Handicaps of dormant players

11 Jul 2011

The following changes have been agreed in respect of players with dormant handicaps i.e. no results recorded on RTO for twelve months.

1.  Adjustment to handicaps

With effect from 1st October 2011, any player, irrespective of handicap category, who is inactive (i.e. fails to records at least one Singles result on RTO in a twelve month period) should have his or her Singles handicap automatically adjusted upwards by two handicap points by RTO and, if he or she remains inactive, by a further one point on the each anniversary of the original adjustment. Where a player only has a Doubles handicap and fails to record a Doubles result in a period, the relevant adjustment will be applied to his or her Doubles handicap.

The IHSC remains of the opinion that it is the responsibility of each the club professional periodically to review (in conjunction with a local Handicap Committee) and encourage actions to remedy incorrect handicaps, such as regular recording of results, use of provisional status and, in the last resort and where permitted, making manual adjustments. RTO will be amended so that a player’s record will show, upon enquiry, all activity in the preceding twelve months. RTO show clearly the impact of any automatic adjustments.

2.  Dormant players who enter tournaments

a)  Category 2 players and above

Different approaches have been adopted by the member associations to deal with the issue of validating the handicap of a tournament entrant who has few or no recent recorded results on RTO and the arguments around this have been well rehearsed elsewhere. The broad agreement seems to be that tournament entry should be encouraged and that national associations may make their own rules on the validity of a tournament entrant’s handicap. However, particular care must be taken where seeding in tournaments is based on handicap to ensure that proper account is taken of entrants’ handicap status. The IHSC recognises that this may result in tournament organisers deciding that any player falling within Category 2 and above and having a dormant handicap should not be seeded.

b)  Elite players

Additional concerns arise where the dormant player is a member of the elite Category 1 group, where, importantly, handicap can be used as the test for tournament seeding (although much ranking in major international tournaments is done on World Ranking Points). The existing resolution of the IRTC that handicap movements for this group should be generated exclusively from tournament matches, together with a relative lack of accessible tournaments may result in a player becoming dormant without losing his or her effectiveness as a tournament match player.

The adjustment set out in 1 above will apply to Category 1 players. However:

i) a dormant Category 1 player entering a tournament will always be considered for seeding, based on his or her handicap after any adjustment relating to their dormant period; but

ii) any dormant Category 1 player entering a handicap tournament will be required to play off his or her handicap before taking into account any adjustment relating to their dormant period.

It is acknowledged that tournament organisers will need to give careful consideration of the data available within RTO if such adjustments are to be correctly dealt with, although we believe it would apply to relatively few tournament entrants.

3.  Players who resume after an extended absence

It has been suggested elsewhere that players in Category 2 and above who have been dormant for twelve months or more should be reintroduced to RTO with a period where their handicap is treated as provisional. It is suggested that this period would be at least six matches, during which time they would be permitted to enter tournaments providing they can meet their national association’s rules on the validity of their handicap.

4. Transitional arrangements

Players who have not recorded a result in the 12 months ending on or after 1st October 2011 will have their handicaps adjusted as described above.


1st July 2011 

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