Clubs in limbo as confusion mars World Handicap System rollout in Kenya

  • February 15, 2021
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The much celebrated launch of the World Handicap System, WHS, in Kenya has come a cropper as no single club has managed to switch to the system, two days since it was inaugurated.

A spot check by T-OFF News found out that whereas a few clubs have received the provisional data supplied by Club Systems International- Kenya Golf Union’s software partners- the data is largely incomplete rendering it inoperative.

Having missed the implementation timelines on three occasions, KGU had worked round the clock to have the WHS rolled out by clubs from 12th February, to ensure golfers in Kenya have globally portable handicap indices in line with the new world handicapping regiment.

Going by the back and forth between KGU and clubs in the last two days, golfers may have to wait a little longer before switching to the new order.

“Though we received some data on Friday from KGU, we just can’t do anything with it. In fact, most members names are missing while in some cases there was no corresponding Handicap Index. There’s no separation of handicaps based on gender as all the information has been lumped together. Simply put, it has a lot of errors,” observed a golf administrator who requested anonymity.

It is this state of affairs that saw KGU release a memo on Saturday, calling for patience as the Union promised to address the “teething problems”. In the memo, clubs were advised to continue using the last-known CONGU handicaps in line with the freeze guidelines issued on January 15th 2021.

“It is not that the system is faulty. It fully working and we actually tested it before rolling out to clubs. Indeed, we have received several complaints and we proceeded to hold a meeting with the R&A and Club Systems International today to trouble shoot. We have identified a few gaps and they are being addressed,” said Vincent Wang’ombe, chairman of the Kenya Unified Handicapping and Course Rating Committee.  

Wang’ombe blamed the hitch on a hiccup in the synchronization of data between the WHS and Club Systems International portals saying all the errors will be fixed by mid this week.  He also apportioned blame on missing records on the way some clubs had stored their data.

Inaccuracies aside, some clubs are yet to receive the provisional data from KGU but remain optimistic that they will be on the migration bandwagon in due course.

Golf Administrators are now expressing concerns over the ever-growing backlog. Upon receiving provisional Handicap Index data, clubs are mandated to upload all the scorecards for competitions held during the handicap freeze period before assigning each player their specific Handicap Index.

“This is really going to be a tough exercise. We hold on average three to four competitions per week. Granted that it is now over one month since handicaps were frozen, the updating exercise will take quite some time thus delaying the roll out by several days,” another golf administrator opined.  

KGU is however optimistic that all clubs will be on WHS by the end of this week. “We expect golf administrators to commence processing data from tomorrow. All clubs must have handicap convenors who will be responsible for maintaining proper records,” he said.

KGU has in the meantime advised golfers to download the “HowDidIdo” app that will be used to update a player’s score after every round of golf.

WHS was launched in January 2020 in USA, South Africa and several countries in Europe and was initially scheduled to be launched in Kenya in September 2020.

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