Dear Fellow SAGES
(Verskoning aan my mede-Afrikaanssprekendes dat ek nie by die vertaling kan uitkom nie. Jammer. PR)
Many things disturb our SA minds at present - droughts, floods, hail, taxes and corruption. Thank goodness for our golfing mates and understanding spouses. The final event of the Sanlam Cancer Challenge was attended by our national treasurer, Trevor Woollett, Bert Griesel (Lowveld), Charles Andrew (Highveld) and Peter Joseph (EP), who reported that they were thoroughly spoilt by our Sanlam hosts and came back with another certificate of appreciation from CANSA. Thanks to our members for your efforts to raise funds for CANSA.
The untimely passing of Ivan Currie has delayed the deliberations of the ad hoc committee who will ponder over the best format for our national tournaments considering the impact of change over the last few decades - the major factor being cost.
I have been in contact with SAGA for guidance on the question of handicap changes during a tournament. As you know, handicaps do not change during SAGES tournaments at present. With handicaps changing daily, it has become possible to change handicaps daily. This would create problems with the updating of handicaps overnight, and policing that all scores are registered on the HNA system each day. These are not small issues, hence my question to SAGA.
Here is the reply I received from Eden Thompson, Manager of Golf Operations at SAGA:
It is the prerogative of the organising committee to implement restrictions etc of handicap changes as there are some events that organisers would want to have handicap changes be effective and others where this is not desired. (This can even be put into effect over a series of events OR to control upward movement but allow downwards etc etc) At the moment, all the events that the SAGA and GolfRSA run are “gross” or stroke play events and as such, it is in the interest of the events to retain a player’s handicap as unchanged during the playing of an event. That said, you may have events which you prefer movement to occur.
It is our recommendation that whichever of the restrictions / controls that you chose to be put into effect be published as conditions of your competition so as to ensure that the players are well advised of the rules.
It is clear that SAGES can declare that there will be no handicap changes during a tournament. We can, and probably should, change handicaps at the Nationals for the individual tournament after the team event on the first two days. All scores should thus be registered on the HNA system by Tuesday evening of the Nationals. This interpretation should be discussed at the next AGM.
You will also recall that we advised that where ladies participate in a team event and play off different tees, their handicaps have to be adjusted up or down, depending upon the difference in the standard rating of the tees in use. An added note in the SAGA handicap manual added that it was not the case where mixed pairs play against each other as the advantages would cancel out. In our case it does not apply as our pairs are not mixed consistently – so ladies still have to adjust handicaps in our team events.
The Northern mini, KZN mini and the Cape mini were run very successfully by Highveld, Drakensberg and WP SAGES respectively. My sincere thanks to the committees who went out of their way to make the events memorable and affordable. The results should be on the website by now.
While we have not seen much growth in membership recently, I can report that the branch newsletters confirm that most branches are actively pursuing growth of membership, with “Bring a Friend” events being the most effective. Thank you and please entice all those potential SAGES to come out of the woodwork.
Unhappiness with clothing requirements is a major factor in resigning from SAGES or deciding not to join. At the 2017 AGM it was decided that players may attend prize-giving after SAGES games in any form of SAGES clothing – playing clothes or battle dress. This has removed much of the criticism, but there is a good percentage of our members who are unaware of this change. Please spread the message!
My maximum two years in the chair is coming to an end. The National Treasurer is happy to continue taking our money and looking after it; the National Secretary is still enjoying his very important duties; and the Vice-President is willing to accept a nomination as National President of SAGES. These three gentlemen will be nominated formally later. Branches may nominate someone else for these positions.
We will definitely need at least a new Vice-president. With the 3 remaining NMC members all residing in Gauteng, it seems wise to seek a new vice-president elsewhere.
I therefore request branches to look around and when you are ready, please submit nominations for a new vice-president to our national secretary. He will advise closing dates for nominations in due course.
Nominations from your branch committee for any position on the NMC should be by letter with a brief curriculum vitae (and photo) that describes the qualities and experience of your candidate. This person must have the leadership qualities that will help steer the future course for SAGES.
Manipulation of Handicaps
The tide of dissatisfaction of our SAGES members with the few SAGES whose handicaps are in question, and who regularly traipse up to the podium, has forced me to take a step that may be interpreted as authoritarian.
I advise branches that the NMC, through the organizers of mini and the national tournaments, will review handicaps of entrants for these events from regular winners and players that have been reported as having “managed” handicaps. It is envisaged that they will play off a handicap decided upon by the NMC for those tournaments. (The defects in the handicapping system that enables handicap manipulation, is discussed further down in my letter.)
To enable the NMC to bring this change about, we will need the following:
- Branches are requested to keep a record of adjusted gross scores and HNA numbers for all players in branch SAGES competitions. The details of these scores may be requested for individuals for handicap review purposes. These reviews will be handled with circumspection, and the NMC will not discuss the names of individuals whose handicaps may be reviewed.
- Branches are requested to submit, in confidence, details of suspected handicap manipulators to the national secretary. This list will be available only to NMC members.
- It is also strongly recommended that suspected handicap manipulators are not selected for regional, mini and national tournaments. Players are not playing as individual SAGES, but as team members. It is a branch choice!
The NMC (in co-operation with mini and national tournament organizers) will consider all the entries received and check if a handicap review is indicated. Any changes to the handicap will be effective for the tournament only and will be brought to the notice of the branch submitting the entries.
This decision will be effective for 2018 Central mini and the 2018 Nationals, and will be reviewed by the National Executive at the 2018 AGM. I request your branch co-operation to sort out the problem once and for all.
It is pleasing to see that branches are serious about stamping out lax management of score recording and the improvement of knowledge of, and application, of golf rules.
Problems with the Handicapping System
An incorrect handicap slants the competition in favour of the handicap manipulator.
1.1 An un-gentlemanly golfer can waltz through the system like a well-trained politician:
- • Failing to try hard, especially when your better-ball partner is going to bring home the bacon.
- • Petty miscounting if your marker is not vigilant.
- • Blatant breaking of the rules to gain an unfair advantage.
- • Recording fictitious or incorrect scores on the system.
- • Failing to enter a score.
1.2 Golf clubs:
- • Do not uniformly enforce the registration of each round. This enables a player to enter fictitious information into the HNA system or to fail to report a score.
1.3 SAGES branches:
- • Do not uniformly check that scores at SAGES matches are entered correctly
1.4. The HNA system does not record the name and HNA number of the marker for a score, which complicates score verification.
With the festive season rapidly approaching, from the NMC we wish you all a wonderful rest with your family and friends, and may you miraculously find a cure for your swing among your presents. Thank you for your efforts to make every day on the course a pleasure for your fellow SAGES.
Yours in Sages,
SAGES Nasionale President