Archive for the ‘Golf Handicaps’ Category

Paul Houghton – Disabled Golfer & TSGer sues Brentwood Council…

Tuesday, September 4th, 2018

Paul Houghton on buggy

TSGer Paul Houghton and his case against Brentwood Borough Council for discrimination on account of him not being allowed to use his buggy at Hartswood Golf Club have now been taken on by top lawyer Chris Fry…

The BBC interviewed Paul on 3rd September 2018 and all the major news organisations have picked up on the story we first highlighted in 2016…

Dec 2016 – Discrimination-in-Golf…

Paul joined The Social Golfer in 2014 and has been an active and welcomed member ever since.

In 2017, The Social Golfer sponsored Paul and fellow disabled golfer Roger Hurcombe, helping them to fund their competitive golf.

Here’s what the BBC wrote about Paul Houghton’s case….

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Golfer Paul Houghton who is disabled and who uses a prosthetic leg is suing a local council for refusing to let him play on its course using a buggy.

Paul Houghton’s right leg was amputated in 2000 after he was affected by a lethal tissue-eating bacteria.

Mr Houghton learned to walk again – and golf became an important part of life but he still also uses crutches and a wheelchair.

He claims Brentwood Council in Essex discriminated against him but the council is defending the legal action.

Paul is lucky to be alive.

In November 2000, while working as a roofer, he knelt in contaminated water and contracted the deadly flesh-eating bug necrotizing fasciitis. It consumes muscle and body tissue at a rate of 0.75in (2cm) an hour.

“The surgeon told me he had to operate immediately,” Paul told the BBC.

“He said that he had no choice but to continue cutting until he was certain he had removed all the infected tissue.

“I had just two hours to prepare myself for an operation that at best I would survive with a leg missing, but at worst I would not survive at all.”

His right leg was amputated above the knee, and he received the last rites in hospital.

In all he had five operations, some for skin grafts because his amputation was very rushed and the perfect stump could not be formed.

Paul could not continue to work as a roofer and his business was wound up.

Paul Houghton – Disabled Golfer – Represented England…

He requalified and now works for Chelmsford Council as its access officer in building control.

He learned to walk with a prosthetic limb and switches between it, wheelchairs and crutches.

However, overuse of the crutches causes shoulder injuries, while the prosthetic leg can cause pressure sores that are difficult to cure.

Paul has represented England at disability golf 13 times, with a handicap of 14, and has played on courses across Europe.

Because of his disability, he needs a buggy in order to play an 18-hole course.

In August 2016, Paul had booked to play a round with a friend at Hartswood Golf Course in Essex.

It is owned and operated by Brentwood Council.

Paul Houghton sues Brentwood Council - Hartswood Golf club

On his way to the first tee, he claims he was told he would not be allowed on to the course without a letter from his doctor justifying the medical need for a buggy.

If he obtained such a letter he was told he would be given a certificate allowing him to use his buggy.

Paul Houghton – Disabled Golfer – What he said…

“I was gobsmacked he told the BBC.

“I’ve played over 100 courses around England, I’ve played all around the world and I’ve not been treated in this way before.”

Paul says he explained that he had his own insurance, a European Disabled Golf Association card, and a medical exemption, but the club insisted that he needed a letter from a doctor to justify the use of a buggy.

It sends the message that disabled people aren’t welcome, that we are not part of society, not included, but are segregated and can’t join in a sport that’s accessible to everybody, because we need to use other equipment to play the game,” Paul says.

In his legal claim, Paul argues that by refusing to allow him to use a buggy without a doctor’s letter, the council discriminated against him because of his inability to walk around the golf course.

In effect, he claims the council was applying a policy that indirectly discriminates against all disabled people who need a buggy to play golf.

Brentwood Council denies any discrimination and is defending the legal action.

The council said it was “committed to ensuring safe access for everyone to all its facilities” and would issue a full statement when legal action had concluded.

Paul Houghton – Disabled Golfer – Lawyer’s view…

Paul Houghton’s solicitor, Chris Fry from the firm Fry Law, said: “This case is more than just about making a service more accessible; it’s a reminder of the importance of the benefits which sport brings to social inclusion, together with physical and mental health.”

“This is especially important for people with a range of disabilities, and not least mobility impairments.”

“A simple adjustment in this case will benefit Paul, and thousands of others in a multitude of ways.”

In its “Buggy Use Policy”, England Golf, the governing body of amateur golf, says it “wishes to encourage the participation in golf of all players regardless of disabilities”.

This, it says, is in accordance with its obligations under the Equality Act.

Cae Menai-Davis, co-founder of the Golf Trust, a charity that works with disabled groups to make golf more inclusive, commented: “Golf is a sport for everyone.”

“Making it difficult for a disabled golfer to use a buggy isn’t just bad policy, it is bad business.”

“There is a huge untapped group of people with learning and physical disabilities that want to play the game and will benefit hugely from it.”


