THERE’S a buzz about what the national handicapping system (NHS) might mean to golfers after it becomes fully operational online.
This comes after the Malaysian Golf Association (MGA) announced that they are phasing out the printed handicap cards issued monthly to its NHS subscribers and moving towards a digital platform.
It is part of a process that is gradually implementing the new World Handicap System (WHS), a facility mooted by the world governing bodies – the R&A and the United States Golf Association (USGA) that aims to employ one common handicap system worldwide and is expected to be launched in 2020.
The Malaysian Golf Association is now encouraging golfers to download and use their mobile app – MGA NHS.
“The mobile app (MGA NHS) has been designed to meet current trending technology and also to cater for the transition from the existing USGA handicap system to the World Handicap System,” the MGA said.
The national association pointed out that from Jan 1, 2019, the Malaysian NHS index will be produced digitally via the mobile application.
“The MGA NHS app is now available for download from both Apple AppStore and Google Play. And effective from Jan 1 the MGA NHS mobile app will go-live and at the same time handicap card printing will be discontinued,” the Malaysian Golf Association said.
The key features of the MGA NHS mobile app will make it rather interesting to use, if not only because it will have a digital handicap card and shows official index & trend index, but also boast a buddies list, QR Code scanning, display details of your last 20 rounds, check instant course handicaps for any golf club and enable you to check your handicap for any particular club.
There is no doubt that the online handicap system will be welcomed by all, particularly tournament organisers and the golf clubs themselves.
“The concept is really welcome,” said P. Jeganathan, organising chairman of the Prudential Astro Maters tournament. “It basically means that we can check the player’s handicap online without a fuss kicked up over whether he has his (handicap) card with him or not.”
However, Jega was cautious about the data input.
This was a point echoed by K.C. Tho, MST Golf’s head of Golf Tournaments. He said: “While the easy access will be great, it will be important that the golfers enter accurate data into the system.
“Failure to do so will only mean that their dishonest deeds are more quickly available to the organisers and those who use the information.”
Nick Dahl of Black & White Group, sponsors and organisers of tournaments, said: “The authorities would have to find ways to ensure that the golfers provide accurate input if the system was to be effective.
“The idea to have an online handicap system for all, no matter where you are in the world, is a great one.
“But we should remember that what we put in is what we take out, so the data input would have to be accurate to make it more meaningful,” he added.
Malaysia has for a long time battled with many players under-declaring their handicaps, with a view to cheating and winning tournaments.
This new system might help in some ways to address this problem. But all the same, it will be interesting to see how things pan out.