This spring marks 30 years of life as a golf-club member for me. And in those three decades, I’ve been a member of nine different clubs spanning two states. Like my 380,000-odd fellow members of golf clubs in Australia, I’ve witnessed a constant evolution of the way our handicaps are determined – particularly in the past five years and with the advent of the Slope system.

As for opinions about the current method, I think I’ve heard them all: too easy to manipulate, too lenient on high handicappers, too easy for low markers to drop lower, not enough volatility, too much volatility, not reflective of current form, ‘scratch’ doesn’t mean anything anymore – the lot. Like so many aspects of life, rarely do you hear a complimentary take as outrage dominates instead.

Well, I’m here to tell you the naysayers are all wrong. The system today is as good as we’ve ever had it. It’s portable, it provides variation between courses of different difficulty levels and variety within the same course (two golfers can theoretically play a match from different sets of tees), plus it is easy to calculate the gravity of upcoming rounds.

Just don’t get too comfortable with it, as the long-mooted World Handicap System is in the pipeline for as early as 2020. But until that comes along, golfers, you’ve never had it so good.

And let’s not forget your handicap is adjusted within hours of your round being completed. Who else remembers when adjustments occurred once a month? Without getting too “In my day…” about it, I clearly remember when upward handicap alterations took place only monthly. Yes, a good round saw you handicapped the next day, but a succession of bad rounds only brought about change on a monthly basis. Now, you play one day and your number is adjusted before you fall asleep that night. It probably took far too long to reach that point but, hey, golf eventually got there. (An overall reluctance to change might just be our sport’s least endearing quality.)

Regardless of your fondness – or lack of it – for our various handicapping models through the years, we are in for more change in the next few months and years. Which will almost certainly bring with it new waves of derision.

But here’s another take, one borrowed from a good friend of mine: handicaps are all in our head. Dave’s take is that if you halved the handicap of all club golfers and made them play from that 50 percent mark for a month, he hypothesises that any golfer, regardless of handicap, would improve by default once the month was over. So a 24-marker forced to play off 12 for a month might initially card some awful net scores but once the month was over would likely start scoring like an 18-handicapper – because of the mental adjustment they’d had to make the previous month.

I like his thinking. Yes, it took me some pondering time to completely digest, but the more I thought about it, the more I agreed. It’s all because of the number written in the top-right corner of the scorecard.

Think about this situation, one we’ve all been in at some stage: you lose a stroke from your handicap and your former ‘gravy’ hole suddenly becomes stroke-less and now a par (or bogey) is required to earn a pair of Stableford points. It is impossible to put a peg in the ground that next round and not think about the hole differently. Your ability likely hasn’t changed, nor might your strategy – yet the minor change in net situation feels like a giant shift in the cosmos and invariably gets in our heads.

So old system, new system, Slope system, World Handicap System or otherwise, maybe we’re all better off spending less time worrying about the method we’re playing under and more on getting our heads (and tee shots) straight.