Handicap Administration -

 Swango80 ·  
Swango80Swango80 Members  15WRX Points: 7Posts: 15 Bunkers
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Hello there. I'm from UK, but interested to know how handicaps are administered by handicap secretaries in the USA.

I understand that virtually all types of golf count for handicap, competitive or non-competitive. Therefore, many players will enter scores for their social rounds of golf. I imagine that, at any particular golf club, this could potentially lead to hundreds of scores being entered per week?

I'm wondering how handicap secretaries keep on top of this, questions such as:

Must every player submit a scorecard for their round? If so, I imagine that will be a lot of work for a handicap secretary to tie these up with scores, make corrections and chase missing cards?

If no scorecards are required, are the validity of the scores simply accepted (i.e. trust that players are not manipulating their handicap, or simply making stupid mistakes when entering their scores?)

Do you get any issues, such as a player enters a score one day, plays off a higher handicap for the competition a day or so after (and maybe wins), only to find out later that there is no scorecard for the first round, and other players complain that the player has been less than honest? If this does happen, is it reasonably common, or just a very rare occurance.

I'm very interested, as we in the UK are about to move over to WHS and it looks like we'll be going the same way. Currently, a players handicap will never change unless either a competition is closed by a Committee member (and therefore their score verified), or a social round submission is verified by handicap sec, or if handicap sec changes their handicap on review. In other words, a player cannot manipulate their handicap, or make mistakes in score inputs, as their handicap will only ever change once committee accepted their score. But, it seems that won't be the case anymore once WHS comes in this November for us.

Cheers

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  • Swango80Swango80 Members  15WRX Points: 7Posts: 15 Bunkers
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    Cheers Roadking.

    My instinct is I would like to keep the scorecard submissions, that is what we are used to and ties up the score with a card. However, from an admin point of view, I can imagine it would be a tough job for a handicap secretary to start tying up potentially hundreds of cards a week with scores that have been entered by players

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  • rogolfrogolf Members  4306WRX Points: 564Posts: 4,306 Titanium Tees
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    See the first bullet in Roadking's post. While I might play 80 rounds per year (no formal competitions) and enter 75 of those rounds for handicap purposes, I do not submit any scorecards to anyone, let alone a handicap person, nor do I retain any of them (unless my score contains something special). The scorecard for our group(s) is usually left on the table in the 19th hole and discarded. And I don't think that I'm atypical.

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  • Swango80Swango80 Members  15WRX Points: 7Posts: 15 Bunkers
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    Cheers Roadking.

    My instinct is I would like to keep the scorecard submissions, that is what we are used to and ties up the score with a card. However, from an admin point of view, I can imagine it would be a tough job for a handicap secretary to start tying up potentially hundreds of cards a week with scores that have been entered by players, checking these, and which would inevitably require chasing players who hadn't submitted a card or made a mistake in their score entry.

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  • davep043davep043 Members  4881WRX Points: 2,105Handicap: 6.3Posts: 4,881 Titanium Tees
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    IT is enough of a task merely to verify that each score that was required to be posted actually IS posted, let alone double-check the scores. At my home club, the professional staff generally enter all scores from competitions, but other (casual) scores are entered by the individual players. Peer review consists of individuals checking the scores posted by their playing companions, and that isn't done consistently by all players. Prior to the WHS, USGA Handicap Rules did not allow a Handicap Committee to require submission of scorecards on a routine basis, but that prohibition is not included in the WHS rules. Because of the way the system is structured in the USGA areas, there are definitely more allegations of handicap manipulation than in more strictly regulated systems, but in my experience at my home club, true handicap manipulation is relatively rare..

    For you, there is no reason, nor is there anything in the WHS, to eliminate the requirement to submit scorecards. I believe, based on what I've read in some other threads here, that the scores that will be accepted for handicap in the UK will remain pretty much the same as they were previously.

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    Home is Reston, Virgina, with regular visits to Southern Pines, NC

  • Colin LColin L Members  2428WRX Points: 387Handicap: 16.5Posts: 2,428 Platinum Tees
    Joined:  edited Feb 24, 2020 3:37pm #6

    @Swango80

    To begin with, at least, you don't need to worry about an increased administrative workload. As now, players will enter their competition scores in a terminal and return their cards in whatever way required. I anticipate, if anything, a reduction in the work as I expect members will be able to pre-register electronically and enter their scores themselves. I don 't know at the moment if there will be any requirement to keep general play score cards but rather hope not. If there is a choice for the club, I for one will be advocating a wholly electronic system.

