World Golf Handicap System


Members of the handicap committee, and myself, attended a seminar on the upcoming changes to the handicap system as we know it. It is now called the World Handicap System. There are a wide variety of changes and we liked what we saw. I have listed below a few areas you need to look over and become familiar with the changes. We will all be learning these new changes at the same time as you so there will be a learning curve for our staff as well. Ultimately it is up to the golfer to correctly know the rules of the game and the ways to post their rounds of golf.

The new World Handicapping is scheduled to start on January 6th, 2020. There will be a downtime from January 1st – 5th where no posting will take place as they updating the system. This new system of handicapping is significantly different than the handicapping we have used for the last 25 years. Listed below are the 10 most important changes that every golfer should be aware of. These are covered here in summary format. For more exact details, please refer to the new Rules of Handicapping manual. If you have any questions about the new World Handicapping System, please contact your club’s professional staff or your club’s handicap committee for answers.

Top Ten new changes to the World Handicapping System

To view PDF please click here.

The 5 Things You Need to Know About the New World Handicap System (WHS)

Beginning in 2020 a brand-new set of Rules for Handicapping will be introduced globally.

  1. Your Handicap Index may change.
    But that’s ok! Finally, players around the world will have an apples-to-apples handicap. Your new Handicap In-dex will be more responsive to good scores by averaging your eight best score out of your most recent 20 (currently, it’s 10 out of 20 with a .96 multiplier). In short, your Handicap Index will be determined by your demonstrated ability and the consistency of scores. In most cases for golfers in the U.S., it will change less than one stroke.
  2. You need to know your Course Handicap.
    In the new system, your Course Handicap will be the number of strokes needed to play to par. This will result 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. The target score for the day? Par plus Course Handicap. The Course Rating will now be inherent within the calculation to be more intuitive and account for competing from different tees.
  3. Net Double Bogey.
    The maximum hole score for each player will be limited to a Net Double Bogey. This adjustment is more consistent from hole to hole than the Equitable Stroke Control procedure. Net Double Bogey is already used in many other parts of the world and the calculation is simple: Par + 2 + any handicap strokes you receive.
  4. Your Handicap Index will be revised daily.
    One way that handicapping is being modernized is a player’s Handicap Index will update daily (which will provide a fairer indication of a player’s ability at the moment) if the player submitted a score the day before. On days where the player does not submit a score, no update will take place.
  5. Safeguards in the new system.
    The new system will limit extreme upward movement of a Handicap Index, automatically and immediately reduce a Handicap Index when an exceptional score of at least 7 strokes better is posted, and account 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. These safeguards help maintain the accuracy of a Handicap Index, greater integrity within the system and promote fun and fair play for golfers of all abilities.

Below are some additional resources for you to review:

Adam, Bowles PGA
Golf Operations Manager
Rumbling Bald Resort

More Posts Like This