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Golf Australia Express : February 2014
W E ALL know a bandit. They might not have been handcuffed and hauled before a judge, but in golfing circles they’re tantamount to someone breaking into your house and pinching your TV. But now someone’s finally changed the locks. Golf Australia to be exact. No longer will trophy hunters be able to blow in with a handicap inflated at their difficult home track and clean up at competition days and charity events at your more humble local layout. Under a new Golf Australia system introduced in late January, your handicap will now be adjusted based on the difficulty of the course you’re playing on any particular day. It’s all about something called “slope” ratings, which indicate how badly a course is going to take you to school and then adjusts your handicap accordingly. The easiest of easy courses? A slope rating of 55. A ball-eating monster? 155. An average course will be somewhere around 113 and will leave your handicap precisely where it is. Golf Australia chairman John Hopkins said the new system had been “purpose-built for Australian golf”. “(It) has been designed around the feedback of Australian clubs,” he said. Those same clubs can now sleep easy in the knowledge that the most deserving person will win their competitions at events and golf days. Most of the time, at least. Clear as mud? This might explain it a little better: Imagine for a moment that you’re a member at Queensland’s Gayndah Golf Club, which for the blokes has a slope rating of 100. You’re also an 18 handicapper who wants to test yourself on Victoria’s best courses, so you head south and wind up on the black tees at Moonah Links' Open Course. As one of the hardest tracks going around, it has a slope rating of 144. 'Good luck' playing to your handicap there, right? But now, using the Golf Australia formula — (Golf Australia handicap multiplied by slope rating divided by the feature IT’S ALL ABOUT SOMETHING CALLED “SLOPE” RATINGS, WHICH INDICATE HOW BADLY A COURSE IS GOING TO TAKE YOU TO SCHOOL AND THEN ADJUSTS YOUR HANDICAP ACCORDINGLY.