How to get a handicap

Getting a handicap is always the goal of every Junior who joins Castletroy GC, so they can play with their friends and in the Junior competitions over the golfing season.

This year, we have developed a clear progression plan with the assistance of our club pro, Gary Howie. Gary has broken down the programme into six clear stages with a detailed progression plan to follow.

We have also generated a Junior file that clearly shows every individual Junior and where they are in their handicap journey.

Progression to Getting a Handicap

  1. Join the Club (fully paid member).
  2. Attend organized junior lessons available every weekend and/or “New Junior Member” lessons generally in the Easter Holidays and late Spring in the run-up to summer holidays.
  3. Commence short course golf with mentors, including Pro Shop staff members who will be on hand throughout Short Course Golf to coach, assist, and mentor Juniors through the Progression Targets.
  4. Progress through Progression Targets 1, 2, and 3 (see next slides with details) with Pro Shop Staff Member involved.
  5. Complete the 9-hole short course golf holes (set up within holes 15-18 each Monday/Wednesday and Friday during school holidays) in less than 55 strokes (or stableford equivalent) on 3 occasions.
  6. Complete 54 holes from green tees under the supervision of an adult or current Golf Ireland player with a handicap and return cards to the Junior Handicap committee.

As of June 28th, 2024, an individual file will be set up for each Junior to show exactly their current position on gaining a handicap in Castletroy GC.

Progression Points Part 1

  1. Hit a ball up in the air.
  2. Get a 10-Foot putt (about 3 putter lengths) inside a circle the diameter of your putter.
  3. Chip a ball onto the green and let it run out to a (large) target.
  4. Hole 3 out of 6 putts the same length as your putter to the start of the grip (about 3 feet).
  5. Explain a little about what the different clubs in your bag do (e.g., why does a sand wedge point more to the sky than a 6 iron, when do you use a driver, will the longer length clubs go further or shorter than the shorter length clubs?).
  6. Show how to rake a bunker and explain why this is important.
  7. Show how to replace a divot.
  8. Show one warm-up exercise you should do before golfing (e.g., 5 vertical jumps before teeing off).
  9. List what you need in your golf bag every day that you come to play: tees, pencil, pitch mark repairer, balls, water, jacket, sunscreen, hat.

Progression Points Part 2

  1. Hit a ball up in the air with a mid iron.
  2. Get a 20-foot putt (about 6 putter lengths) into a circle the diameter of your whole putter.
  3. Hole 3 out of 6 putts the length of your putter (about 4 feet).
  4. Play a chip shot with a lofted club and a straighter-faced club and let them run out to the same target.
  5. Explain the rules and setup when you are in a bunker and then play a bunker shot.
  6. Repair a pitch mark correctly and explain why we do this.
  7. Explain why divots should be replaced ASAP.
  8. Show knowledge of etiquette regarding:
    • Where trolleys can and cannot go on the course.
    • Pace of play and when to let others pass through on the course.
    • Counting scores.
    • Calling FORE.
  9. Show a knowledge of what makes the golf ball go further and how players can improve distance (e.g., faster swing, better contact, hitting up with a driver, being stronger).
  10. Show an exercise that you could do to help hit the ball farther.

Progression Points Part 3

  1. Hit the ball up in the air regularly with irons/rescue.
  2. Chip 3 different distances (front, middle, and back of the green) from the same position with the same club.
  3. Show a good understanding of how to control distance with a putter by putting within the boundaries of a large circle from three different lengths.
  4. Explain and show how to sign into a competition correctly, mark a scorecard, and return the score into the computer.
  5. Show an understanding of how, when, and where to mark scorecards.
  6. Show knowledge on rules regarding out of bounds, lost balls, hazards, and when and where to drop various formats of play—Strokeplay, Matchplay, Stableford.
  7. Explain why a ball goes a certain direction (to the left or to the right) and why it might curve in the air and why it might go low or high.
  8. Show a warm-up routine that would be beneficial before playing golf and explain what the exercises do and why they are important.

Junior Coaching Plan for New Members to Castletroy Golf Club

Lesson One: Putting

  • Grip
  • Target
  • Aim
  • Stroke movements
  • Starting direction and what controls this
  • Distance control and how we control this
  • Slopes: uphills, downhills
  • Etiquette on the green: bag/trolley placement, flag in/out, pitch marks, walking on other players’ lines, removal of the flag and placing on the green, order of play, not twisting spikes
  • Drills to practice

Lesson Two: Chipping and Short Game

  • Grip
  • Target
  • Aim
  • Posture and setup
  • Club choice and why
  • Swing technique
  • Distance control and how we control this
  • From the rough, the sand, the short grass
  • Etiquette on pitch marks, raking bunkers, replacing divots, bag/trolley placement

Lesson Three: Iron Play

  • Grip
  • Target
  • Aim
  • Posture
  • Ball position and why
  • Swing technique to control direction
  • Clubhead speed to control distance
  • Club choice and why
  • Playing from different lie angles and different lengths of grass
  • Warm-up routines
  • Etiquette on replacing divots, pace of play

Lesson Four: Driving the Ball and Fairway Metals

  • Grip
  • Target
  • Aim
  • Posture
  • Teeing the ball up
  • Ball position and why
  • Swing technique to control direction
  • Clubhead speed to control distance
  • Etiquette on speed of play, trolleys not on the tee box, where you can tee up in relation to markers

Lesson Five: Review of First 4 Sessions

  • Grips, aims, basic techniques, club speed
  • Starting to look at the progression points (for certain players)
  • Lots of questions (and hopefully answers)
  • Discussion on practice: where, how often, when, and why
  • Physical training for golf and warm-up exercises
  • Marking scorecards explanation on how we progress to a handicap from here.