What is the World Handicap System?

The new World Handicap System (WHS) is designed to be more inclusive, accessible and to make golf easier to understand for all.

The WHS incorporates the Rules of Handicapping and the Course Rating System, (a consistent method to calculate a golf courses difficulty), to successfully determine a golfer’s Handicap Index.

The system, which comes into effect on 2 November 2020 will replace the six different systems currently used by over 15 million golfers, in more than 80 countries, to unify all golfers across the world

 

Why has the WHS been created?

With golf being centred around one standard set of rules governed by The R&A and USGA, it makes sense to unify the previous six different handicapping systems, making for a more inclusive and equitable sport.

The WHS was therefore developed with consideration given to club golfers who play both sporadically and more regularly.

With all golfers only initially required to submit scorecards for 54 holes to acquire a Handicap Index, the new WHS is less formidable for new players

 

How does the WHS work?

For golfers in England, calculating a new Handicap Index will be front of mind when
adopting the WHS. The process will begin in the same way throughout the world –
by accurately measuring a player’s golfing ability.

From this they will be provided an initial Handicap Index. After a player has
achieved 20 scores, a ‘fully developed’ Handicap Index can be calculated to provide
the most accurate representation of a player’s ability.

To ensure a player has only one Handicap Index, the golfer will nominate a
home club. The home club is determined by the player, but for practicality it is
recommended this is where the player typically submits the most of their scores

 

Understanding how course rating works

Golf Course Rating will be used to measure the playing difficulty of a golf course. It measures how many strokes a Scratch Golfer (a player who can play to a Course Handicap of zero on all rated golf courses) should take on any given course.

The rating does this by assessing two main types of challenges which, when combined, result in a common base from which to compare players’ abilities:

– The playing length of the course
– The obstacles that a player will encounter (e.g. size of green and hazards

 

Understanding how Slope Rating works

Slope Rating is the number which indicates the relative playing difficulty of a course for Bogey Golfers, compared to Scratch Golfers. It is the difficulty comparison between a Bogey Golfer and a Scratch Golfer from the same set of tees.

The use of Slope allows a player’s Handicap Index to be portable from course to course and country to country.

The Slope Rating is a key component in calculating the number of strokes each player receives to play a particular golf course. The higher the Slope Rating, the more additional strokes a Bogey Golfer will need to be able to play it.

 

Details of Fulford Heath’s course rating – Fulford Heath Golf Club Course Handicap Table