Paul with trophies

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Just some of the new outlets that have covered Paul Houghton in the last 24 hours…

The BBC

The Times

The Sun

The Telegraph

The Independent

The Week

The Daily Mail

The Metro

Epping Guardian

 

How to calculate your Golf Handicap…

Tuesday, October 31st, 2017

How to calculate your golf handicap?There a number of ways to calculate your golf handicap either via a recognised CONGU® Club handicap OR alternatively, golfers can use an Online Golf Handicap Tracking Platform such as the one offered by The Social Golfer.

However, be aware that Online Golf Handicap calculations are NOT approved by CONGU® (The Council of National Golf Unions).

But how do you calculate your golf handicap?

How to calculate your Golf Handicap – CONGU®*…

One of the unique things about golf is that unlike many sports, golf has a handicapping system that allo

ws players of varying abilities, to play against one another in a fair and equal manner.

In short, your golf handicap is….. the number of shots you would expect to take when playing a round of golf compared to a player who has no handicap e.g. someone whose handicap is 0.

This is not as difficult as you might think if you take a short time to understand the CONGU® system.

If you are a member of a club that is affiliated to one of the ‘Home Unions’ (ie, the governing body for golf in England, Ireland, Scotland or Wales), then you are eligible to have a CONGU® handicap.

To get your first OFFICIAL handicap you will need to complete 54 holes of golf (this may be any combination of 18- and 9-holes*) with your card marked by someone who understands the Rules of Golf. (e.g. The Club Manager, Club Pro, Club captain, a committee member or another member).

Once your rounds are completed the ‘handicap committee’ will consider the scores you have made and, taking into account any previous golfing experience you may have had as well as any other sporting achievements, will ‘award’ you a handicap.

Then, every time you play in a qualifying competition your handicap may go up or down.

How to calculate your Golf Handicap – HANDICAP CATEGORIES*…

How to calculate your golf handicap?

Handicaps are divided into different bands – called categories.

Depending on which category you are in, the amount your handicap can go down varies.

Also, the amount you can play over your handicap (called buffer zone) varies before your handicap increases.

Category 1

Golf Handicaps of 5 or less

Buffer Zone = 0 to 1 shot

Adjustment factor = 0.1

Category 2

Golf Handicaps of 6 to 12 inclusive

Buffer Zone = 0 to 2 shots

Adjustment factor = 0.2

Category 3

Golf Handicaps of 13 to 20 inclusive

Buffer Zone = 0 to 3 shots

Adjustment factor = 0.3

Category 4

Golf Handicaps of 21 to 28 inclusive

Buffer Zone = 0 to 4 shots

Adjustment factor = 0.4

Category 5 (N.B. This category is for Women Only – they can have a Handicap fo Up to 36)

Golf Handicaps of 29 to 36 inclusive

Buffer Zone = 0 to 5 shots

Adjustment factor = 0.5

N.B. Everyone’s handicap is calculated to 1 decimal place but their playing handicap is the nearest whole number.

E.g. David’s exact handicap is 22.1 and his playing handicap is 22. Sue’s exact handicap is 10.5 so her playing handicap is 11. 3

How to calculate your golf handicap?How to calculate your Golf Handicap – Other things to know…

If you play ‘below’ your handicap, your handicap will be reduced by a certain decimal point for every shot under (see categories above).

However, if you play above your handicap (i.e. more than your expected GROSS Score, your handicap will be increased by 0.1.

You are allowed some leeway (this is your buffer zone – see categories above for different buffer zones), but once you are above your buffer zone, your handicap goes up.

The Good news is that no-one is expected to be able to play to their handicap for every round.

There is some flexibility: if you play within your buffer zone your handicap will not alter.

Under CONGU® rules, every time you compete in a competition you should return your card.

This is firstly so the competition organiser knows that you have played in the competition and secondly because the organiser may want to check your marker’s score which is on your card.

It is against the spirit of the game to put your poor scorecard in your pocket and drive home.

As already noted, it is your responsibility to play off the correct handicap. If you believe you have played under your handicap you must calculate your new handicap before playing in another competition.

Finally, when moving between handicap categories, the calculation gets a bit more complicated.

However, this is when The Social Golfer Handicap System** comes into its own. Just add your scores after every round and let our Handicap calculating system do the rest.

Once you have added your scores, TSG PRO account holders can then print off a copy of their TSG Handicap Certificate.

So there you have it, no more arguments on the first tee about who’s playing of what handicap!

 


By Ian Mullins

* source via www.congu.co.uk

**While The Social Golfer Handicap system is calculated using the similar formula as CONGU®, it is paramount that golfers know that no online handicap system is sanctioned by CONGU® and can therefore not be used in official club competitions. However, Online Golf Handicap Certificates are widely accepted as a ‘proof of playing’ standard by most clubs for casual play.