Handicap Guidelines: Setting Initial Handicaps
For a Beginner
A Handicapper will have to watch the player play a number of games and ask himself how many bisques the player needs to win half his games against opponents he is likely to play.
The following test may be used, as guidance for the Handicapper. The Handicapper should set the hoops on a court according to the Tournament Regulations. The balls should be placed on court as if the standard opening had been played and the tice missed on the fourth turn. Thus, two partner balls should be placed about three yards apart on the East boundary near hoop 4. One of the other balls should be placed in the tice position near hoop 1 on the West boundary and the final ball should be placed in corner II.
The player whose handicap is being assessed should then construct and play a four-ball break to peg, finishing with a tidy leave. Each attempt should be continued to the peg even if disaster strikes along the way.
The total number of bisques used to complete this exercise should be noted and the exercise should be repeated about 5 times. The Handicapper may disregard the first two attempts if he considers that the player performed poorly due to lack of familiarity with the exercise.
To calculate the player's handicap the Handicapper averages the number of bisques taken to complete the exercise and then subtracts one bisque. The result is then multiplied by two and rounded to the nearest integer to give the appropriate handicap for the player.
In All Other Cases
A Handicapper will have to watch the player play a number of games and ask himself how many bisques the player needs to win half his games.
If the Handicapper is considering setting a handicap of over 8, he should ask the player to complete the above test. However, he should not adhere religiously to the test result, but should also consider factors including the player's tactical awareness and ability to hit long roquets.
A player returning to the sport after a break of some years should play off their previous handicap unless there are valid and compelling reasons (e.g. medical) to alter their handicap. If there are, and their handicap is to be changed, then a CA and club handicapper must jointly determine the new handicap.