Someone observed that the only thing that remains constant is change. Bob Dylan declared: “The times, they are a-changin’.” So, gather ‘round people, wherever you roam, because change is upon the golf scene in both the near term, far down the road, and at many intersections in between.

First up is a reminder that the Shell Houston Open is now just the Houston Open; while having a title sponsor is not imperative, it does, in my opinion, help give a PGA Tour event a more solid identity. Perhaps one reason some prospective sponsors have not stepped up is that the Houston tournament date is going to be part of some fairly major PGA schedule shuffling.

Houston area golf fans have strongly supported the tournament in recent years, in no small part because of the strong fields brought to town due to the tournament having been played the week prior to the Masters. Losing that date is sure to weaken the field.

Mark your calendar for the week of March 26 and make plans to attend; this might be the last year we get to see such a gathering of the best golfers in the world.

NOT VISION

On the first day of the year 2020, golfers all over the world will get a 20/20 look at what a World Handicap System (WHS) looks like. The goal of the WHS is to enable amateur golfers the world over to participate in uniform competitions. It’s complicated — that is, if one has the desire to understand all of the details as the WHS is implemented. Most of us, however, will likely not even notice the changes.

For example, while the current USGA GHIN system uses 10 of the lowest scores of the last 20 scores posted in computing our “index,” the WHS will take the best eight scores of the last 20. According to the latest literature, midrange to high handicaps will likely remain the same, while those with lower handicaps will see their indexes go down.

Please hold the applause.

Establishing a handicap with the WHS will be easier: any combination of nine or 18-hole rounds equivalent to 54 holes will do the trick — as opposed to the current requirement of posting ten completed round scores.

A somewhat intended consequence of the new system might be an impact on pace of play, since net double-bogey will be the maximum score on any hole. Additionally, golfers everywhere will, under the WHS, have a handicap that includes a decimal point.

For the unaware, in the UK and other places, only rounded number handicaps are “played off of.” In theory, the new method of calculation will enable all of us amateurs everywhere to enter a score from a round in Dubai, go to the bar, and let WHS do the rest!

Much like the Five Corners intersection in League City, the WHS is has generated a lot of conversation. Also, like Five Corners, completion of the program and full opening is going to take some time. Most importantly — and again like Five Corners — we will all have to give the WHS time to see if achieves its stated goals. Stay tuned.

NOT INVISIBLE

Many have likely noticed, and a few have inquired about, the recent absence of local results in the column. If you don’t see your name or the name of your favorite golfer in the print version of the paper, go to the electronic version. It’s all there. That said, rest assured that whenever possible, the run-up to district tournaments — and beyond — will get the column lead where appropriate.

The Lady Tors of Ball High finished fifth among a dozen schools participating in the Galveston Ball Girls Varsity Winter Classic at Moody Gardens Golf Course, with Taylor Brooks leading all Tor scorers.

Forty players teed up for the Beacon Lakes senior scramble last week, with three teams in a tie with scores of 63.

Winning a score card playoff were Paul Darcy, Bill Aurich, Domingo Duke, Gordon Baty and Bob Penna. Second place went to Mark Rouse, Ronnie Beasley, Rex Boyce, Mike Oldham and Micky Cousins.

Be safe, on and off the course.

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