Competitive golf gives you the chance to gain a handicap and see it go up and down as a measure of your progress. Many of you will want to shy away from this, but please keep an open mind and let me explain...
The competitive edge is between you and you, no one else! If you happen to out score 80 other golfers then great, but the aim is to beat your own handicap and improve. My ethos toward competitive golf is simple;
"It's not how good you are, it's how much fun you take from it"
To that end, all golf events are open to everyone regardless of handicap.
What is a golf handicap?
It's a measure of your standard, the lower the better with no maximums or mimimums. To get your first handicap you need to hand a card in. We add up how many over the total par of the course you are (par is 29) and then deduct 4 from that total.
For example, if your score is 56, deducting the course par of 29 gives you 27 and then deducting 4 leaves you with your first handicap of 23. Turn this on its head, the course par is 29, adding your handicap of 23 gives you a target score of 52 to aim for. The lower your handicap the better you are getting. We have golfers with handicaps as low as 1 and as high as 44.
Monthly Medals and Stableford competitions
Each month there are two, week long competitions - the MEDAL and the STABLEFORD. These are used to adjust your handicap, either up or down depending on how well you performed. You can play when you like and you only get one go per event. You must inform us before you start your round that you are going to play your round as your competition entry. You must be accompanied by another golfer to verify your score and hand your scorecard in after your round.
Played during the first week on the month, Medal is the easier competition to grasp. Simply play 9 holes, add all your scores up and hand your card in.
Clearly mark on which hole you started and your full name. You can have all the team scores on the one card, but you must have someone with you to confirm your scores.
We deduct your current handicap from your total score giving you a net score. Par for the course is 29, so a net score between 29 and 33 maintains your handicap and is shown on the results as no change. If you beat 29 your handicap is lowered and if you're over 33 your handicap increases by 1.
Played during the third week of the month, Sableford is a method of scoring that equates the handicap of the player with the level of difficulty of the hole, known as the hole's STROKE INDEX (SI).
The handicap is apportioned to each hole in the order of SI difficulty, thereby raising the par (or number of strokes to compete the hole) as expected at professional level and allowing for varying player skills and experience.
For example, a player with a handicap of 24 on a 9 hole course receives 2 extra shots on each of the 9 holes, using 18 of the 24 handicap shots. The remaining 6 handicap shots are allocated to holes with SI 1-6, therefore on these harder 6 holes you have 3 extra shots.
Scores are then equated with performance in-line with the individual's par, rather than the professional. Scores are awarded as follows:
Two or more over par = 0 points
One over par = 1 point
Equal to par = 2 points
One under par = 3 points
Two under par = 4 points
Three under par = 5 points
With the ebb and flow of golf, no one ever sores two points on every hole. It is hoped that the sum of all your efforts gets you to 18 points, which is your par and in effect your target when you set out.
If you score more than 18 points you have beaten your handicap and in a competition your handicap will be lowered, setting you a slightly more challenging target next time. If you have score 14-18 points you have scored in your buffer zone and your handicap remains the same. Less than 14 points and your handicap increases by 1.
How we reduce your handicap
The Winter Eclectic (Oct-Mar) and The Race to Stowmarket (Apr-Sep)
These two events run behind the Medals and Stablefords. You don't have to do anything, we manage the scores and all you need to do is have a look at the results to see where you are. Both competitions reward consistent play and regular attendance.
The Winter Eclectic
We collect your best individual hole scores throughout the winter months and deduct 50% of your lowest handicap during that time. The leader board runs throughout but whoever has the best net score at the end of April wins a solid 100% plastic trophy and the respect of us all!
The Race to Stowmarket
We draw up a league table after each event and you are awarded 1 point for each golfer you have out scored after your handicap has been taken into account. The person with the most points at the end of September is the winner.
Ladies vs Seniors
This match has been running for 5 years and is great fun. In the spring, 18 ladies take on 18 seniors with the seniors choosing the game and the style of the day. The score is then carried on to autumn and for the return leg and the score are added together to crown our winning team.
A weekend version called Boys vs Girls is played too, along the same lines. Each match is played over 18 holes with sign up sheets to put your name on and a meal afterwards.
Bill Miller match play
Match play is a great form of the game. You play directly against another person, with the higher handicapper receiving 3/4 of the difference in handicaps. You then use those shots agains the stoke index. Whoever is in the lead at the end of the round wins the match and goes through to the next round. There is a mens and a ladies draw.
One off events such as the Club Championship, Presidents Mixed Pairs, Christmas Charity (played in July!) and Bonfire Night Golf, are all the majors and are keenly contested.