Captain’s Blog – 30 October

Hello Shirland Golfers

Start of a new era as the World Handicap System (WHS) comes into effect after this weekend. From Monday we can all forget about our “Handicaps” and start focusing on our “Handicap Indexes”. For a few weeks I’ve been agonising over how to get my head around the new system, but I think I’m just about there now, and the outcome turned out to be a bit of an anti-climax.

So, my Handicap currently sits at 15.9 (16).

I’ve registered with England Golf and found that my Handicap Index is 14.8 (Sounds like progress). But wait…

We have a tougher than average course. (I think we’ve known that for a good few years.) Our Slope Index is 128 (off Yellow) so to find my playing handicap I need to do the following calculation 128/113 x 14.8 to give me 16.8 (17). But in a competition, there’s a 5% reduction, so my competition handicap round Shirland will be 17 x 0.95 = 16.15 (16). Well, it was fun getting there. 😊

Thankfully, we now have a quick conversion chart that takes the most complicated calculations away. The key seems to be, that we should not worry about the complex maths, but we should (as we always have) focus on ensuring that we write down our gross scores correctly (and those of our opponents, of course). You can make as many errors calculating your playing handicap and net scores as you like, as it’s the gross scores for each of the 18 holes played that matters, and that is what you are signing for. If there are errors elsewhere, they will be corrected by the IT system when the results are entered. Though no-doubt we will all want to know where we stand in terms of points/net scores of course.

A tip for you…… Ever wondered why the marker’s score is in a column down the left side of the card? Well, in case you haven’t seen this before, the idea is that you can easily place the marker’s card alongside the column containing their score on the opponent’s card, to quickly and easily check that the 18 gross scores are identical. (No maths required).  Get this wrong and you will be signing for an incorrect card, so worth remembering.

There are various resources on the web, aimed at clarifying the WHS. If you’ve not seen the series of short videos published this week by HOWDIDIDO, they’re worth a watch. Certainly, better than England Golf’s cartoon strip. I found the Q&A video (Part 6) particularly valuable.

I’m otherwise engaged this weekend, so won’t be down at the course, but do enjoy your final rounds with ye olde-school handicaps.


I am pleased to say that I have had some response to the invitation to become my Vice-Captain for 2021 and will take the process forward after next weekend’s closing date for applications. I’ll not be announcing details of any candidates, but will let everyone know once the final selection has been made. If you’re still thinking about applying you have until 6th November to contact me directly.

I’d like to give further thanks to current Vice-Captain John Baker for committing to organise the schedule for the 2021 season, with the Vice-Captains at those clubs that we aim to play against each year, before he hands over the reins to his successor. This should make the transition easier for all concerned. Cheers John.


With the ever-changing infection landscape, things are getting tougher for everyone again. Our friends in Nottinghamshire have moved into Tier 3 and Derbyshire has moved into Tier 2. The direction of travel currently is not great, but we can only hope that, if we all keep doing our best to protect ourselves and those around us, we’ll come through this in good shape. Please continue to respect the measures that have been implemented at Shirland, in line with HM Government and England Golf directions, including social distancing, mask wearing in indoor areas, maximum occupancy levels and sanitisation. We’ve come this far by working together, and together we’ll get through this.

On a lighter note, this week’s golfing quotes (Sticking with the theme of “slow play”):

If the players behind you are (a) doing handstands, (b) watching a portable television, or (c) sitting down on fold-up chairs reading Russian novels, it’s probably a good idea to let them play through. – Dennis Quaid

To be clear: These are not the first signs that you should be looking for when considering whether the group behind should be allowed to play through – Mr Captain

Golf is a game in which the slowest people in the world are in front of you, and the fastest ones are behind. – Kevin McCarthy

Happy golfing

Mr Captain