GOLF AUSTRALIA has announced that the handicap anchor will rise from four strokes to five strokes this month.

In a letter to clubs last month, Golf Australia Chairman John Hopkins outlined the reason for the change, noting the ‘seasonality’ of handicaps .

“Under our current handicap system, handicaps in Australia are notably seasonal. On average, they increase in winter and then decrease in summer. In general this is caused not by a change in player ability but instead by changed weather impacting on course difficulty. (Note: The degree of seasonality does vary from club to club and from state to state (i.e., Queensland winters are considerably different to Tasmanian and Victorian winters.))

“When handicaps become seasonal, inequity is introduced when players travel from one region to play in a region with different weather patterns. This is because the players with seasonally increased handicaps gain an unfair advantage.

“Being mindful that the GA Handicap System does not contain DSR just yet, GA believes that as we head  into winter, the increase of the Anchor from 4 strokes to 5 strokes will result in a more desirable proportion of golfers across Australia being Anchored than would otherwise occur. GA also believes that a 1-stroke increase in the Anchor will not compromise the primary objective of this important regulation. (Note: In accordance with standard practice across all components of the GA Handicap System, GA will continue to monitor the efficiency of the Anchor in the short and mid-term.)”

The new 5-stroke Anchor Regulation will take effect on Tuesday 14 May. GOLF Link will re-calculate the handicaps of all Anchored players at that time.

For the full announcement, visit


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