Handicapping New Junior Players
It is important that juniors get used to having a handicap early in their golfing life. CONGU® recognised this and incorporated a recommended system for handicapping juniors before they were capable of playing to the maximum handicap allowed (either 28 for boys or 36 for girls). This is contained in Appendix J of the UHS, and is detailed below.
However once the junior is considered to have the ability to play to the maximum allowable CONGU® Handicap it is necessary to give them an official Handicap.
Handicapping Juniors with Full CONGU® Handicaps
Again it is important that the handicaps of juniors with the ability to justify a full CONGU®Handicap are administered on the same lines asany other member of the club.
The Right Way:
- Give juniors ample opportunities to play in Qualifying Competitions over the same measured courses (with an SSS)as the rest of the club;
- Calculate a CSS for these competitions;
- Make sure that the Competitions are organised and supervised correctly;
- Only use appropriate General Play adjustments (see below).
The Wrong Way:
- Organise junior competitions over courses without an SSS;
- Not calculating a CSS for junior competitions and then have to rely on applying General Play provisions to adjust handicaps
- Only apply reductions to junior Handicaps, never increases. It is very important in the development of a player to get them to realise that whilst their handicap goes down after a good round it goes up after a bad one;
- Rely on the club official responsible for juniors to make all handicap changes as he sees fit
As with all other parts of the handicapping process the importance of working, and adhering, to the principles of the UHS cannot be over-emphasised. Having Handicaps that are related to ability in exactly the same way as they are at other clubs is just as important for Juniors as it is for other playing members.
Use of General Play (Clause 19) for Juniors
It is probable that, particularly during Holiday periods, Juniors will improve and it is important that clubs organise as many competitions for Juniors as possible. Clubs should not be tempted to over-apply General Play and when they do the principles and justifications for adjustment must be the same as for the rest of the members.However tempting it may be to apply swingeing cuts, care must be exercised not to over-apply the reductions. It is extremely important to understand that giving a Junior too low a handicap may lead to pressures on them (either self-applied or by peer pressure) to produce scores they simply not capable of returning. These pressures in their turn can lead to problems with players, only one of which is a reluctance to put in, or report, 'bad' scores that will make the handicap go up.
HANDICAPPING JUNIORS BEFORE THEIR ABILITY WARRANTS A FULL CONGU® HANDICAP
Appendix J of the UHS
The Council of National Golf Unions recommends the following procedures for allotting and adjusting handicaps for Juniors
1. Obtaining a Handicap
1.1 To obtain a handicap a junior shall submit three cards at his Home Club (preferably over a Measured Course ) each of which shall be signed by a person acceptable to the Club Committee.
1.2 Any score more than 2  over par at any hole shall be amended to 2  over par. (The maximum reduction under this clause shall be 6 strokes per round.)
1.3 After these reductions have been made an Exact Handicap shall be allotted equivalent to the number of strokes by which the best of the submitted rounds differs from the SSS of the course.
1.4 Juniors justifying a handicap of 28  or less shall have their handicap controlled and adjusted in accordance with the stipulations contained in the current CONGU® Unified Handicapping System.
1.5 Handicaps in the range 29 to 54 [37 to 54] may be allotted as Club Handicaps to those juniors not capable of playing to a handicap of 28  or less.
Note: At the discretion of the Home Club it is permissible for Club Handicaps, in the range of 29 to 54 [37 to 54], to be allotted to juniors submitting cards over 6 or 9 holes, such cards to be adjusted to an 18 hole score, e.g. a junior with a 'best of three' score of 60, adjusted in accordance with paragraph 1.2, over 9 holes on a course with a par of 35 would receive a handicap of (60 x 2) – (35 x 2) = 50. It is recommended that this concession should only be applied to juniors of 14 years or younger.
2. Alterations to Handicaps
Juniors with a handicap of 28  or less shall have their handicap adjusted in accordance with clause 16 of the CONGU® Unified Handicapping System, otherwise:
2.2. Returns of 1 - 6 strokes below the SSS will result in handicap reductions of 0.5 of a stroke for each stroke below the SSS.
2.3. Each additional stroke below the SSS will result in a further reduction of handicap of 1 stroke,
e.g. A junior with a Club Handicap of 42 returning a nett score of 64 over a course with an SSS of 72 will be reduced as follows: 42 – (6 x 0.5) – (2 x 1) = 37
2.4. No CSS shall be calculated, Buffer Zones do not apply and handicaps shall not be increased other than in exceptional circumstances under clause 19.
2.5 When a junior's handicap is to be reduced so that it goes from a Club Handicap to a CONGU® Handicap, it shall be reduced at the rate appropriate to the higher category only as far as brings his handicap down into the lower category. The balance of the reduction shall be appropriate to the lower category,
e.g. a junior boy with a Club Handicap of 30 returning a nett score of 64 over a course with an SSS of 70 shall be reduced as follows:
30 – (4 x 0.5) – (2 x 0.4) = 27.2 [a junior girl with a Club Handicap of 40 returning a nett score of 64 over a course with an SSS of 73 shall be reduced as follows:
40 – (6 x 0.5) – (1 x 1) – (2 x 0.5) = 35] (Such a junior, having attained a CONGU® Handicap, will subsequently have his handicap adjusted under paragraph 2.1.)
3.1 All junior Qualifying Competitions involving competitors with a handicap of 28  or less shall be played off a Measured Course with an official SSS .
3.2 The scores of competitors playing from a Club Handicap shall be excluded from any CSS calculation.
In the event of a majority of juniors competing with Club Handicaps, it may not be practicable to play off a Measured Course , in which case those with CONGU® Handicaps may only be adjusted under the terms of clause 19.
Alternatively, if mixed handicaps, i.e. CONGU® and Club are competing, separate Divisions may be run, CONGU® Handicap juniors playing off a Measured Course , Club Handicap juniors playing off tees deemed by the Club to be appropriate to their age and standard.