AWHC Explain 2004 Controversy

Peta Hunt, AWHC Chairman reveals the truth about the ruling that avoided near disaster when riots after the final round of Woodpecker VI caused the course Secretary to call in a SWAT team “Prior to the Johnny Woodpecker, the AWHC met and decided on handicaps. Those that were affiliated were given their standard reference handicap. This is not an actual handicap but a reference. So when these golfers go to a course they look up their reference and see what handicap they play off for that course. Usually the course handicap is one or 2 higher than the reference. The majority of those in Johnny Woodpecker are not affiliated. They were allocated a handicap to apply for the tournament.”

One aspect of the handicapping system that was not clarified was whether affiliated members would play off reference or off their course handicap for each of the 2 courses. So, having played off his reference on day 2 at Balmacewen Ali queried whether he should be playing off his course handicap.


To do so would give both him and Wik an extra 2 Stapleford points which would take them both one clear of Oose. Of course just minutes earlier Oose had sunk what he, and everyone else, regarded as the putt to take the title. He had been clapped off the 18th as the new champ.


Ali had a reasonable case for asserting he should be playing off course not reference handicap. This is because the reference is based on the golfers best 10 rounds of the last 20. So it reflects his abilities on a good not just an average day. By contrast the tournament handicaps allocated to non-affiliated members were based on averages from prior rounds and reports of latest form. On that basis it could be said that the affiliated members fairly deserved a handicap 1 or 2 above the reference.

Against that it is difficult to justify why there should be one set of rules for some and another for others. This is particularly so when it was not made clear to all that affiliated members would be paying off higher handicaps than they appeared to have been allocated for the tournament.

So the issue was put to vote. There were 3 options:

Ali and Wik win so have a play off on the 18th.
Oose wins
Ali, Wik and Oose all have a play off.

Option 2 took about 70% of votes. Option 3 got 25% and option one only 5%. So Oose was confirmed as the winner and Ali will have to wait for another day. One has to say this was a far better challenge that the prior years effort where he attempted to re-handicap Deane Sureheading into the last 9 on day 2.


“Everyone thanked the AWHC for yet another job well done. ” Kind regards,