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  • Swango80Swango80 Members  15WRX Points: 7Posts: 15 Bunkers
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    Hi Colin. In the UK (I realise you are from UK), at the moment players can enter their scores electronically. BUT, they need to submit their cards and their score only impacts their handicap once the handicap secretary checks this score against their scorecard. Once WHS kicks in (in fact, even before this as England Golf are encouraging golfers to submit more social rounds to get a more accurate handicap once WHS kicks in), I do expect more golfers WILL enter scores themselves from social golf. Partly, as it seems this is their perception at the moment that that is what will be required (already had people in my club insist to others scores MUST be entered, before I correct them) and partly because technology will make it easier for them to do so.

    So, in UK handicap secretary has a responsibility to check supplementary scorecards against scores, make sure correct and signed, etc. Under WHS, if this requirement is still necessary, then this will inevitably require more work for the handicap secretary given more scores will be entered (in short term, but particularly long term). However, given the answers in here, I suspect scorecards will be a thing of the past and the handicap secretary will be removed from the responsibility of checking all general scores that come in. Perhaps their role will change to dealing with potential complaints when players complain that a particular player seems to entering some dubious scores, although hopefully that would be very rare.

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  • NewbyNewby Members  7728WRX Points: 614Posts: 7,728 Titanium Tees
    Joined:  edited Feb 24, 2020 10:54pm #8

    BUT, they need to submit their cards and their score only impacts their handicap once the handicap secretary checks this score against their scorecard. So, in UK handicap secretary has a responsibility to check supplementary scorecards against scores, make sure correct and signed, etc. 

    Where is this stated in the CONGU system?

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  • Deceptively ShortDeceptively Short Members  562WRX Points: 129Posts: 562 Golden Tee
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    I know England Golf are trying to encourage greater submission of Supplementary/Social scores. These still, as I understand, will have to be pre registered, attested and played on a qualifying course, just as today. However I do not foresee a boom in submission of these scores. The change to 8 out of 20 versus ‘ratchet’ and the introduction of Rating/slope will not change the average golfers ingrained habits - if they aren’t submitting supplementary scores now why would they suddenly start doing so from November (a time when many courses aren’t qualifying)?

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  • Swango80Swango80 Members  15WRX Points: 7Posts: 15 Bunkers
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    You may be correct, in terms of there not being a vast increase in entered scores. However, listening to general members talk around my course, their perception seems to be very different. I heard that our chairman is telling everybody that, once WHS comes into play, all scores MUST be entered. I've had to correct him, but goodness know how far that rumour has spread. I've heard others imply it, presumably because they've heard WHS is similar to the traditional USA system, and that is what they do. So, there could be a perception from golfers to get more cards in. Additionally, if apps are created that allow golfers to enter their scores, I imagine that could make it a very appealing prospect to enter their scores. Nice and easy for them and they can see the changes overnight. And, dare I say it, as handicap increases can happen much quicker than the current CONGU system (especially if their oldest scores appeared in their best 8), there could be a little bit of manipulation going on before a big competition. However, I hope that would be very rare indeed.

    The other issue is, England Golf are actively encouraging golfers to submit more scores this year before WHS, so that more recent scores are used in their first WHS handicap. If these recommandations are followed, then many more scores will be submitted. However, I guess that depends on how much of this information gets across to golfers at each club.

    Newby, the CONGU Manual states that, if a card is not submitted for a Supplementary Score then 0.1 increase must be applied (21.10 off the top of my head, might be wrong though). Admittedly, I can't see anywhere where it says these cards actually need to be checked by anyone. I just assumed that, given cards must be submitted, it would be irresponsible for the handicap secretary to just ignore them and file them away (i.e. I felt I'd be responsible in checking everything was above board, just in case anything came back to haunt me if someone told me the score was wrong and I didn't do my job properly)

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  • nsxguynsxguy Just anudder user FloridaMembers  6800WRX Points: 1,177Handicap: 7.7Posts: 6,800 Titanium Tees
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    "I heard that our chairman is telling everybody that, once WHS comes into play, all scores MUST be entered. I've had to correct him, but goodness know how far that rumour has spread."

