Golfers in Kenya should brace themselves for new handicaps as the Council of National Golf Unions, CONGU, system paves way for the World Handicap System, WHS, later this month.
After missing last year’s global migration deadline to WHS, the Kenya Unified Handicapping and Course Rating Committee is optimistic that the migration to the new system will be realized successfully, allowing golfers in Kenya a seamless experience when playing on any course across the globe. The delay to switch to WHS had started causing anxiety in the golf fraternity, as CONGU handicapping is now outmoded in most jurisdictions.
“The course rating process took longer than we expected mainly due to access issues occasioned by Coronavirus hiatus. We have rated more than 95% of the courses so the exercise will be concluded by early next week,” committee chairman Vincent Wang’ombe disclosed.
Course rating headaches aside, data collation has also proved to be a challenge as it is critical to the successful migration to WHS. The Kenya Golf Union has hired UK-based Club Systems International to provide the software for implementation of WHS. Wang’ombe said Kenya would have implemented WHS earlier if the country had adopted a partial rollout with select-clubs but opted to have all the 36 clubs on board for parity.
“We have asked all clubs to provide the requisite data by 15th of January. The process is running smoothly though we have had a few challenges with some clubs. We want to have a smooth transition, to avoid the mistakes the country made when we moved to the CONGU system,” Wang’ombe said.
Consequently clubs have been directed to stop the current CONGU handicapping for all competitions that will be held after 15th of January to enable Club Systems International to process the data sets ahead of the planned WHS roll out.
“All scorecards must be input into the club systems by Thursday 14th January. There will be no changes in handicap during the two weeks period. Scores of all competitions that are held between 15th to 31st January will be put in the new WHS when it is operationalized from the 1st of February,” he said.
WHS was launched in January 2020 to provide golfers with a “unified and more inclusive” handicapping system, unifying six handicapping systems. Developed by The R&A and USGA, it provides golfers a Handicap Index, which is a measure of their ability, and a Course Handicap which reflects the difficulty of the golf course being played. The player Handicap Index is calculated based on the average of the best eight rounds from the most recent 20 submitted rounds of golf. It has a maximum handicap limit of 54.0, regardless of gender.