Some interesting uses of the HNA app and some historical facts about handicapping


Handicap News
October 2023

Dear Golfer

This month, we introduce you to one of our mobile app’s most useful and yet frequently overlooked features. 

We also address the most common questions that we receive about the app, particularly in terms of viewing the content and understanding scoring records, and continue our exploration into the origins and history of the golf handicap.

But first some news!

As you will know, HNA manages the World Handicap System™ (WHS™) on behalf of GolfRSA, which has been authorised to ensure that the system operates effectively and responsively in South Africa.

In order to keep ourselves aligned with the WHS; some small backend changes will be implemented from 1 January 2024. 

This will include changes to the GolfRSA local guidance to clubs and players to ensure consistency in the implementation of the 2024 edition of the Rules of Handicapping™, and these changes and any supporting explanations, will be communicated in next month's newsletter.

How to Get Started

The HNA Handicaps & Tournament App, offers a convenient way for any HNA registered golfer, to submit scores on the golf course, or after a round has been completed. 

It also enables golfers to:

  • Display a digital version of their official handicap card to pro shop attendants
  • Create tournaments and view live leaderboards
  • Calculate course and playing handicaps for themselves and others
  • View their Handicap Index® and scoring history
  • Look up the scoring history of fellow golfers
  • Capture hole by hole scores, while on the golf course
  • Examine in-depth playing statistics, to help identify their golf game’s strengths and weaknesses
If you have not done so already, you can download the app onto your phone from the Apple App Store (for iPhone users) or Google Play (for Android users—Samsung, Nokia, Motorola, etc.).
Huawei users can download the app via this link.

Digital Card

Players often forget their handicap cards at home, or misplace them before arriving at a golf club. 

This can be problematic, when you need to register for your round in the pro shop, and are asked to provide your handicap card. 

However, with the HNA app, you can easily overcome this issue by displaying an official digital version of your card, as shown below.

To display an official digital version of your card, simply log into your profile and turn your phone sideways — i.e., put the screen into landscape mode. 

If the card doesn’t appear, make sure that your phone’s landscape mode is enabled. 

Enabling landscape mode will also allow you to get the most data out of your ‘Scoring History’ section, as we explain below.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between the ‘Create Scorecard’ and ‘Events’ features, because both seem to serve the same purpose?

The ‘Create Scorecard’ feature allows you to score for your four-ball. 

The ‘Events’ section allows you to create both public and private tournaments, where potentially thousands of players from different clubs can compete. 

You can find step-by-step instructions on setting up ‘Events’ here.

When I access my ‘Score History’ section, I can only see each round’s score, PCC value, and differential. How can I view more information?

To view more information, the function is similar to the digital card, and you should switch your phone to landscape mode.

After switching, you should now also see the Par, Course Rating, and Slope Rating. 

If the display does not change, ensure that your landscape mode is enabled - as per the instructions above.

If you submitted your score hole-by-hole, you can access even more details by tapping on the round. 

You will be able to see your Course Handicap, Open HI, the tee colour, and a hole-by-hole breakdown of your round.

Some of the differentials on my scoring record are red and underlined, while others are just red or black. Why are they different?

A red underlined differential, indicates that it was one of the differentials used to calculate your  Handicap Index. 

You will have eight of these on your scoring record if you have entered 20 scores. 

A red differential, whether underlined or not, will show one of your 20 most recent differentials. 

A black differential means it has fallen out of your 20 most recent differentials and can therefore, no longer be used to calculate your Handicap Index.

I notice various symbols and acronyms on my scoring record. What do they all represent?

Where did the idea of a handicap come from?

The earliest records seem to indicate that a ‘golf handicap’ of sorts, was being used as early as the late 1600’s in Scotland.

However, the term ‘handicap’, which we associate with ‘modern’ golf, would not come into common use, until just before the beginning of the last century.

The whole process was a far cry from what would be introduced in the 1920’s, and also what we are used to seeing today.

In effect the handicap used, in its earliest form, was based on an informal ‘deal’ agreed between two players before they teed off. 

The deal would agree the numbers of strokes to be given by one player to another, and on which holes they would be given on the course.

In the Golfer’s Manual (author – Henry Brougham Farnie), a number of the terms used are listed, and these include "third-one" - wherein the weaker player would receive one stroke every three holes, a "half-one"- which would give the player a stroke every two holes, "one more"- the allocation of stroke on each hole, and finally "two more" – which translated as two strokes on each hole. 

There are probably more terms that have been lost in the mists of time, along with other golf names such as the cleek (an iron club with bout the same loft as a 5 iron), brassie (a 2 wood, and which is a term which died out before the beginning of the 20th Century, only to enjoy something of a comeback as a name in the 1980’s, as Taylor Made launched a new range ‘branded’ with old golf club names) and stymie. The last required that if two balls were within 6 inches of each other, then the ball nearer the hole would not be marked, thereby hindering, impeding or stymying the player with the ball further away. 

This rule exited golf’s stage in the 1950’s – thank goodness!

The ladies had led the way, by creating one of the first standard and equitable handicap systems, and it was introduced by the Ladies Golf Union in England in the late 19th Century. 

This system was principally built on the foundation of the union assigning the course ratings, instead of allowing the golf clubs to use their own. 

Towards the end of the 1800’s, a further attempt was made to formalise the handicap system, by calculating a player’s handicap, based on the difference between par and the average of the player’s best three scores in the year. 

This became the most widely used system in England and Scotland.

It might have been widely used, but it was not necessarily widely accepted, or universally liked!

Naturally enough, and as the sport’s popularity and player numbers grew, so did the discontent with the fairness of handicapping.

Not unsurprisingly, many of the less proficient players, who represented the bulk of the golfing community (some things don’t change!), were particularly unhappy, as it was much less likely for them to be able to play consistently to the level of their three-score average.

However, not until the 1920’s, and the set-up of the British Golf Unions’ Joint Advisory Committee, was the men's game finally able to introduce a fully coordinated, and equitable handicap system.

This ‘new’ system, included a uniform course rating, throughout Great Britain and Ireland, and it also saw the introduction of the Standard Scratch Score and Handicapping Scheme.

OUTsurance Monthly Mug

Join the exciting November edition of the OUTsurance Monthly Mug! Celebrate your victory and savor the taste of success in this FREE limited-field golf tournament. Compete against players nationwide and win amazing prizes from Srixon.

Click here to find out more.
Please don’t hesitate to contact us at if you have any handicap-related queries or questions. 
Quote of the Month

“Golf is a matter of confidence. If you think you cannot do it, there's no chance you will.” ~ Henry Cotton

Swing easy!
The Handicaps Team
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