    Not quite sure what you're saying here. In the States, if a round is played by the Rules of Golf and there is at east 1 other person playing with the player, that round is required to be posted.

    Are you suggesting that that's NOT the case in the UK when WHS kicks in ? Surely you're not suggesting that under the UK's upcoming WHS the player can pick and choose which post-able rounds he wants to be in his handicap and which he doesn't ?

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  • Swango80Swango80 Members  15WRX Points: 7Posts: 15 Bunkers
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    Hi nsxguy

    That is true. Currently, the vast majority of a players rounds for handicap will generally be from medal or stableford competitions. However, if a player does not submit 3 rounds a year for their handicap, they lose "c" status on their handicap (which generally basically means that they wouldn't be able to win a competition if they entered, until they get "c" status back). So, for a player that cannot play competitions for whatever reason, they can submit supplementary scores from social rounds, so long as they play medal or stableford, hole out (basically play by the rules of golf) and pre-register their intent before the round to say they will use it for their handicap.

    Once WHS comes into play, there will be no change in this. So, in short term we may not expect to get many social round scores at all (for example, we currently get about 6-12 supplementary scores a week, in the height of the summer at our club). However, if golfers can use apps to enter scores, I think we may see more and more golfers enter scores (not as much as the USA, as we still will not be allowed to enter scores from formats such as match play of 4BBB). The other change we will see is that, when a golfer enters a score under WHS, their handicap record will change without any checks by the Committee. This is not the case currently, as the Committee need to take action on any score before it makes any changes to a players handicap.

    So, it is just something it looks like we will need to get used to. I guess in USA you are more used to a lot of the aspects that we are not, so useful to get the US point of view. Interestingly, I wonder what aspects of WHS take getting used to from a US perspective?

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  • davep043davep043 Members  4881WRX Points: 2,105Handicap: 6.3Posts: 4,881 Titanium Tees
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    This is one of the differences that will remain between the various Associations. Those of us under the USGA will still be required to post many more scores than our friends elsewhere. As I understand things, in many parts of the world, non-competition rounds MUST be pre-registered if the player intends to post that score for handicap. Once the player has pre-registered, he MUST post the score. Fourball or match play scores will not be acceptable to post in some areas. We're still going to have differences like this, at least until another revision to the rules happens.

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    Home is Reston, Virgina, with regular visits to Southern Pines, NC

  • Deceptively ShortDeceptively Short Members  562WRX Points: 129Posts: 562 Golden Tee
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    For CONGU it is singles strokeplay only - pre registered, attested and played over a qualifying course I.e. not a shortened course which often is the case here over the winter months unless this ‘shorter’ course has been rated. I believe this is the case in most jurisdictions? and the US is not aligned with the rest of the world on this.

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  • davep043davep043 Members  4881WRX Points: 2,105Handicap: 6.3Posts: 4,881 Titanium Tees
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    Thanks for clarifying that, I was trying to help @nsxguy to understand some of the differences between here in the USGA region and you folks under CONGU. This is one of the specific areas that the WHS has allowed decisions to be made at a National Association level, rather than requiring all of us to work under identical posting requirements. Perhaps future revisions to the WHS will bring us all closer to one another.

    I had read in one of these threads that in Ireland match-play scores will be posted for handicaps once the WHS takes effect. Other than that, I haven't read of any significant changes to the list of scores to be posted in different regions, it seems that most of us will see little or no change at this time. I'm pretty sure that there were no changes to the USGA system as to which scores we post. In other words, most of the differences between us will remain in place in this regard.

    Under the USGA version, I believe the course has to be within a relatively close tolerance (300 yards) to the Rated distance. I can't speak to what other courses do, but at my home club we play pretty much the same general yardage year-round. And we post scores year-round in my area.

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    Home is Reston, Virgina, with regular visits to Southern Pines, NC

  • davep043davep043 Members  4881WRX Points: 2,105Handicap: 6.3Posts: 4,881 Titanium Tees
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    Posted:

    Home is Reston, Virgina, with regular visits to Southern Pines, NC

  • Deceptively ShortDeceptively Short Members  562WRX Points: 129Posts: 562 Golden Tee
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    Here it is +/- 100 yards, but you can get dispensation from local authority to reduce the sss if it is 100-300 yards different. Not sure how this will change under WHS. it is really only an issue over winter but this seems to last about 9 months recently!

