Classifications are important to all archers because they are the best indication of where you are in terms of scoring ability, and provide a benchmark for levels of improvement. There are six classification levels: the lowest is third class, then second class, first class, Bowman, Master Bowman, and Grand Master Bowman at the highest classification level.
Archery GB produces tables detailing exactly what scores you need in each round to hit a certain classification. The scores required for a classification can be found in our Shooting Administration Procedures (look in the Useful Resources section for a link).
To gain a classification you need to shoot three scores that meet that classification level. The highest two classifications, Master Bowman and Grand Master Bowman, can only be achieved with scores achieved at record status competitions. Once you achieve a classification you cannot go back and claim a lower one.
You can hold different classifications for different bow types, but you can only hold your classification for the calendar year in which you shot your qualifying scores. You must re-qualify each year to maintain it.
The handicap system is a way of adjusting scores to a baseline so that archers with different levels of experience can compete on an equal footing. A novice usually starts out with a high handicap, which reduces as they post better scores. To achieve a handicap an archer must shoot at least three rounds. These need to be shot with at least one other archer and the results need to be recorded, witnessed, signed and submitted to the club records officer, who is responsible for listing club members’ handicaps.
The system has two main uses. First, handicaps can help you gauge your progress. Second, they are also used to produce adjusted results in handicap tournaments. Once the results of such tournaments are in, the Tournament Organiser will use the Archery GB handicap tables to calculate the handicap adjustments and find the winner. Many clubs have a handicap officer, who you can speak with for further information. Your club secretary may also be able to give you further guidance.