Change of Indices for Skerries Golf Club

Men’s Club

The Men’s Committee have approved changes to the Handicap Stroke Indices for the course following on from a recent study.  The Committee of Management have been kept fully informed and the study was based on the following:

  1. An analysis of the golf course by degree of difficulty for all major singles competitions in 2012, 2015 and 2016. The years 2013 and 2014 were not included because the 3rd and 5th greens were being replaced and the full course was not in play.
  2. The R&A Guidance on Running a Competition
  3. The CONGU Unified Handicap System 2016-2018 – Appendix G – Handicap Stroke Index (CONGU describes Appendix G as “Supplementing” the R&A Guidance)

All competitions (except Matchplay)
New scorecards are currently being printed with revised indices for all competitions, other than Matchplay competitions, as follows.

Revised Indices effective from 8th March 2017


  1. The new indices are based solely on degree of difficulty as measured for all major competitions in 2012, 2015 and 2016. This is consistent with CONGU recommendations (See Appendix 1 below)
  2. A positive change means that the hole was easier in these years than its current index; a negative number means that a hole played harder than its current index.
  3. The more significant changes – more difficult holes (compared to current index) were 4, 5, 14 and 17.
  4. The more significant changes – easier holes (compared to current index) were 9 and 10.
  5. Although the split is not even numbered indices for one nine and odd numbered indices for the other nine, the split is even with the front nine indices adding up to 85 and the back nine adding up to 86.

Matchplay Competitions

These revised indices are not compatible with many of the R&A and CONGU recommendations for Matchplay competitions (See Appendix 1 below).  One of the recommendations states that Matchplay indices should have a sequence of different types of hole rather than be based on degree of difficulty and that this provides more equal opportunity for all handicaps in Matchplay.   If the new indices above were to be used for Matchplay, Index 1 to 5 would all be long Par 4’s.
New Matchplay scorecards are currently being printed with revised indices as follows:

Revised Matchplay Indices effective from 8th March 2017


Appendix 1

CONGU makes a clear distinction between Match Play on the one hand, and Stableford/Par/Bogey competitions on the other and most recommendations are focused on Matchplay only.

Matchplay Competitions

There is a strong recommendation from both R&A and CONGU that Matchplay indices should be evenly spread over the 18 holes.  They specifically define this as the odd and even numbers being allocated to different 9’s.  CONGU is more specific recommending that the odd numbers be allocated to the longer of the 2 nines.
They also make the following specific recommendations

  • The first and second stroke index holes should be placed close to the centre of each nine. (CONGU). The R&A recommends that Index 1 and 2 should not be on holes 1,2,17 or 18.
  • The first six strokes should not be allocated to adjacent holes.
  • The 7th to the 10th indices should be allocated so that a player receiving 10 strokes does not receive strokes on three consecutive holes.
  • None of the first eight strokes should be allocated to the first or the last hole,
  • At clubs where competitive matches may be started at the 10th hole, at the 9th or 10th holes. This avoids a player receiving an undue advantage on the 19th hole should a match continue to sudden death.
  • Unless there are compelling reasons to the contrary, stroke indices 9, 10, 11 and 12 should be allocated to holes 1, 9, 10 and 18 in such order as shall be considered appropriate.
  • Subject to the foregoing recommendations, when selecting each stroke index in turn holes of varying length should be selected. Index 1 could be a par 5, index 2 a long par 4, index 3 a shorter par 4 and index 4 a par 3. There is no recommended order for this selection, the objective being to select in index sequence holes of varying playing difficulty. Such a selection provides more equal opportunity for all handicaps in match play competitions than an order based upon hole length or difficulty to obtain par.

Stableford, par and bogey competitions

The CONGU recommendations specifically state:

1. The ‘Handicap Stroke Index’, however, is also used widely for Stableford, par and bogey competitions. In these forms of stroke play competition the need to have a uniform and balanced distribution of strokes is less compelling.  “There is a cogent case for the Index in such competitions to be aligned to the ranking of holes in terms of playing difficulty irrespective of hole number.”

 2. “Clubs that conduct a significant number of Stableford, par and bogey competitions may wish to provide separate stroke indices for match play and the listed forms of stroke play. To avoid confusion this would be best done on separate scorecards.”

Men’s Committee – 1st March 2017

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