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  • davep043davep043 Members  4881WRX Points: 2,105Handicap: 6.3Posts: 4,881 Titanium Tees
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    Here, if the distance variation is under 100 yards, there's no adjustment. I did play this past weekend, first time in about 7 weeks, and I'd guess the tees were reasonably balanced, a few a little longer than the "standard" markers, a few more shorter, but overall not far from the rated total overall distance. The manual lists suggested adjustments for distance variations between 100 and 300 yards, to define revised ratings for temporary changes to the golf course. I don't believe these are likely to be used for typical winter play, and the requirement to stay within 100 yards of the actual rated markers is probably ignored in many cases.

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    Home is Reston, Virgina, with regular visits to Southern Pines, NC

  • rogolfrogolf Members  4306WRX Points: 564Posts: 4,306 Titanium Tees
    Joined:  edited Feb 25, 2020 5:46pm #19

    However, if a player does not submit 3 rounds a year for their handicap, they lose "c" status on their handicap (which generally basically means that they wouldn't be able to win a competition if they entered, until they get "c" status back)

    Will this "c" status continue to be used under WHS? And if so, why? What is its purpose?

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  • Colin LColin L Members  2428WRX Points: 387Handicap: 16.5Posts: 2,428 Platinum Tees
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    It doesn't figure in the WHS. Its purpose is to ensure that members who wish to compete in competitions have returned this minimum of scores each year and thus have a reasonably up to date handicap. It has not done the job very well for those who submitted only the minimum a year and whose performance was declining with age as it could take up to three years for their playing handicap to increase by one stroke. I will not be sorry to see it go.

    At club level it will be possible, as I understand it, to have a Term of Competition stating a minimum number of scores to have been returned in a stated period before a competition or the beginning of the season as an entry requirement to competitions. We haven't yet made any decisions about this at my own club, but I have flagged it up for consideration. I see an opportunity to up the requirement from three to something more effective in ensuring handicaps are based on recent scores.

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  • rogolfrogolf Members  4306WRX Points: 564Posts: 4,306 Titanium Tees
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    Thanks Colin. Sounds good at the club level, although club competitions are also a way to get more scores into the system so it might be two-sided if they're not allowed to complete.

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  • Swango80Swango80 Members  15WRX Points: 7Posts: 15 Bunkers
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    Rogolf, if a player lost "c" status, they could still play in competitions to get scores for handicap, they just were not eligible for a prize.

    I suspect Colin was meaning this, that players could still play comps, just not win, if their club set this limit once WHS in place.

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  • NewbyNewby Members  7728WRX Points: 614Posts: 7,728 Titanium Tees
    Joined:  edited Feb 25, 2020 11:39pm #23

    If you check all these supplementary cards do you check all competition cards also? If not, why not?

    A competitor goes out at the end of the field with a non playing marker and returns his card late in the day.

    The same player goes out the following day with the same marker but has elected to return a supplementary card. He returns his card later in the day.

    Do you check both cards?

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  • nsxguynsxguy Just anudder user FloridaMembers  6800WRX Points: 1,177Handicap: 7.7Posts: 6,800 Titanium Tees
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    If the player needs to "pre-register" and then, if registered, MUST post the score, I guess that works.

    It sounded like the player could play a round and THEN decide whether it gets posted or not, which of course, is totally unacceptable - even though here in the US that is often the case. {groan}

    Thanks for the clarification.

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  • Swango80Swango80 Members  15WRX Points: 7Posts: 15 Bunkers
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    Newby, in answer to your question:

    For competitions, we'll check the top scores, yes. Thereafter, we will not check every score. However, this isn't much of an issue because:

    1. If the score was wrong, especially drastically wrong, somebody will tell us about it pretty soon (as they or their playing partners will see the posted results)
    2. If they do not tell us the score is wrong, it is likely that regardless of that, they'd still have had 0.1 back (e.g. even if they entered 30 points, but really had 20 points, no difference to handicap in the end). At very worst case, if they happened to sneak in and around buffer, there will be an error of 0.1 in handicap.

    For supplementary cards, yes I check them all. In fact, given our PSI system is temperamental, all players simply submit scorecard, and let me manually type them in anyway. However, had a player used the PSI screen then yes, I would check the scores. This is not too much of an issue, as we are only looking at a handful of cards a week over the summer.

