Independent Golfer update: 26 February

In a letter sent to all affiliated golf clubs, England Golf has provided its latest weekly update on the connectivity platform being developed for independent golfers. The full correspondence is published below:

Good afternoon.

Welcome to the latest club update on the development of an independent golfer connectivity platform.

When launched, this platform will offer non-members of golf clubs an official handicap index and personal liability insurance.

The initial aim is to inspire golfers to play more often and to increase the connection between an avid, independent golfer and their local club/facility.

We will create a best-in-class platform with the ultimate goal of educating independent golfers on the value of golf club membership and inspiring them to follow this pathway to greater participation.

Working group update

On Thursday, the working group considered the process through which an independent golfer will obtain and maintain a WHS index. Independent golfers will use the ‘My England Golf’ app to input scores and track their progress.

The process will be in line with the Rules of Handicapping and will have checks and balances in place to ensure the integrity of the handicap is maintained. Further information on this will follow in a future update.

In addition, the group started to explore the roles and responsibilities of a centralised England Golf Handicap Committee, again adhering to the Rules of Handicapping.

Common club queries – your FAQs answered

Why will golfers join a club if they can obtain an official handicap through England Golf?

There is so much more to being a member of a good golf club than the provision of a handicap. The benefits of membership far outweigh those being offered to an independent golfer through the new connectivity platform. We will support clubs to focus on the many added positives of golf club membership. These include important playing rights, social opportunities, regular competition play and a sense of belonging. During 2021, the ‘Membership: Give it a shot’ campaign will once again be central to our promotion of the game.

Will introducing a handicap for independent golfers not have a detrimental knock-on effect for golf club membership numbers?

In other countries where a similar scheme has been rolled out there is no significant negative effect on membership numbers. In fact, by drawing avid, independent golfers closer to a local club it provides that club with the opportunity to showcase what it has on offer and to profit from an increased regular spend on food and beverage, tuition, green fees and merchandise.

Will there be an additional cost to clubs for administering the handicap for independent golfers?

No. There will be no additional costs incurred by clubs associated with the roll out of the new connectivity platform. All the administrative burden and running costs will lie with England Golf.

When is the connectivity platform going to be launched?

All golfers will be able to obtain an official handicap index by the end of June 2021. The exact date for launch has yet to be decided.

Find all Independent Golfer updates here