HANDICAP MADE EASY, Latest Golf News - The New Paper


One of the most troublesome part about playing golf is getting a handicap, without which, admittance to many golf courses is denied.

Golfers without a handicap also suffer the ignominy of not being able to play in amateur competitions where referees often require proof of ability through the only means the know how - yes, the golf handicap.

For those learning the game for the first time, it is necessary for them to go through lessons, not just on the swing but also on the rules and social aspects of playing the game.

They typically get through a series of lessons before they are ready to take their Proficiency Certificate test

Upon passing, they have six months to collect at least five 
18-hole or 10 nine-hole rounds, or any combination that adds up to 90 golf holes, before being eligible for the handicap test.

Unfortunately, many amateurs decide to forego the traditional handicap test altogether and continue their golfing life without one.

For those belonging to this group, SPH Golf has innovated a way for them to get a USGA golf handicap that is fuss-free and cost-free.

Members of SPH Golf who wish to have their handicap need only submit the regulatory number of scorecards and visit their handicapping partner, Big Fish Golf, to take both a USGA Rules and Regulations theory test as well as a swing test conducted by in-house golf professional Atiq Idris, a former player on the PGM Tour in Malaysia.

Radio deejay and SPH Golf member Andre Hoeden recently took his handicap test at the studio and said: "It was more than I expected! It wasn't just a test, we had fitting analysis, swing assessment, putting alignment and even discussed the rules of golf."

While useful, this programme is not suited for golf beginners but rather, those who have been playing for some time.

"The idea is to encourage the regular golfer to get his handicap done and be a part of a global family of registered golfers," explained Idris, who also emphasizes the importance of knowing the rules of golf.

"Especially for those who have not gone through formal instruction, they may know the basic rules simply through playing regularly, but here at the test centre, I make a point to encourage them to better understand the USGA Rules of Golf," he stressed.

There is one other thing that Idris did not mention but can be equally important; having a handicap is essential when playing an amateur competition with hole-in-one prizes.

Sponsors can reject awarding these prizes if the golfer does not own an official golf handicap.

And while the odds to achieve an ace is stacked low, wouldn't it be sad to see the keys of that new Mercedes-Benz slip away?

Sign up for the SPH Golf Card now at www.sphgolf.com to take your free handicap test. For more information on handicap testing, call Big Fish Golf at 6471-2272.