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Managing the Handicap System

Active Management of Handicaps

Although the Handicap System is described as automatic, it requires active management and occasional manual intervention. Its accuracy relies upon the correct recording of all competitive games by every player. Appropriate initial handicaps must be set and records kept. Handicappers are appointed at Club, Federation and CA level to manage the system.

Non-Automatic Changes to Handicaps

Handicappers may correct an inappropriate handicap within the constraints set out below. This may be because the player is a rapid improver or perhaps the handicap was incorrectly set in the first case.

The Handicapper should always ensure there is a genuine need before they take any action. If a player's handicap card contains a reasonable number of recent games, these should be considered and weighed against a direct viewing of their performance. However, when there is little evidence on the handicap card, a Handicapper may have to make a decision based purely on witnessing actual handicap play. Changes must be based on match results and never on the assessment of mallet skills alone. In GC, the way a player uses extra turns can alter the correct handicap by as much as three steps, especially in the higher handicap range. And similarly in AC, tactics and temperament can both influence overall performance as much as mallet skills - the right handicap reflects all these aspects.

Non-Automatic Changes in handicap may only be made by an officially appointed Handicapper, within constraints depending on the grade of the Handicapper as shown in the table below. In all cases, changes take effect in the player's next game.

  AC GC

Club Handicapper may change the handicap of their own club members only.

Below 8: no changes to be made.

8-12: changes of a minimum of 3 steps may be made, on the evidence of 10+ games.

Above 12: changes of any appropriate size may be made.

Below 3: no changes to be made.

3-12: changes of a minimum of 2 steps may be made.

Above 12: changes of any appropriate size may be made.

Federation Handicapper may change the handicap of any member of their own Federation or any player in their own Federation's events.

Below 8: no changes to be made.

8-12: changes of a minimum of 3 steps may be made, on the evidence of 10+ games.

Above 12: changes of any appropriate size may be made.

Below 3: no changes to be made.

3-12: changes of a minimum of 2 steps may be made.

Above 12: changes of any appropriate size may be made.

CA Handicapper may change a handicap at any time, and during any event.

May make changes to handicaps 0 and above.

From 0 to 12: normally a minimum of 3 steps.

Above 12: changes of any appropriate size may be made.

 

May make changes to handicaps 0 and above.

From 0 to 12: normally a minimum of 2 steps.

Above 12: changes of any appropriate size may be made.

When a change is made, the new handicap and index must be entered on the front of the player's card and be validated with a date and clearly readable name.

Club Handicappers

All clubs should appoint a member as their Club Handicapper, who will act as the primary contact for all handicap matters. They might choose to appoint separate Club Handicappers for AC and GC or one covering both codes. All handicapping information sent out to Club Secretaries by the CA or Federations should be passed to the Club Handicapper. The name and contact details of the Club Handicapper should be recorded on the Federation and CA websites (the latter by notifying the CA Office).

Duties of the Club Handicapper

  • Ensure that any player from their club who plays in an event outside that club has a current handicap and a validated handicap card that they understand how to use.
  • Ensure a handicap list for all club members exists and is updated as automatic or manual changes occur.
  • Authenticate new cards or changes outside the automatic system, clearly printing their name.
  • Check all club handicap cards prior to each season.
  • Monitor players after they have had an initial handicap set. Review after 2 months or 10 recorded games; being prepared to make changes if necessary.
  • Actively encourage the regular use of handicap cards.

The role of the Club Handicapper can be seen as ensuring the whole system works as intended. See Guidelines for Club Handicappers for more details.

The CA Directory lists Club Handicappers (AC) and Club Handicappers (GC).

Authentication of Handicap Cards

Regular tournament players will have a long recorded history of results, which gives substance to their current handicap, but players just starting to play in league matches and tournaments may have little recorded history to back up their handicap. It is the duty of the Club Handicapper to see the player's card is completed correctly and authenticated - this provides traceability should there be any problems or queries over their handicap.

Generally, a handicap card with at least ten recorded games in one season will allow the handicap and index to be carried over into the following season. But where there are fewer than ten games recorded, the Club Handicapper should consider the results carefully and decide whether to authorise or adjust the handicap for the start of the next season. This is a key goal of the annual review of all handicap cards in the club.

Federation Handicappers

Federations should appoint a Federation Handicapper to coordinate handicap matters across their region. The Federation Handicapper typically will have several years of playing experience and a good understanding of handicapping. The appointed Federation Handicapper and their contact details should be listed on the Federation's website.

Federation Handicapper should help less experienced Club Handicappers to set or improve handicap standards in the smaller clubs and to establish the handicap system in new clubs. Proactive intervention is encouraged where they find any issues with, or disquiet over, handicaps within their Federation.

CA Handicappers

The CA Handicap Committee from time to time appoints CA Handicappers from the ranks of members regularly playing country-wide and who are in the best position to ensure that consistent standards are maintained. Those appointed as CA Handicappers will also be active within their own Federation areas and may serve as Federation Handicappers. The CA Directory lists CA Handicappers (GC) and CA Handicappers (AC).

Appeals

A Club Handicapper may not overrule a change made by a senior handicapper (CA or Federation Handicapper). However, if they believe the change is in error, the Club Handicapper should discuss the case with the senior handicapper and attempt to convince them to rescind or alter the change.

Appeals by players from handicap changes made by authorised handicappers may be made to the Handicap Committee or under the Tournament Regulations. Such appeals will only be successful if the appellant can prove that either:

  • these Guidelines and Procedures have not been followed; or
  • no handicapper acting reasonably could have made the decision that the handicapper made.

Appeals against a decision of a Club or Federation Handicapper may be made to a CA Handicapper who is local to the player concerned.

For appeals against a decision of a CA Handicapper, the Chairman of the Handicap Committee shall nominate three members of the Handicap Committee, which may include the Chairman of the Handicap Committee, who shall hear the appeal.

There is no appeal from an automatic handicap change.

 

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