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Golfing Union of Ireland

How do I get a Handicap?

How do I obtain a GUI Handicap ?
In order to be allocated a GUI Handicap you must first be a member of a golf club which is affiliated to the GUI. The golf club will then allocate you a handicap according to the requirements of CONGU® Unified Handicapping System Version 2012-2015.

Can I get a GUI Handicap without being a member of an affilated golf club?
No. 

I'm in a golf society, can I get an official GUI Handicap from the society?
No.

I have an official GUI handicap, and I play in a society where some members have a society handicap. What should I do?
You must play off your current official handicap at all times. A golf society does not have the authority to reduce or increase an official handicap. Some societies operate a +/- points system after official scores have been finalised to determine prize winners. This varies from society to soceity.

What are the requirements for obtaining a GUI Handicap ?
Having satisfied the requirements for membership of a Club, GUI requires that to get a handicap a player must submit cards from 54 holes of golf, marked by a person approved by the Club. The rounds must be played at that Club over a measured course and may consist of any mix of 9 hole or 18 hole cards, though the preference is for 3 x 18 hole scores. The Club will then adjust the returned scores, so that a lady never records more than 3 over par and a man never more than 2 over par on any individual hole. The cards are then assessed and the club allocates a GUI handicap based on the amount the lowest score returned exceeds the Standard Scratch Score of the course played (after taking into account other factors it considers relevant).

When the club considers it appropriate to the player's ability, a lower  handicap than that indicated by the scores may be allocated; particularly where the player has previously held an approved handicap. In exceptional circumstances a club may allocate a higher handicap than indicated by the scores returned. Once the Club has allocated a handicap to a player, it becomes the player's Home Club for handicap purposes and it is responsible for administering and maintaining that  Handicap fully in accordance with the requirements of the System.

Although not specifically required by the System the Club may require the player to demonstrate a knowledge of the Rules of Golf and the etiquette of the game before allocating a handicap.

What is the maximum CONGU® Handicap that can be awarded ?
The maximum GUI handicap allowed under the System is an exact handicap of 28.0. These equate to a playing handicap of 28 shots for men. Even where the cards submitted for handicap allocation do not justify a handicap of 28  the Club may, at its discretion award a  handicap to the player. However the Club has the absolute discretion to refuse to allocate a  handicap should it consider the player has not attained a suitable standard.

The System suggests that clubs adopt an extended handicap range for junior golfers, up to 54, but once they have reached a standard that would justify a 36 handicap (girls) and 28 (boys) they should be handicapped in the same way as all other players. Until the junior reaches the required standard required to gain a GUI handicap the player's handicap is restricted to play within the Club.

What is the significance of a CONGU® Handicap ?
A GUI Handicap is recognised by all Golfing Unions and Associations throughout the world as indicative of the standard of play of the player presenting it. This recognition only comes as a result of consistency and uniformity of application by each and every club authorised to maintain and manage CONGU® handicaps by the seven National Unions / Associations that comprise the Council.

Up until comparatively recently the first questions asked of someone who professed to playing golf were 'Where do you play?' and 'What is your handicap'. It was always taken for granted that one went with the other, and the answer to the latter gave the questioner a reasonable idea of the person's competence as a golfer. It was assumed that 'I play golf' meant you were a member of a club and that club had given you a handicap. However over recent years the game has become more popular and it now usual for most established clubs to require some indication of visiting players' competence – usually in the form of a 'Handicap Certificate'.

A 'market' in golf handicaps has grown up to satisfy the demand for players who are not members of golf clubs to have handicaps that, on the surface, mean that their standard of play is related to the handicap they have been given.

This is why the Council of National Golf Unions has trademarked the acronym CONGU® in respect of establishing, calculating and maintaining golf handicaps. All CONGU® Handicaps are regulated under strictly controlled conditions; conditions that ensure uniformity and accuracy (as far as golf handicaps can be accurate) are maintained. Further, only Clubs and Organisations affiliated to one of the seven National Unions or Associations that govern amateur golf in Great Britain and Ireland (and other approved overseas Organisations) are allowed to issue and maintain CONGU® handicaps. All affiliated clubs have to regulate handicaps strictly according to tightly specified conditions and are accountable for the way in which they impose the conditions under which handicap competitions are run. All this ensures that CONGU® handicaps reflect, as accurately as possible, the playing standard of the individual golfer at any one time.