Posted by: James Peters | March 5, 2020

World Handicap System 2020

The rules of golf went through considerable changes in 2019, but 2020 promises a much bigger transformation, this time concerning the way that the handicap system works.

The World Handicap System (WHS) has been developed by the R&A and the USGA and it will be introduced by the Home (CONGU) Unions on 2nd November 2020.

Features of the WHS will include:

  • A consistent handicap index that is portable from course to course and country to country through worldwide use of a Course and Slope rating system already used successfully in the USA and other countries.
  • An average based calculation of a handicap index taken from the best 8 of the last 20 scores submitted in qualifying rounds, but with a safety mechanism to ensure that a player’s handicap cannot increase by more than 5 shots during a 12 month period.
  • A calculation (similar to CSS) that considers the impact that abnormal course and weather conditions might have on a player’s performance each day.
  • A limit of a net double bogey (for handicapping purposes only) on the maximum score on a hole.
  • A maximum handicap limit of 54, regardless of gender

Course Rating and Slope Rating

Course Rating replaces Standard Scratch (SSS) in the new system and represents the score that a scratch golfer is expected to achieve on the course.

Slope Rating represents the relative difficulty of a course from a specific set of tees for a ‘bogey’ golfer compared to a ‘scratch’ golfer. A course with many hazards, long carries and thick rough will have a higher slope rating because these features are more of a challenge to the bogey golfer. A golfer’s handicap for a specific course is determined by multiplying the player’s Handicap Index by the ratio of the course Slope Rating divided by the ‘neutral’ slope of 113.

Watch this space!


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