Maintaining your Handicap Card
Australian Simulated Field clay target shooting, like other sports, uses a handicap system. The handicap system is used to determine grades, which help clay target shooters compete against others with similar skill and ability.
When you join Field & Game Australia, you’ll receive a blank handicap card. As the handicap system is used to determine your grade, your handicap card is an important record of your shooting history.
Handicap calculations are carried out after every 10 rounds of 25 targets (that is, every 250 targets). If the 10 rounds elapse mid-way through a competition, the starting handicap is used for the remainder of the competition, and then recalculated at the end of the event.
Establishing a Handicap
If you’re just starting out, establishing a starting handicap and grade will take a little time. It is not unusual to have several adjustments to your handicap and grade at first.
New shooters will be handicapped on their first round of 25 targets, to calculate their grading for the remainder of that day’s shooting. First round grading is calculated by multiplying the first round score by 10 (to attain a 10-round total estimate). So a first-round score of 15 would end up with a 10-round total of 150, resulting in a handicap of 5, which is B-grade. This is the starting handicap after the first 25 targets.
For a more accurate handicap and grading, the new shooter will have to shoot more targets. Most one-day shoots consist of three 25-target rounds. A more accurate starting handicap will be calculated after three rounds (or 75 targets) have been shot.
To calculate a three-round (75 target) handicap:
- The shooter’s scores for all three rounds are added together (eg. 15 + 14 + 8 = 37)
- The total is divided by the number of rounds shot so far (eg. 37 ÷ 3 = 12.333)
- The resulting average score is multiplied by 10, to attain a 10-round total (eg. 12.333 × 10 = 123)
This means the new shooter will have a revised handicap of 8, with a C-grading. This grade and handicap will be used for the next shoot: our beginner shooter will enter as a C-grade shooter with a handicap of 8.
Until the full 10 rounds (or 250 targets) are shot and recorded, a shooters’ handicap will be revised at the end of every event they participate in. If our new C8 shooter then goes on to take part in a four-round, 100-target shoot, the scores from that day’s shooting will be included in another handicap calculation. This time, as our new shooter has shot three rounds previously, the scores from all seven rounds go into the handicap calculations.
Using our previous example:
- The shooter’s previous scores are added to the scores from the most recent four rounds of shooting (eg. 15 + 14 + 8 + 19 + 20 + 17 + 13 = 106)
- The total is divided by the number of rounds shot in total (eg. 106 ÷ 7 = 15.142)
- This is multiplied by 10 to attain a 10-round total (eg. 15.142 × 10 = 151).
This means our new shooter has improved, jumping up to a handicap of 5, which moves them into B-grade.
After another three rounds of shooting, our shooter will have completed the full 250 targets. Once the first full 10 rounds (or 250 targets) are fired, a shooters’ handicap will then be taken from their actual scores, and no averages or calculations will have to be made. Many Field & Game Australia members highlight the first or last of the 10 rounds recorded on their handicap cards to make calculating their handicap easier – you might find it useful to do the same.
Changes to your Handicap
A shooters’ handicap is measured off every 10 rounds (or 250 targets) they shoot. It is not unusual for handicaps to change over time; however, there are some restrictions in place when a shooters’ grade decreases.
Field & Game Australia clay target shooters are only able to decrease their grade by one from their original grading. The reason for this is to prevent shooters in the higher grades from competing in the lower grades where they would have an unfair advantage.
It is possible for a shooter to jump up several grades at once, but once a shooter’s official handicap and grade has been established, they will only be able to drop one grade down, one handicap point at a time. For example, an A-grade shooter would typically shoot 17 to 19 targets for each round of 25. If an A-grade shooter with a handicap of 2 has a run of shooting C-grade scores (or 0 to 13 targets each round of 25), they will not be re-graded as a C-grader.
At first they will drop to A2, and if their scores continue to come in at C-grade levels, they will be re-graded to A3 after another 10 rounds. This can continue as far as the lowest handicap in the grade below their original grade. This means an A-grade shooter can only be re-graded lower to B grade, with a handicap of 6.
For a shooter to change their grade and handicap lower than this, special consideration is required. If you believe you are unfairly graded or have experienced an illness or injury which has changed your ability to shoot at your graded level, you can apply for special consideration to be re-graded. Please speak to a committee member (usually the Target Officer, if your branch has one) at your home branch about applying to the National Office for re-grading.