Dorset County Golf Union

World Handicapping System

"A modern handicap system for all golfers everywhere"

The new World Handicap System (WHS) has been designed to encourage more golfers to obtain a handicap - enabling them to play with, or against, each other anywhere around the world.

The idea for a new, unified system was conceived by The R&A and the USGA and developed following an extensive review of existing systems administered by six handicapping authorities. Adaptable across golfing cultures, the proposed new system will provide players with a consistent measure of playing ability globally, helping to make the game of golf more enjoyable.

It has now been announced the WHS will come into operation November 2020. The current CONGU Unified Handicapping System will be replaced by WHS which will unify the six handicapping structures currently in place throughout the world. With one single system in place golfers will be able to obtain and maintain a handicap index; use their handicap index on any golf course around the world; and compete or play a casual round with anyone else on a fair and equal basis.

Our aim in running the WHS Workshops during February was to inform and prepare clubs for the introduction of WHS.

Those who attended should have received a pdf copy of the Presentation (less Videos), I have a copy of the Power Point if you want a copy please email or phone me.   01202861185

The next step is for attendees to look at the presentation and make sure that they are familiar with it, before sharing it with their Club Committees.  This run through should identify any queries / questions that members may have and enable suitable responses to be formed before Club Presentations, probably sometime mid-Summer.

The DCGU will support Clubs in their efforts in educating Members.

Later this year England Golf will be issuing Course Rating / Slope certificates to Clubs that have been rated since 2014 and those that are being rated this year.  For those Clubs that have not been rated by then, England Golf will issue temporary Ratings / Slopes, until the formal rating has been carried out.

Some club Members have drawn attention to the rating data on the USGA site.  CONGU & England Golf have still to review and validate this information,  so please treat this information with caution. The USGA website also includes Rules of Handicapping.  However, as with the current CONGU manual, there are a number of clauses that will have regional variances.  Therefore, clubs should wait until the Rules of Handicapping book, with CONGU interpretations and direction, are issued also later in the year.

Any queries, in the first instance, please contact the DCGU Secretary.

Key Features of the WHS

Calculation of Playing Handicap

The number of strokes received during a round will be based on the choice of course, tees and format of play.

Go out and enjoy your Round

Under the new system, golfers should feel like they can simply play and enjoy their round – just the same as always.

Submit your Score

The player should submit their score as soon as practicable after completing the round, preferably before midnight on the day of play for inclusion in the daily Course Conditions Adjustment calculation. This allows a responsive update of the player’s handicap for the next day they play.

There is no real need for golfers to worry about the technical details of the new system. However, for those who are interested – here are some of the highlights:

Minimal Number of Scores to Obtain a Handicap

To encourage new players to the game, National Associations can set the number of holes required to be submitted to obtain a handicap. It is recommended that the minimum number of holes should be 54, in any combination of 9-hole or 18-hole rounds.

Maximum Handicap

Under the new system, the maximum handicap that can be issued to a player of any gender is 54.0.

Acceptable Scores for Handicap Purposes

Singles and Stableford formats of stroke-play competitions must be submitted by all players. National Associations have discretion within their jurisdiction to decide if other acceptable formats of play can be submitted for handicap purposes – giving players plenty of opportunity to submit scores and provide evidence of their potential ability.

Maximum Hole Score

Golfers of all skill levels will occasionally make a high score on a hole, which does not reflect their potential. Under the new system, the maximum score per hole will be limited to Net Double Bogey, which is the equivalent of zero points in Stableford formats.

Course Rating and Slope Rating

Course Rating indicates the difficulty of a golf course for a 0-handicap golfer. Slope Rating is relative to the Course Rating, providing strokes needed to play at the same level as the 0-handicap golfer for a specific set of tees. Course and Slope Ratings enable golfers’ handicaps to be portable from course to course, country to country.

Basis of Handicap Calculation

Averaging the best eight of a player’s most recent 20 scores provides a good indicator of potential ability. When combined with memory of demonstrated ability over time, the resulting handicap provides a balance between responsiveness and control - so a temporary loss of form should not automatically lead to an excessive increase in handicap.

Abnormal Course and Weather Conditions Adjustment

Golf is an outdoor sport and not always played in ideal conditions. The new system will consider the impact of daily course or weather conditions on each golfer’s performance. Such adjustments will be conservative and will only be made when there is clear evidence that an adjustment is warranted.

Accommodating Local Golfing Cultures

It is not our intention to try to force a change on the way that golf is played around the world or to try and remove the variations. The cultural diversity that exists within the game, including different formats of play and degrees of competitiveness, is what makes the sport so universally popular. Through collaboration with National Associations, the goal has been to try to accommodate those cultural differences within a single WHS.




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