World Handicap System
at Ulverston Golf Club
The World Handicap System (WHS) comes into play on 2nd November 2020 in Great Britain and Ireland and will replace the current CONGU handicap system. It will be part of a single system used by over 15 million golfers in 80 countries worldwide.
What is the WHS?
The new World Handicap System is designed to:
- Attract more players to the game
- Make handicapping easier to understand
- Give all golfers a Handicap Index that is transferable from club to club anywhere in the world
Developed by The R&A and USGA in collaboration with existing handicap authorities, the benefit of the WHS over the current system is it combines the Rules of Handicapping and the Course Rating System.
Why has the WHS been created?
To allow as many golfers as possible the opportunity to:
- Obtain and maintain a Handicap Index and reduce barriers of entry
- Use their Handicap Index on any golf course around the world
- Compete, or play recreationally, fairly regardless of where they play
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 developed with consideration given to club golfers who play both sporadically and more regularly.
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.
For regular golfers, this will be done by:
- The WHS Software calculating the average of the eight best scores from the previous 20 rounds
For new golfers, they will have to:
- Submit scorecards of 54 holes (3 x 18 holes, 6 x 9 holes or any combination of 9 and 18 holes) to their golf club’s Handicap Committee. 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.
How can members prepare for the WHS?
In addition to reading the WHS materials published by the club via email, on the club website, on posters and on social media, the most important thing for members to do this year is to return as many handicap qualifying scores as they can in the run up to the WHS coming into force on 2nd November. Ideally, golfers will have 20 or more scores on their handicap record over the last couple of years. Whilst the WHS will calculate a Handicap Index for a player with as few as 3 scores, a fully developed Handicap Index, which will better reflect a golfer's true ability, requires 20 scores.
Golfers can return qualifying scores either by playing in competitions or by providing 'supplementary scores'.
Note that supplementary scores will be known as 'social scores' under the World Handicap System, but they serve the same purpose.