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Handicaps & Classifications Explained

The archery calendar is separated into overlapping indoor and outdoor seasons. The indoor season runs from 1st July to 30th June, and the outdoor from 1st January to 31st December.

Handicaps and classifications are maintained separately for each season, but the rules are similar for both.



The news rules and change over procedure for the season 2023 are explained here 


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.
















This is a score based scheme for seniors and juniors, shooting the rounds appropriate to their age.  These are the classifications with Elite Master Bowman being the highest level:

The qualifying scores must be achieved in a calendar year .

Once an archer gains a classification, a badge is  awarded or sent to the archer and their title remains for one year after it was gained.  Claims for 1st, 2nd and 3rd Bowman, 1st, 2nd and 3rd Archer Class are administered by Archery GB clubs.

Qualifying scores for, Master Bowman, Grand Master Bowman and Elite Master Bowman must be must be achieved in a calendar year at any Record Status tournaments, and a claim form plus supporting results sheets submitted to Membership Services by 31 December.

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.

Gentlemen need to shoot a minimum of 50 yards (imperial rounds) or 50 meters (metric rounds) to achieve a third class score.

Ladies need to shoot a minimum of 40 yards (imperial rounds) or 40 meters (metric rounds) to achieve a third class score.

Juniors need to shoot a minimum of  30 yards (imperial rounds) or 20 meters (metric rounds) to achieve a third class score.

Further information can be found on the following page Classification Tables and is separated by each bow type



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.

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Please Click anywhere on the image to go to the Archery Handicap Calculator


Distance Awards (252)

The 252 scheme consists of shooting 3 dozen arrows at increasing distances using 5 zone or imperial scoring.

When a score of 252 or more is achieved, a badge is awarded displaying the distance and the legend 252.

The badges are available at 20, 30, 40, 50, 60 80 and 100 yard distances.

The scores required do however differ depending on your bow type.

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Tassel Awards (Clout Archery)

The Tassel Award for Clout Archers has been operative for some years. First introduced in 1996 within the boundaries of ‘The Northern Counties’ and later, nationally adopted by GNAS. (Archery GB) in 1998. Although the scheme is a national award, The Northern Counties Archery Society administers the scheme and issues the awards.

Imperial Tassel Awards Scheme

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Metric Tassel Awards Scheme

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Rose Awards (Target Archery)

Open to seniors and juniors when shooting at a UK Record Status York, Hereford, Bristols I-V tournament that also has Rose Award status.  Claims are made at the record status tournament and the round shot must be relevant to age group.

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WA  Star Awards (Target Archery)

FITA  (or now World Archery) Star awards are for Compound or Recurve archers who shoot the Gents FITA (Gents 1440) or Ladies FITA (Ladies 1440) round, shot in a tournament that has World Record Status.

Awards are for anyone shooting their appropriate FULL FITA round for their age & gender.

You can only claim the badges at the end of the tournament that you have just shot, the tournament organiser will have a form that you will need to complete.

You can only claim the badge relevant to your score.  If you shoot your first round scoring 1101 – you can claim a Black badge – you cannot later on go back and claim your white badge.


WA Target Awards

WA Target awards may be achieved when shooting other WA rounds at World Record Status tournaments.

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Arrowhead Awards (Field Archery)

WA Arrowhead Badges can be claimed by recurve, barebow and compound archers shooting the WA Arrowhead round at tournaments with a WA Award Status by filling out a form at the end of the competition. The scores required for the badge at a 24 target round are as follows:

Ladies Scores 

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Mens Scores 

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Six Gold, Three Gold, Six Clout Ends


The Six Gold End badge is claimed at outdoor competitions or club target days for Seniors and Juniors who shoot six arrows, one after another, into the gold during one end with a recurve or compound. 


The Three Gold badge is open to archers who shoot three arrows, one after another, into the gold during one end with a longbow. 


The Six Clout badge is for six arrows shot one after another, at one end into the Clout i.e. the 5 zone of an Archery GB Clout tournament. 


Claims may be made either at a record status tournament or club Target Day.

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