Since we are a Massachusetts based organization, it is awesome to see news that your local state golf association is leading the way to help grow the game. Having a handicap at a young age is important for the development of junior golfers and think the Massachusetts Golf Association’s recent partnership with the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA) is a natural fit. We hope other state golf associations and high school athletic associations see the value in this alignment and will follow suit.
In a press release dated June 22, 2017, the MIAA and MGA announced their partnership. To highlight some important information from the article, “the MIAA & MGA Student-Athlete Program is a program that will provide student-athletes a complimentary MGA/USGA GHIN membership until age 18. The program is open to any student attending an MIAA-instituted school. He or she does not have to golf or be a member of the school-sponsored golf team to receive their complimentary MGA/USGA GHIN membership.”
So why is this important for high school golf?
1) Having a handicap helps younger golfers compare their skill on a level playing field with other junior golfers, mom, dad, or any other golfer who has a handicap.Having a handicap is normal for any and all golfers. Golfers judge one another based on their handicap.
2) Many golf tournaments will require juniors to have a handicap to enter the event. If you do not have a handicap, you may be left out of entering certain events. For example the Massachusetts Junior Amateur Tournament requires golfers to have an MGA handicap to enter. The good news is that it is free to get a handicap now!
3) College coaches often ask students their handicap and will look up their scores which make up the handicap. Handicap information is public data and built around peer review so it is important to make sure to put in all of your scores to have an accurate handicap.
Handicapping is one of the special things about the game of golf. Handicaps allows all players to compete against one another on the same playing field. To learn more about handicapping in general, visit the USGA website on handicapping.
If you are an athletic administrator, high school coach, or parent reading this article, I would encourage you to reach out to your local state golf association and share the information above. Hopefully there will be unity in every state where a similar partnership can be developed.