Season is almost upon us

Stonehaven Golf Club
Stonehaven Golf Club

Greetings baw bashers ... I have a rant coming up but I trust it will be seen in the light its intended ... Inclusive and non-elitist.

Great to see the season is almost upon us and we can fill our Saturdays, Sundays (and Wednesdays) with frustration and handicap angst once more.

Each year we look to the coming season with high expectation ... we say to ourselves

‘’this will be our year’’

‘’This season I will get down to single figures’’

‘’This season I’ll go for lessons and REALLY get after my golf’’

A bit like the new year we make resolutions that by the end of the first few weeks have been confined to the bin and we hack on free of the distraction of lessons, heeding good advice or cleaning our mouldy golf shoes and mud caked clubs

Well this season will be different and its all thanks to our beloved SGU to whom we pay personal fees for their wisdom and administrative wonderfulness. Scottish Golf Union is the governing body for handicapping in Scotland. The latest revisions to the handicapping system have been announced by CONGU, effective from January 1, 2016.

Progress is upon us. We have to be aware that for some 28 is not an adequate handicap to allow everyone to play (last time I looked a stout pair of shoes, a bag of clubs and the will to walk 18 holes unaided was plenty). Going forward we have to make changes to ensure our clubs continue to attract new golfers and members to our ranks. The days of 10 year waiting lists have gone. Its time for a shake-up

The changes include:

Nine holes: It will be possible to put in Supplementary Scores over nine holes for handicaps.

Continuous Handicap Review: The introduction of a process to flag players with seven consecutive 0.1 handicap increases so that Handicap Committees can review and apply an immediate handicap increase if required.

Four Ball Better Ball Handicap Allowance: In both stroke play and match play the back marker will concede strokes to the other three players based on 90% of the difference between the full handicaps rather than 75% (3/4) as at present.

Club handicaps: A new ‘Club Handicap’ of up to 54 will be introduced for adults as well as juniors. Handicaps higher than 28/36 will only be valid at the player’s home club for use in club-run events and cannot be used in opens etc.

Reinstatement of Handicap Status: The reinstatement of a competition status handicap requires a player to submit three qualifying scores, which could be 18-hole competitions, 9-hole competitions or Supplementary Scores both at home and/or away. Or as we used to call them ‘Fun games’

So in summary, as I said last week Nostalgia is a thing of the past .. Lets look forward to new horizons

Some omissions I think would be worth also adding and may help are references to behaviour, rules knowledge and really embracing your club as a ‘club’:

I’m not saying don’t play until you have learned the rules but do make a conscious effort to expand your knowledge as your game improves

Make good etiquette your ‘watchword’ not only will this ingratiate yourself to your partners but it will absolutely enhance your status as a ‘good-egg’

Learn that the club-house is not just a place you sign in and leave. There are others in the club who would like to get to know you and add you to their playing circles. Stonehaven is a fantastic friendly club ... make the most of your membership and the opportunities it offers you.

And for all my fellow current members, lets embrace new folks to the game, help them settle in, make them feel welcome and part of something worth being a member of.

All of the above will be pushed by R&A because clubs like Stoney will need every scrap of income to ensure they are still around the next 20 years.

We get a lot of things right at Stonehaven but we have a long long way to go.

My good friend and namesake told me this past Saturday his wife had read ‘The Scurrie Tweeters’ piece and casually asked ‘’What idiot writes this?...Ill tell you...Scurrie Tweeter...a proud Stoney Member.

This weekend saw some fine weather and this was reflected in the turnout as well as some remarkable scoring.

The leading scratch doubles scorers were: A Russon/K Douglas (63), R McAllan/ITaylor and S Dempster/B McGillivray ( both 64), N Irvine/ H Roulston and C Arthur/A Officer (both 65)

Handicap doubles leading scorers were: N MacArthur/D Henderson (57), A Barnett /T Simpson (58), M Halliday/S Campbell and M McCoy/C Polson (both 59)

Singles Points: S McGhie & G Forrester (both 42), J Nowak & C Nicoll (both 39), W Chalmers, M Ritchie & D Gordon (all 38)

With only two more weeks of qualifying to go, competition is sure to be fierce.

Members are reminded that subscriptions were due by March 1. Remember to book your table at this Sunday’s Mother Day carvery (March 6).