Experts from the world golf governing body Royal and Ancient (R&A) and the United States Golf Association (USGA) are in the country to rate the 11 local golf courses in terms of playing difficulty.
The exercise is the first step for Malawi Golf Union of Malawi (GUoM) towards embracing the new integrated world handicap system, which is a modernised structure that will allow golfers to have freedom of playing anywhere in the world.
In an interview on Wednesday, Wimpie du Plessis and Dave Tiffin, who are USGA course rating project leader in the Southern Africa Development Community (Sadc) region and USGA course rating expert, respectively, said Malawi is the seventh country in Africa to adopt the system.
Du Plessis said local golfers, after rating Malawi courses, will be integrated into the automated system where each will switch from their current handicap to the latest handicap index by June 11.
She said the system, to be implemented in almost all the countries around the globe by R&A and USGA by January 1 2020, will assist “to speed up play and make the sport more enjoyable”.
She said: “The system will help all golfers to compete even on the most difficult courses as they will be given extra strokes based on their playing ability anywhere in the world,” she said.
According to Tiffin, who is the USGA course rating expert, adoption of the new system means golfers will now need to adapt to some of the changed rules.
“For instance, the rule of preferred lie will no longer be acceptable as golfers will be required to hit the ball where it lands,” he said.
GUoM handicap secretary Edwin Chipala yesterday said the development will change the way golf is played in the country as regards rules and technicalities.
Blantyre Sports Club (BSC) golf captain Keta Mulwafu, whose course was the first to undergo the rating process, said they are happy to be part of golf modernisation process.
Golf courses that are undergoing the rating process are BSC, Country Club Limbe, M’bawa in Bvumbwe Thyolo, Nchalo in Chikwawa,Thyolo, Mulanje, Zomba Gymkhana, Lilongwe, Kasungu, Kasasa in Dwangwa, Nkhotakota and Mzuzu.