Phone: 01229 582 824 Ulverston Golf Club, Bardsea Park, Ulverston. Cumbria. LA12 9QJ
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World Handicap System
at Ulverston Golf Club

Handicap Index, Course Handicap & Playing Handicap



What is Handicap Index?

Golfers will consider the Handicap Index to be the most important element of the WHS.

The Handicap Index will:

  • Measure the ability of a player
  • Be portable from course to course
  • Allow players to complete fairly and therefore promote inclusivity within the game

A Handicap Index is calculated from the best eight scores from the last 20 rounds.

As a new score is submitted, a player’s Handicap Index will automatically update to the most recent 20 scores. A player’s Handicap Index will update promptly overnight after the submission of an acceptable score and be ready before the next time they play.

How to obtain a Handicap Index?

When the new system comes into play most golfers can have a Handicap Index generated, based on their existing records.

For new golfers to gain their Handicap Index they will have to submit a minimum of 54 holes (using any combination of 9 and 18 holes). Their Handicap Index will be the lowest of their three rounds minus two strokes and continue to be built until the 20 scores are achieved. 

Find out how Handicap Index is calculated if you have fewer than 20 scores in your record.

It is important that all golfers return cards on a regular basis, either via competition rounds or pre-registered social rounds (supplementary scores), to keep their Handicap Index reflective of their current ability.

The maximum Handicap Index for any player is 54.

How to safeguard a Handicap Index?

A Soft Cap and Hard Cap will be implemented to limit any extreme upward movement of a player’s Handicap Index within a 365-day period. This has been introduced to act as a safeguard to prevent any handicap manipulation.

The Soft Cap will suppress movement by 50% after a 3.0 stroke increase over a player’s Low Handicap Index (i.e. the lowest Handicap Index a player has had during the previous 12-month period).

The Hard Cap will restrict upward movement on 5.0 strokes over the Low Handicap Index.

Restricting the extreme upward movement of a Handicap Index will ensure that a player’s temporary loss of form does not cause the Handicap Index to move too far away from their actual ability.

Caps only start to take effect once a player has at least 20 acceptable scores in their record.

To enhance your understanding of Handicap Index please view the video below from England Golf:


What is a Course Handicap?

Before any player starts their round they must convert their Handicap Index into a Course Handicap. The Course Handicap will determine the number of strokes a player will receive for any set of tees on a course. An easy way for a player to remember the WHS, is to think HCP!

Handicap Index - Course Handicap - Playing Handicap

How to work out a Course Handicap?

Each golf club will display their Course & Slope Rating tables for golfers to use to convert their Handicap Index to a Course Handicap.

Golfers simply need to choose the tees they are playing off that day and look up their Handicap Index on the Course & Slope Rating table to ascertain their Course Handicap.

View Ulverston's Course and Slope Rating Tables

In time, Course Handicap Tables will be available via an App and club handicap software so golfers can view their Course Handicap remotely prior to a round.

Should any golfer wish to calculate their Course Handicap manually the formula is as follows:

Course Handicap = Handicap Index x (Slope Rating /113) rounded to the nearest whole number.

What is Playing Handicap?

Playing Handicap is a stroke allowance that is implemented in order to maintain the integrity of the WHS when used in competition. It allows golfers to compete on a level playing field, regardless of their Handicap Index.

The Course Handicap converts to a Playing Handicap for competition purposes and changes depending on the format of play.

View the handicap allowances for the main forms of competitive play

The most important aspects of Playing Handicap to remember are:

  • It is only used for competition purposes
  • It ensures equity to calculate competition results (via Handicap Allowances)
  • Golfers should continue to play in the mindset of their Course Handicap in competition rounds

To enhance your understanding of Handicap Index please view the video below from England Golf:

Contact Ulverston Golf Club

Telephone: 01229 582 824

Email Address: enqu[email protected]

Address: Ulverston Golf Club, Bardsea Park, Ulverston, Cumbria LA12 9QJ