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The new World Handicap System will launch January of 2020, and with it the rules are changing. Over the next few weeks, our new video series and updated website will provide you with all the resources you ‘ll need.

Introduction to the World Handicap System


Ready for the Rules:
2020 World Handicap Edition

Episode #4 – PCC & Daily Handicap Revisions

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 in 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.

Episode #3 – 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. 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.

Episode #2 – The New Handicap Index Calculation

Finally, players around the world will have an apples-to-apples handicap. Your new Handicap Index 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.

Episode #1 – Net Double Bogey Replaces ESC

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.

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 accuracy of a Handicap Index, greater integrity within the system and promote fun and fair play for golfers of all abilities.


With the roll out of the World Handicap System,
ALL CLUBS MUST BE RECERTIFIED BY JUNE 2020

CGA Club Representatives:
Are you ready to take the test?


WHS Educational Videos

Basis of Handicap Index Calculation

The 8 best of most recent 20 score differentials, which includes a Playing Conditions Calculation to account for any abnormal course or weather conditions.


Playing Handicap

The handicap used that maximizes equity when competing by applying a handicap allowance for a specific format.


Acceptable Scores

Determining which scores are acceptable for handicap purposes, focusing on playing by the Rules of Golf and playing one’s own ball.


Playing Conditions Calculation

When abnormal course or weather conditions cause scores to be unusually high or low on a given day, a “Playing Conditions Calculation” will adjust Score Differentials to better reflect a player’s actual performance.


Minimum Number of Holes and Maximum Index

The minimum required to calculate a Handicap Index is 54 holes worth of scores, and the new maximum Index is 54.0 regardless of gender.


Course Rating

The basis for the World Handicap System. It is also an indication of the difficulty of a golf course for the scratch player under normal course and weather conditions.


More to Come!

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