The Hacker: Secret feeling of fairness comes from robbing the poor box - Golf - Sport - The Independent

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
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory
Ashes 2015: Alastair Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Aussie skipper Michael Clarke was lured into believing that what we witnessed at Edgbaston and Trent Bridge would continue in London, says Kevin Garside
Can Rafael Benitez get the best out of Gareth Bale at Real Madrid?

Can Benitez get the best out of Bale?

Back at the club he watched as a boy, the pressure is on Benitez to find a winning blend from Real's multiple talents. As La Liga begins, Pete Jenson asks if it will be enough to stop Barcelona
Athletics World Championships 2015: Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jessica Ennis-Hill and Katarina Johnson-Thompson heptathlon rivalry

Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jess and Kat rivalry

The last time the two British heptathletes competed, Ennis-Hill was on the way to Olympic gold and Johnson-Thompson was just a promising teenager. But a lot has happened in the following three years
Jeremy Corbyn: Joining a shrewd operator desperate for power as he visits the North East

Jeremy Corbyn interview: A shrewd operator desperate for power

His radical anti-austerity agenda has caught the imagination of the left and politically disaffected and set a staid Labour leadership election alight
Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief: Defender of ancient city's past was killed for protecting its future

Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief

Robert Fisk on the defender of the ancient city's past who was killed for protecting its future