You can now get a handicap without joining a golf club…

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Attention Scottish golfers!

Want to get a handicap without joining a golf club? Now you can.  

Scottish Golf, the national governing body for the grassroots game in Scotland, has today launched a new online scheme designed to allow people who aren’t members of a golf club to obtain and maintain a handicap for the first time. 

In what is being called “one of the biggest changes to the sport in a generation”, the new scheme, called “OpenPlay”, will allow golfers throughout Scotland in order to maintain a handicap without being a member of a golf club.

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Scottish Golf says the scheme will open up handicaps to an estimated 500,000 golfers in Scotland who do not currently hold a golf club membership.  

OpenPlay’s introduction follows on from the integration of the World Handicap System which came into effect in November 2020. 

Upon registering for a handicap through OpenPlay, so-called ‘nomadic golfers’ will be able to play against other players on a level playing footing, in both bounce and competitive play.  

It can be accessed through the Scottish Golf App for £5.99 per month through a flexible subscription with no long-term commitment. 

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Golfers will be required to register scores from 54 holes of golf, which can be made up from any combination of 18 and nine-hole rounds, before receiving their OpenPlay handicap. 

Scottish Golf says it is the first governing body in Great Britain & Ireland to introduce the scheme, with England and Wales “expected to follow suit”. 

Karin Sharp, the COO of Scottish Golf, remarked: “The way people consume golf has changed a great deal in recent years, as golfers look for a more flexible approach to the sport that suits their lifestyle and fits around their other commitments. 

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For many modern golfers, the traditional club membership offering doesn’t suit their lifestyle or simply doesn’t represent value for money. OpenPlay provides a modern, flexible approach for golfers that will make the sport more accessible and inclusive.” 

In a release on the Scottish Golf website, the governing body says a similar initiative was launched in New Zealand in 2018, where it is reckoned that 20% of those who joined the independent golfer scheme subsequently went on to become members of a club.

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