GC Handicap 2022

5 June 2022, Meadows

Kenny Pollock won the Scottish GC handicap championship on Sunday 5 June at Meadows Croquet Club on a bright sunny day.

There were ten competitors all day, some of whom were playing in their first championship. The players were divided into two blocks, where all played all with one person sitting out each round. The Advantage GC handicap system was used, which Brian Durward explained at the start and everyone soon got the hang of.

Block 2 consisted of Brian Durward (3), Bruce Bennet (6), Kathy Brown (7), Kenny Pollock (8) and Maggie Stevenson (12). This block played fairly quickly with Kenny winning the block with 4/4 wins and Maggie as runner up.

Block 1 consisted of Robert Inder (3), David Houston (5), Colin Stevenson (6), Norman Dall (7), Rachel Frith (11) and Yvonne Mills (11). This block ended some time after Block 2, with a time limit being put on a couple of the games. Norman Dall emerged as the clear winner of the block with second place between David Houston and Robert Inder, both with 3 wins. However, David had beaten Robert in their block match so went forward to the semi final.  Yvonne Mills was only able to play in the afternoon but had a couple of games, including a win over Norman Dall.

In the semi finals, Norman beat Maggie 7-3 and Kenny beat David 7-6.

In the final, Kenny Pollock beat David Houston 7-4 to regain the trophy he won a few years ago.

Thanks to Brian Durward and Kathy Brown for managing and to the spectators for supporting the players.


Kathy Brown presenting the trophy to Kenny Pollock

Advantage Golf Croquet: a commentary

This was the first SCA tournament that adopted the Advanced Golf Croquet format.  Unlike the traditional extra-turn handicap system the Advantage format makes initial score adjustments based on individual player handicaps.  For example a player with a low handicap of 3 playing against a player with a handicap of 11 would have starting scores of -3:2  (-3 for the lower handicap player and a score of plus 2 hoops for the high handicapped player).  This means that in a first to 7 match, the high-handicapped player has to score 5 hoops to win and the lower handicapped player 10 hoops.  There was one main rule: players must agree the score after every hoop.

Clubs such as Meadows, Auchincruive and Glasgow have experimented with Advantage Golf Croquet but this was the first SCA tournament to adopt the format and seek views from players and managers.

The players' views

In general players quickly adjusted to the new handicap system and in most cases were content with the new format.  There were some exceptions!  Players who would use extra turns to position a ball in the jaws of a hoop were denied this option unless they could play a similar shot without extra turns.  Players found the concept of negative initial scores strange at first but quickly adjusted to the new scoring system. Many of the games had close and exciting finishes and players at different handicap levels were content with the format.

The managers' views

Advantage Golf Croquet is an improvement on the extra turn handicap system for the following main reason: the adjustment of initial starting scores meant that once play commenced it was closer to level play.  Both the high and low handicap players had to play well to win.  This format is excellent for players who are fast improving and heading to play in open events.

Pros: Promotes a higher standard of play and may lead to improved player development.

Cons:  Some games took a long time and in the future there may be a need to timed games.  With large negative starting scores games can last a long time and require additional extra hoops.  The Advantage system may be problematic when used with extreme handicap differences.  This issue should be monitored in future events.

Advice:  The use of hoop clips made it possible for managers and spectators to monitor the score. The Advantage post which shows the high handicap player starting score coupled with the centre peg showing low handicap starting score are good ideas and again help monitoring the score for spectators and managers.

We would advocate the adoption of the Advantage systems in future handicap events.