World Handicap System
Introduction & Definitions
The World Handicap System will be rolled out in Great Britain & Ireland on 2nd November 2020. From that date your handicap will be based on the average of your best 8 scores from the last 20 rounds, from the last two years, and will vary depending on the difficulty of the course being played.
The basic principle is to provide players with a mechanism that enables them to play any course, with any players on an equitable footing. You will effectively have a portable handicap that ensures you can play against anyone on any course and have a 'fair competition'.
The information on this page gives you an overview of the key facts and terms involved with WHS and should be enough to give you a good idea of what will happen and what you will need to do. If you want to understand more, there is lots of information and videos you can access directly from the links [opposite/at the foot of this page.]
This replaces your current handicap. It will be based on the average of your best 8 scores from the last 20 rounds played. The more rounds you play between now and 2nd November the more accurate your Handicap Index will be and will truly represent your current level of playing ability. If you have played few qualifying rounds in the last two years you may wish to play supplementary rounds to boost your number of scores before November.
Your Handicap Index is portable across all courses in the world. Each course and each set of tees has its own degree of difficulty which is measured by its Course Rating and Slope Rating. Before playing each course/set of tees you will need to convert your Handicap Index into a Course Handicap and a Playing Handicap. There will be tables displayed on each golf course and calculators available to enable you to do this easily.
Course Rating and Slope Rating
Course Rating replaces Standard Scratch Score (SSS) and represents the score that a scratch golfer is expected to achieve on the course.
Slope Rating represents the relative difficulty of a course for a bogey golfer (deemed to have a 20 handicap) compared to a scratch golfer (0 handicap).
A course with long carries, narrow fairways, lots of hazards and thick rough will have a high slope rating because these features are more of a challenge to bogey golfers. Slope Rating can be anywhere between 55 and 155. 113 is the neutral value that is used in handicap calculations. The GB&I average Slope Rating is 125. Isle of Wedmore slope ratings are: White tees: 121 (Men)
Yellow tees: 120 (Men)
Red tees: 126 (Ladies)
Course Handicap and Playing Handicap
Course Handicap is the number of handicap strokes a player receives before Handicap Allowances (full, 9/10ths, ¾ etc.) on a specific course and a specific set of tees.
A golfer's handicap for a specific course is determined by multiplying their Handicap Index by the Slope Rating of the course/tees and dividing by the neutral Slope Rating of 113. For example, from the tees at Isle of Wedmore, Course Handicaps are calculated as follows:
For a player with a Handicap Index 12 playing at Wedmore:
WHITE TEES (Men)
(Handicap Index X Slope) /113 = Course Handicap so (12 X 121) / 113 = 12.8 (so, 13)
YELLOW TEES (Men)
(Handicap Index X Slope) /113 = Course Handicap so (12 X 120) / 113 = 12.7 (so, 13)
RED TEES (Women)
(Handicap Index X Slope) /113 = Course Handicap so (12 X 126) / 113 = 13.4 (so, 13)
If you apply the calculations above to a 24 Handicap Index the answer is 26 (27 for Ladies from the red tees) – so higher handicappers get an extra uplift the higher the slope rating.
There will be conversion charts available at each golf club and Apps for your phone, so the good news is that you won't need to do the calculations yourself !!!
Playing Handicap is the Course Handicap adjusted for any Handicap Allowances. It represents the actual number of strokes the player gives or receives for the round being played.
Playing Conditions Calculation
Course Ratings are based upon normal conditions. But the difficulty of a golf course changes dependent chiefly upon:
- Course conditions
- Weather conditions
- Course set-up
The PCC determines whether playing conditions on the day differed from normal conditions to the extent that an adjustment is needed to compensate.
All scores submitted during the day go towards the PCC – not just the scores within a specific competition. So, the current Competition Scratch Score (CSS) will no longer exist.
Acceptable Scores for Handicap Index Purposes
All singles competition scores will count towards your handicap index.
England Golf is currently recommending clubs ensure all scores from regular organised social singles events (eg Roll Ups) are submitted. Isle of Wedmore will need to make decisions on how to apply this.
Singles rounds in general play – these are called Social Scores and are similar to current Supplementary Scores. You will not have to submit these but are reminded again that the more scores you submit the more your handicap index will best represent your current level of play.
Team events including 4BBB formats will not be acceptable – at least initially (although interestingly in one or two other world jurisdictions where WHS is already operating certain team formats are already being accepted.)
How you submit your scores will be similar to today as Club V1 will continue to be the method for recording and holding all competition and handicap information at Isle of Wedmore.
Will my Handicap Index be very different to my current handicap?
It is difficult to say for sure. England Golf has analysed a lot of data and has come up with the following generalisations based on current handicap bands:
6 and below: might go down by one or stay the same
6-12: might go up or down by one but could stay the same
12-18: might stay the same or go up by one
18-24: might go up by one or two strokes
24+: might go up by 2 or 3 strokes
At some stage between now and 2nd November you will see your expected transition handicap as it will be calculated by Club V1 in advance of the actual WHS operational date.
Do please feel free to send questions to the handicap committee – initially via firstname.lastname@example.org
However, in the first instance it would be appreciated if you try to obtain answers from one of the following:
R&A WHS pages: https://www.randa.org/en/worldhandicapsystem
England Golf WHS pages: https://www.englandgolf.org/whs/
World Handicap System: https://www.whs.com/
HANDICAP COMMITTEE - August 2020