.

It was the same when we had a fourball better-ball medal. My partner and I lost 11 shots between us. As it happened, we didn't do badly – and my blank-mind approach showed promise. One of the pair we played with was a 24-handicapper who played like God, but that's another story.

Our match captain has answered complaints about the three-quarters rule by stating, quite rightly, that these are the Congu regulations. But obviously the fourball strokeplay rule needs re-examining, and the subject is still a matter of argument countrywide.

I don't know which club Derek Pearce belongs to, but he attended their presentation dinner and felt moved to email me: "One member had just received a very nice trophy (I reluctantly joined in the applause as I came second) and on rejoining his table one of his friends was overheard saying, 'The new rule that we have to play off full handicaps is stupid – it gives the low- handicappers no chance'."

What really made Derek grimace was that no one on that table of six had a handicap of over eight and they had five trophies between them. "The trophy which was nearly mine was for the Stableford Cup, which was played off full handicap and was won by one of the club's best golfers, who plays off three."

Derek added: "Congu have certainly got it right and, as their statistics prove, the low- handicappers still win the majority of trophies.

"I worked hard all season and brought my handicap down by three to 15 and I was still made to feel by some of the big hitters as if I was robbing the church poor box when I accepted a pro-shop voucher for my second place.

"Long live hackers everywhere," he ends.

p.corrigan@independent.co.uk

Suggested Topics
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
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

Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'
10 best statement lightbulbs

10 best statement lightbulbs

Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
Wimbledon 2015: Heather Watson - 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Heather Watson: 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Briton pumped up for dream meeting with world No 1
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

Dustin Brown

Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
Ashes 2015: Damien Martyn - 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Damien Martyn: 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Australian veteran of that Ashes series, believes the hosts' may become unstoppable if they win the first Test