In early 2020, the USGA and the R&A implemented major changes to the fabric of our handicap system. This revamped World Handicap System brings the game of golf under a single set of handicapping rules and provide a more consistent measure of players’ ability between different regions of the world. The WHS Hub serves as your one-stop shop for all the information you need to know about the World Handicap System in digestible videos and printable PDF documents. Please share this with all of your fellow golfers!
For the full set of rules governing the World Handicap System, click here.
1. You need to know your Course Handicap.
Your Course Handicap is the number of strokes needed to play to par. This results in greater variance in that number and presents a change, as historically it has represented the number of strokes needed to play to the Course Rating. This is a good thing, as par is an easy number to remember. Target score for the day? Par plus Course Handicap. The Course Rating is inherent within the calculation to be more intuitive and account for competing from different tees.
2. Net Double Bogey.
The maximum hole score for each player is limited to a Net Double Bogey. This is more consistent from hole to hole than the Equitable Stroke Control procedure. The calculation is simple: Par + 2 + any handicap strokes you receive.
3. Your Handicap Index can be revised daily.
These daily updates provide a fairer indication of a player’s ability in the moment, as long as the player submitted a score the day before. On days where the player does not submit a score, no update will take place.
4. Safeguards in the system.
The new system limits extreme upward movement of a Handicap Index, automatically and immediately reduces a Handicap Index when an exceptional score of at least seven strokes better is posted, and accounts for abnormal course or weather conditions to ensure that scores reflect when a course plays significantly different than its established Course Rating and Slope Rating.
The 8 best of most recent 20 score differentials, which includes a Playing Conditions Calculation to account for any abnormal course or weather conditions.
Determining the number of strokes a player receives in relation the Par of the tees being played, including a Course Rating minus Par element. This is the number that is used to determine the maximum holes score for handicap purposes.
The minimum is 54 holes worth of scores, most often via three 18-hole scores (including nine-hole scores that are combined into 18-hole scores).
Nine-holes scores are combined in the order that they are submitted and then used to produce an 18-hole Score Differential.
A score that produces a Score Differential of 7.0 strokes or more below the Handicap Index will result in an Exceptional Score Reduction that changes the Handicap Index. This reduction is in addition to the normal 8 of 20 calculation and depends on how much better the Score Differential is in comparison to the Handicap Index used during the round.
An audit-like procedure by a Handicap Committee reviewing the Handicap Index of member(s) of a club to assure that the Handicap Index is reflective of demonstrated ability and scoring potential.
The basis for the World Handicap System. It is also an indication of the difficulty of a golf course for the scratch player under normal course and weather conditions.
Golf Clubs are required to complete a certification process in order to use the World Handicap System. Participation in a certification seminar and passing a test exhibiting knowledge about the World Handicap System is required.