    My issue is, I'd be worried that a player, for whatever reason, entered a wrong score on PSI and then I didn't check the score against the card, and then it turns out the score in the computer is massively different to what it was on the card. It could be raised, say by his marker, that this score is WAY out, and then as handicap secretary, I'd look a bit silly for not checking it. Would a regular golfer assume I'm not doing my job correctly. And, this scenario is quite possible. For example, in a competition a few times I have had a player type the score in PSI, and they entered a score significantly different to what was on their card. They were relatively new, and probably accidentally skipped a hole whilst entering their scores on screen, and then threw out their score massively, It may surprise some people that, there are a few golfers out there that innocently make massive mistakes, especially when it comes to technology. So, I'd have though it would be wise for a handicap secretary to be the safety nett. Also, it seems to defeat the purpose of submitting a scorecard if that scorecard is unlikely to ever be checked at all.

    However, regardless on whether the scorecard needs to be checked or not, it still needs to be submitted in UK. So, this will still require a handicap secretary to pair scorecards up with entered scores, and start chasing players when a scorecard is missing. This could be a massive headache in the future, if we find that some clubs are getting a few hundred cards submitted per week. This is why I was interested as to how they deal with this admin in the US, goodness knows how many scores are posted each week for handicap purposes?

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  • Colin LColin L Members  2428WRX Points: 387Handicap: 16.5Posts: 2,428 Platinum Tees
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    It's commendable that you take your duties as Handicap Secretary so seriously, but are you really saying that you should physically check every competition scorecard , hole by hole, against what the player has entered in the computer system? That is wholly unrealistic and I doubt very much if your fellow-members would expect anything like that of you.

    Looking ahead, and it won't be long, all scores, competition and general play, will be able to be returned electronically and we won't need card and pencil. It is already permissible for a Committee to require the use of an electronic scorecard. Mistakes will happen whether on paper or electronically but these are the responsibility of the person making the mistake, not yours. I'd reckon there will be fewer mistakes when players are entering a score at the end of each hole on their phones and their markers are checking these entries on screen at the end of a round than there are now when scores have to be transcribed from card to computer. Electronic submission of scores means that what goes in is what has been agreed between marker and player and what the marker has attested. With a score card, the marker may never see what the player types into the terminal.

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  • Swango80Swango80 Members  15WRX Points: 7Posts: 15 Bunkers
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    Colin, I think that is one of the issues. You are right, a marker does not generally see what is types into the PSI screen, they just typically see the card and sign for that. So, that is why it is wise, for a supplementary card at least, for the handicap secretary to double check the card against the electronic entry, as the marker will not have caught any mistakes in that electronic entry.

    In terms of competitions, you are right, it is unfeasible to go through every scorecard (and we only get 30-50 in comps), which is why we'll typically only check the top cards. But, as long as they are OK, the worse cards in the current handicap system are less important, given it still means 0.1 back if score wrong.

    I'm happy enough now, I think, that it is not expected of me to thoroughly check every supplementary card. I'd also like to think though, that I won't need to go chasing players for scorecards if they've entered a social score, but just file away anything I do get. Then, if a situation crops up where I need to reference these cards (say if a player complains about this persons handicap), and the scorecards were never submitted, then that responsibility lays at the players feet, not mine, and any disciplinary procedures that may or may not follow.

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  • Colin LColin L Members  2428WRX Points: 387Handicap: 16.5Posts: 2,428 Platinum Tees
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    Look forward to the system filing everything in the Cloud without any effort on your part!

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  • NewbyNewby Members  7728WRX Points: 614Posts: 7,728 Titanium Tees
    Joined:  edited Feb 26, 2020 7:39pm #29

    it still needs to be submitted in UK. So, this will still require a handicap secretary to pair scorecards up with entered scores, and start chasing players when a scorecard is missing.

    Do you do this now ?

    As it happens our pro runs the comps. He only checks a few cards (prizewinners or those getting through to KO rounds). But every entry is recorded into a sequentially numbered log and the number entered on the card. He simply sorts the returned cards into sequence and can quickly spot missing cards.

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  • NewbyNewby Members  7728WRX Points: 614Posts: 7,728 Titanium Tees
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    Australia already have card scanners. No keying errors. I guess the card image is stored in the Cloud.

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