Local Golf Notes

State goes online Wednesday for golfers

S.C. golfers ready for new method of reporting scores

bspear@thestate.comJanuary 6, 2013 

The excuse to avoid reporting those forgettable rounds that put a damper on a golfer’s handicap index ends this week in the Carolinas with a new system scheduled to go online Wednesday.

The upgrade goes by the acronym GHIN — Golf Handicap and Information Network — and the Carolinas join the majority of the nation in using the service offered by the United States Golf Association. The switch affects members of the South Carolina Golf Association, the Women’s South Carolina Golf Association and the Carolinas Golf Association, which collectively operate the Golf Association Services of the Carolinas.

Data had to be transferred for 156,000 players, and software had to be upgraded at more than 650 clubs.

“There will be a learning curve, but we’re confident converting to the GHIN system will be best for both players and clubs,” said Happ Lathrop, executive director of the SCGA. “This is the right time to make the change, and we will have people available all the time to answer any questions.”

In addition to the two full-time and two-part time personnel who oversee the operation in the Carolinas, the USGA, other associations that use the system, and current staff of the three organizations were involved in the transition.

“Massive,” Lathrop said. “You don’t take on a project of this magnitude without a great deal of consideration and planning, and this did not happen overnight.”

Of course, some unexpected complications popped up, and those discovered in the transition included 300 outdated computers at clubs that were replaced.

Golfers will need a GHIN specific number, which will be provided, to post their scores at clubs, online or via smart phone. Golfers with GHIN numbers from others associations will retain that number. In addition to handicaps, the system includes a tournament management program.

Golfers have not been able to post scores since Dec. 1 and are urged to enter their results in a timely manner. The first handicap revision using the GHIN service will take place on Jan. 15.

Local pros

The 2013 PGA Tour, which began Friday with the Tournament of Champions in Hawaii, will have seven players with South Carolina connections with full exemptions and two more with conditional status.

Dustin Johnson (Columbia/Coastal Carolina), Kyle Stanley (Bluffton/Clemson), Bill Haas (Greenville) and Tommy Gainey (Hartsville) won tournaments in 2012 and are in the Tournament of Champions field. Joining them with full status are Jonathan Byrd (Columbia/Clemson), Lucas Glover (Greenville/Clemson) and William McGirt (Spartanburg/Wofford).

D.J. Trahan (Mt. Pleasant/Clemson) and Scott Brown (North Augusta/USC Aiken) will be eligible to compete in 15-to-20 events.

Byrd underwent wrist surgery in October and is not expected to rejoin the Tour until March. Glover will be coming off knee surgery that limited his 2012 schedule.

Chip shots

Honorees at the SCGA’s Golf Day on Saturday included: Bert Atkinson, inducted into the state Golf Hall of Fame; Todd White, player of the year; Rick Cloninger, senior player of the year; the Carolinas Golf Association, the Tom Fazio Service to golf award; Rick Miller, the Charlie Drawdy distinguished service award; the Members Club at Woodcreek and WildeWood, club of the year. ...

The Midlands Golf Course Owners Association is again offering the Midlands Golf Passport Book, which offers discounts at 15 area courses, two driving ranges and two golf specialty stores. Books, at $50 each, can be purchased online at www.scmidlandsgolf.com. ...

In the Dixie Senior Women’s Amateur in Parkland, Fla., Ashley Rose (North Augusta) won the title and Leigh Coulter (Columbia) placed third. ...

Clemson’s first women’s golf team begins play in the fall and the four players signed in the fall finished in the top 50 of Golfweek’s Junior Rankings. Ashlan Ramsey (Milledgeville, Ga.) ranked fourth, McKenzie Talbert (North Augusta) 20th, Sloan Shanahan (Suwanee, Ga.) 39th, and Jessica Hoang (North Augusta) at 45th.

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